Tuesday January 16, 2018
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Paris attacks, Islam and the war within

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Whether Islam is a religion of peace or it promotes terrorism is a wrong question to begin with. That’s what many people have been asking on social media in the wake of utterly reprehensible, tragic terrorist attacks in Paris. That’s what they usually ask after each and every attack where Muslim men or women are found to be involved.

‘Send Muslims back to deserts’, ‘deport them’ and ‘kill them all’ are some of the common phrases used by some.

These people forget while making hateful comments that with about 1.62 billion followers or 23% of the global population, Islam is the second-largest religion followed by a large number of adherents and is the fastest-growing major religion in the world. If Islam was wicked, people would not flock towards it in multitudes (duh).

As historian Reza Aslan says Islam is neither a religion of peace nor hate. It’s just like any other religion and it all depends on what you as an individual bring to it. A good man will be a good Muslim and a wicked man will be a wicked Muslim. And same goes with Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Jews as well.

They say terrorism is bad and cannot be justified. I concur! Any form of terrorism that uses violence to harm and kill innocent men, women and children for political gains should be condemned. What ISIS does is definitely terrorism, for it kills innocent, unsuspecting civilians in cities for no fault of their own. I, however, also have a question and I am not the first person to ask it. What was it that the United States of America did in Iraq?

As this life is a trial, the battle of good and evil goes on in our hearts until one wins over the other. We must win this war.

The whole country was bombed back to the stone age and destroyed under false accusation that it possessed the weapons of mass destruction. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were killed due to the US’ War on Terror. Was it not state terrorism? Or is it the case that a mighty state has the right to wage wars on other smaller countries and reduce them to rubble without expecting retaliation. Or is it something acceptable?

The Newton’s Third Law of Motion says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is something the world has acknowledged to be true. For instance, if I abuse a person or slap him, I should expect some kind of retaliation and vice versa. Great people like Gandhiji would turn the other cheek, but they are few and far between or I dare say are extinct species. People these days want an eye for an eye and blood for blood. They long for retribution and justice, at once.

No one can justify what the ISIS did in Paris and at the same time we should have the humanity (and intellectual audacity) to condemn what the US did in Iraq. For, the people who died in that country were humans like us. They had two hands, two eyes, five senses, feelings and passions. They were no children of a lesser God. In fact, all men and women are born equal in the world. The issue is not with the religion which the man created to become a good human being instead of savages.

The problem is with us – the humans. Humans are good and wicked. Humans are murderers, rapists and good samaritans. Verily, good and evil dwell inside all of us. It depends on us whom to nurture. If we choose the latter, we become like the followers of the ISIS. It’s all about the choices we make.

Shakespeare writes:

Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs: grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.”

The Holy Quran concurs.

God says in the Quran (76:3)

إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا (Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him {the gifts}, of Hearing and Sight.)

And in 76:3

إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا (We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful {rests on his will}.)

Especially, the second verse above says it all. As this life is a trial, the battle of good and evil goes on in our hearts until one wins over the other.

We must tame the evil inside us and win this war that is raging within. The survival of the human race is at stake.

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Will prohibiting Burqa result in freedom from under house arrest or religious bias?

According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face.

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Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons
Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons

In recent years there have been several incidents involving the Burqa. In 2009, a state college in Karnataka told a student she was not allowed to attend classes wearing a Burqa. It was later reported that the young girl reached a “compromise arrangement” with the college but did not continue in the same college. Days later, violent protests sparked in Hyderabad after a college principal allegedly told students not to wear a Burqa.

But opposite episodes have also occurred. In July 2010, a teacher at Kolkata’s Aliah University, which has a focus on Islamic studies, was not allowed to teach without a Burqa. The report followed an official notice released in April 2010, in which the university dismissed suggestions it enforced a dress code, mentioning specifically the use of the Burqa within its campus.

There is steep rise in the cases related to crime against burqa clad women. Wikimedia Commons
There is a steep rise in the cases related to crime against Burqa-clad women. Wikimedia Commons

At some point imposing a ban on Burqa will be beneficial…
Point 1:
According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face. Hands and face can be uncovered. So banning won’t conflict freedom of practicing religion. And it will not be against any religion.
Point 2:
There are security issues. Imagine man/women under burqa leaves a bag in a public place which later blasts. Now, what do police have? CCTV cameras, forget face they cannot determine if is it male or female due to Burqa. It is the biggest security Loophole.
Point 3:
Many Muslim women do not have a bank account because they are not allowed to cover their face in bank premises. If you didn’t know then yes you cannot cover your face with bank premises and ATM.
Point 4:
It’s easy to have multiple voters ID. Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election.
Point 5:
Crimes under Burqa are on the rise. Murder, kidnapping, robbery are been carried out using Burqa. It’s the biggest advantage for criminals.

What Noorjehan Safia says…
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, a founding member of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a movement which works to improve the status of Muslim women in India, said security concerns have not been a major issue when it comes to dressing. “Muslim women in India comply with all the laws. They are active participants when it comes to elections and has their photos on their passports. So identification and security have never been an issue as such,” she said.
Discrimination, however, has sometimes caused problems, said Ms. Niaz. “There are cases when women are not considered for a particular job because they wear a Burqa. In such cases, women have negotiated. They do not wear Burqa while at work but before and after it they put it on.” Overall, Ms. Niaz said that women themselves – not the law – should decide what to wear. “Let each woman decide what she wants to wear. Neither can you enforce a ban on Burqa nor can you force women to wear it.”