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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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Rampant Sexual Harassment of Children & Women in Islam

Muslims consider Mecca in Saudi Arabia as their most sacred pilgrimage site. A woman named Sabica Khan took to Facebook to share her #MeToo moment at the aforesaid place

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MUSLIM MAN
How safe are Muslim women? Wikimedia

Gaurav Tyagi

  • Sexual harassment of women and children is a serious problem in Pakistan
  • Kidnapping of girl child is also very common
  • It is not only a problem in Pakistan but in all countries where Islam prevails

Khaled Ahmed a senior Pakistani journalist and the consulting editor of ‘Newsweek Pakistan’ stated that raping and killing of children is a serious problem in Pakistan.

According to him three incidents were reported on January 28 from different districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A girl child was also kidnapped, raped and killed in Quetta, Balochistan.

1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons
Muslim women and children are subject to rampant sexual harassment. Wikimedia Commons

A 24 year old man was arrested for raping and killing seven year old girl, Zainab in a city called Kasur, which lies south of Lahore in the Punjab province. This pervert is a religious person and sings songs praising the so called holy prophet of Muslims for a living. He killed seven girls before sexually assaulting Zainab for four days then killing and throwing her dead body in a rubbish dump on January 9.

Police treated her abduction as a routine matter. As per an official count ten children, five of them girls were sexually assaulted and murdered in Kasur within a short span of time.

The first of such incident was reported way back in 2015. This reveals the incompetence of Police and administration in Kasur. Khalid says these sort of unfortunate incidents are rapidly rising all over Pakistan.

Also Reading: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

Eight boys were murdered after criminal assaults in 2017. In Sargodha, the body of a violated 15 year old girl was dumped in the fields on January 11. In Pattoki, an 11 year old boy was strangled after being sexually assaulted. In Sheikhupura another eight year old girl was abducted, raped and strangled to death before being thrown in a dustbin.

In Kasur, the Police registered cases against the Plaintiffs for reporting the crime instead of arresting the offenders. The local judge incarcerated the poor parents.

The victims of a gang of rapists even went to Lahore and protested in front of the assembly, after which the Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif heard their grievances for four hours. He promised to help the victims with lawyers and transportation but ultimately Sharif didn’t provide any assistance. (1)

Muslim women
Muslim women are being exploited in the name of religion.

‘Bacha bazi’ an old tradition of Afghanistan has been documented in the award winning film ‘The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan’ featuring journalist Najibullah Quraishi. The film depicts accounts of Afghan boys subjected to sexual slavery.

According to ‘The Guardian’; “The bacha (child) dancers are often abused children, whose families have rejected them. Their owners or masters can be single or married men, who keep them in a form of sexual slavery as concubines.”

An Afghan boy Omid says that he is paid approximately $2 for the night and often gang-raped. He mentioned that he cannot go to police for help because the perpetrators are powerful and rich men. The police cannot do anything against them.

The ‘New York Times’ wrote that American soldiers are ordered to ignore the screaming cries of young boys sexually abused by their Afghan allies. The Americans are told to turn a deaf ear to this aspect of ‘Afghan culture’.

‘Pakistan’s Hidden Shame’, a documentary directed by Mohammed Naqvi and produced by Jamie Doran tells deeply distressing stories of vulnerable children from Peshawar.

These unfortunate kids try to ease the pain of their lives by using narcotics or resorting to self-harm by cutting themselves. They get regularly raped as well as gang raped.

Children are being kidnapped and raped on almost daily basis.

According to one man, “Once there was a boy on the bus and everyone had sex with him”. This pervert boastfully admitted to raping 12 different children during his career as a bus conductor. (2)

More than 150 women filed criminal complaints, three quarters of them for sexual assault. Two cases of rape were reported in the infamous mass sex assault by Muslim asylum seekers on girls and women in the German city of Cologne on New Years Eve of 2016. (5)

David Spicer led a review in the wake of ‘Operation Sanctuary’, which saw 18 people jailed for the sexual abuse of young women groomed in Newcastle, U.K.

The exploitation was not recognized in adults. This operation identified approximately 700 victims across the Northumbria Police area, 108 in Newcastle.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

Mr. Spicer carried out the serious case review for the Newcastle Safeguarding Adults and Children Boards. He said that “adults were being targeted, groomed and exploited besides children” but the authorities did not have the powers to intervene with adults to stop them from ‘making bad choices’ or forming ‘inappropriate relationships’.

The report also examined the exploitation of boys and men but said it was complex as well as hidden and operated differently to female victims.

Mr. Spicer stated, “The low incidence of identified cases is likely to be a significant under-representation of the abuse occurring”

One of Spicer’s 33 recommendations includes a need for research into the cultural background of abusers, majority of which are from a ‘predominantly Asian or British minority ethnic culture or background’.

Muslim women and children deserve greater justice. Wikimedia Commons

Most of these abusers are British born but came from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish Muslim communities.

The Quillam Foundation think tank, which focuses on counter-extremism said 84% of the 264 convicted offenders of gang grooming between 2005 and 2017 were of South Asian Muslim heritage.

David Spicer mentioned that the perpetrators he spoke to ‘displayed no regret and spoke in a derogatory manner about lack of morals in British girls”. (3)

Muslims consider Mecca in Saudi Arabia as their most sacred pilgrimage site. A woman named Sabica Khan took to Facebook to share her #MeToo moment at the aforesaid place.

Sabica says; “It’s sad to say that you are not even safe at holy places. I’ve been harassed, not once, not twice, but thrice. My entire experience at the holy city is overshadowed by this horrible incident”

As soon as Sabica’s post went viral on social media, a large number of Muslim women started sharing their sad experiences of sexual molestation at religious places with the hashtag #MosqueMeToo.

“Each time my mom and her sisters went to Hajj, they were groped-disgusting ppl w/no morals. Toxic patriarchy; keep doing what you’re doing, Mona”- Hassan Saleh.

Muslim
Muslim women are not safe even in the place of their worship. Twitter

“Had to stop going for Taraweeh and Qiyam one Ramadan because of some gentlemen. Stayed mum because I thought no one’d believe me, or I’d be accused of having an overactive imagination. #MosqueMeToo is our skeleton in the closet”- Kali. (4)

It is quite clear from the above mentioned ghastly criminal acts that Islam has a chronic problem regarding sexual abuse of children and women.

Sources;

  1. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/unsafe-spaces-5057826/
  2. https://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/29547/the-filthy-culture-of-bacha-bazi-in-afghanistan/
  3. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-43153556
  4. http://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-globally/muslim-women-sharing-their-sexual-harassment-incidents-at-hajj-has-shaken-up-netizens-metoo-5058222/
  5. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/12086473/Suspects-in-Cologne-sex-attacks-claimed-to-be-Syrian-refugees.html

(The author, Gaurav Tyagi, is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.)