A Thirst for Blood

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

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There is a fine line that separates man from mere beast. This week that line was crossed by the armed rebels on the hunt for deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as they stumbled upon him held up in a storm drain in his hometown of Sirte. The events surrounding his death are as rough as the various video footage of his demise. Each video, shot from different cell phones, tells its own story. Some show Gadhafi being shot in the arm while others show him being beaten. Yet another shows him being dragged across the ground, his clothes in disarray, after he was apparently sodomized.  And the most notable reveals a gunshot wound to his head.

The question is not whether or not Gadhafi deserved to pay for his vast array crimes that stretched clear around the globe for decades. The answer is very clear in that regard, Gadhafi indeed deserved to be punished for his reign of terror. The question that begs to be answered is whether or not armed militia had the right to take matters into their own hands denying one of the world’s worst dictators the very basic of human rights, a trial in a court of law. Now many will argue that Gadhafi was not human in the way that he treated his own people with disdain and disregard for the sanctity of human life. In all respects Gadhafi was the judge, jury and executioner in Libya. However, hasn’t the very premise that made the ‘Arab Spring’ so inspirational to the world been forever tainted in a gushing of crimson blood?

It only got worse as Libyans danced in the streets with joy upon hearing of Gadhafi’s wholesale execution as scores followed his bloodied body to a nearby shopping mall where it was put on display. Men, women and children lined up and waited to catch a glimpse of Gadhafi’s gruesome corpse while taking even more cell phone video footage to share with the rest of the world.

Instead of stooping to Gadhafi’s merciless level, it might have been better to have hauled him off, alive, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stand trial for his crimes against humanity. A great number of Gadhafi’s victims would have been given the opportunity to speak out against the dictator who dogged them for years and humiliate him in an international arena. Gadhafi was all about appearances and it would have caused him greater suffering to be publicly disgraced than merely shot in the head. Gadhafi meticulously tortured and enslaved his people without even showing the slightest bit of remorse. How fitting it would have been to see him stripped of all his self-given powers and forced to spend his remaining days confined to a minuscule jail cell. And while Gadhafi’s suffering was over in a mere matter of minutes, the people whose lives he scarred have a long road of healing to undertake.

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On Being Faithful Muslims and Loyal Americans

October 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Resolution of the Fiqh Council of North America Adopted in its General Body Meeting held in Virginia on September 24-25, 2011

Like other faith communities in the US and elsewhere, we see no inherent conflict between the normative values of Islam and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Contrary to erroneous perceptions and Islamophobic propaganda of political extremists from various backgrounds, the true and authentic teachings of Islam promote the sanctity of human life, dignity of all humans, and respect of human, civil and political rights. Islamic teachings uphold religious freedom and adherence to the same universal moral values which are accepted by the majority of people of all backgrounds and upon which the US Constitution was established and according to which the Bill of Rights was enunciated.

The Qur’an speaks explicitly about the imperative of just and peaceful co-existence, and the rights of legitimate self-defense against aggression and oppression that pose threats to freedom and security, provided that, a strict code of behavior is adhered to, including the protection of innocent non-combatants.

The foregoing values and teachings can be amply documented from the two primary sources of Islamic jurisprudence – the Qur’an and authentic Hadith. These values are rooted, not in political correctness or pretense, but on the universally accepted supreme objectives of Islamic Shari’ah, which is to protect religious liberty, life, reason, family and property of all. The Shari’ah, contrary to misrepresentations, is a comprehensive and broad guidance for all aspects of a Muslim’s life – spiritual, moral, social and legal. Secular legal systems in Western democracies generally share the same supreme objectives, and are generally compatible with Islamic Shari’ah.

Likewise, the core modern democratic systems are compatible with the Islamic principles of Shura – mutual consultation and co-determination of all social affairs  at all levels and in all spheres, family, community, society, state and globally.

As a body of Islamic scholars, we the members of FCNA believe that it is false and misleading to suggest that there is a contradiction between being faithful Muslims committed to God (Allah) and being loyal American citizens. Islamic teachings require respect of the laws of the land where Muslims live as minorities, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so long as there is no conflict with Muslims’ obligation for obedience to God. We do not see any such conflict with the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. The primacy of obedience to God is a commonly held position of many practicing Jews and Christians as well.

We believe further that as citizens of a free and democratic society, we have the same obligations and rights of all US citizens. We believe that right of dissent can only be exercised in a peaceful and lawful manner to advance the short and long term interests of our country.

The Fiqh Council of North America calls on all Muslim Americans and American citizens at large to engage in objective, peaceful and respectful dialogue at all levels and spheres of common social concerns. We call upon all Muslim Americans to be involved in solving pressing social problems, such as the challenge of poverty, discrimination, violence, health care and environmental protection. It is fully compatible with Islam for Muslims to integrate positively in the society of which they are equal citizens, without losing their identity as Muslims (just as Jews and Christians do not lose their religious identity in doing the same).

We believe that emphasis on dialogue and positive collaborative action is a far better approach than following the paths of those who thrive on hate mongering and fear propaganda. Anti-Islam, anti-Semitism and other similar forms of religious and/or political-based discrimination are all forms of racism unfit for civilized people and are betrayal of the true American as well as Islamic values.
May the pursuit of peace, justice, love, compassion, human equality and fellowship prevail in the pluralistic mosaic that is the hallmark of our nation.

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Building Bridges Across a Diverse Community

September 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Milad Alucozai

Milad-AlcuzaiChristian, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders reflect on September 11th.

West Lafayette, IN – On the tenth anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11th, 2011, Purdue University students, faculty, staff, and community members of all faiths and backgrounds came together in a memorial to the victims and a celebration of shared values and spirit.

The event was organized by Purdue’s Student Government as well as interfaith religious leaders from across all major denominations. Muslim representative Aurangzeb spoke of the universal sanctity of human life and recognized the loss of innocent life on September 11th as well as in the subsequent terrorist attacks around the world in places like Madrid and Pakistan and in the armed conflicts resulting over the last ten years. “Crimes against humanity, no matter in what form they are committed, are to be condemned in the strictest terms,” he said, “In the face of inhumanity, we must be more human.”

Purdue University has the second largest population of international students among American public universities with just under 8,000 and has long been known for its exceptional diversity of students from all nations, cultures, and religions. Purdue’s Dean of International Programs, Mike Brzezinski, honored this legacy by sharing his memories of the campus’s reaction after September 11th.  “Some [universities] were dealing with the desolation of mosques and religious housing but not at Purdue. Some were dealing with attacks on Muslim students, but not at Purdue,” said Brzezinski.

Since the awful attacks that brought so much pain to our hearts, heated rhetoric and acts of violence against Muslim Americans (and non-Muslim Arab Americans) have increased. Yet the victims, like the citizens of our nation, were of all faiths. Patriotic Muslim Americans were some of the innocent passengers on the planes, they were workers in the buildings, and they were heroic first responders who ran into the building when everybody else was running out.

We need to remember that Muslim Americans contribute to our communities every day. They serve us as police officers, doctors, and firefighters. They are public servants in local and state governments as well as in the federal government where they work tirelessly to guide our counter terrorist efforts. And there are thousands of young Muslim Americans serving overseas to protect the liberties that we all share.

The ceremony, held on the historic Purdue Mall, also included remarks by University President France Cordova, student body president Brett Highley, and students who lived in New York at the time of the attacks. Attendees gathered together holding firm the belief that every human life irrespective of the nationality, gender, color, language, or religion is sacred, united in their resolve to emerge from the tragedies of the September 11th era with greater faith, greater understanding, and greater humanity.

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Shakh Tahir Qadri’s Fatwa Against Suicide Bombing and Terrorism

March 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Continuation, part two

Shaykh-Tahir-Qadri

1. The first question in this connection that bothers all relates to use of force to spread beliefs: Is it lawful for a group or organization to use force to promote and put into effect their own creed and beliefs in the name of reforming others’ beliefs and ideologies, presuming themselves to be on the right path? Does Islam allow, somehow, the killing of people maintaining ideological differences, looting their wealth and properties and destroying mosques, religious places and shrines?

• Islam is a religion of peace and safety that champions love and harmony in society. According to Islamic teachings, only such a person will be called a Muslim at whose hands the lives and properties of all the innocent Muslims and non-Muslims remain safe and unhurt. The sanctity of human life and its protection occupies fundamental place in the Islamic law. Taking anyone’s life for nothing and killing him is an act forbidden and unlawful. Rather, in some cases, it amounts to infidelity. These days, the terrorists, in a vain attempt to impose their own ideas and beliefs and eliminate their opponents from the surface of the earth, killing innocent people ruthlessly and indiscriminately everywhere in Mosques, Bazaars, governmental offices and other public places are in fact committing manifest infidelity. They are warned of humiliating torment in this world and in the hereafter. Terrorism, in its very essence, is an act that symbolizes infidelity and rejection of what Islam stands for. When the forbidden element of suicide is added to it, its severity and lethality becomes even graver. Scores of Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions have proved that massacre of Muslims and terrorism is unlawful in Islam; rather, they are blasphemous acts. That has always been the edict unanimously held by all the scholars that have passed in the 1400 year Islamic history, including all the eminent Imams of Tafseer and Hadith and authorities on logic and jurisprudence. Islam has kept the door of negotiation and discussion open to convince by reasoning, instead of taking up arms to declare the others’ standpoint wrong, and enforce one’s own opinion. Only the victims of ignorance, jealousy and malice go for militancy. Islam declares them rebels. They will abide in Hell.

2. The second question in this regard is: what are the rights of the non-Muslim citizens in a Muslim state?

• Islam not only guarantees the protection of life, honour and property of Muslim citizens of an Islamic state, but also assures the equal protection of life, honour and property of non-Muslim citizens and of those people too with whom it has entered into a peace treaty. The rights of non-Muslim citizens enjoy the same sanctity as those of Muslim citizens in an Islamic state. There is no difference between them as human beings. That is why Islamic law metes out equal treatment to both Muslims and non-Muslims in blood money and Qisas. Non-Muslims have complete personal and religious freedom in a Muslim society. Their properties and worship places also enjoy complete protection. Besides non-Muslim citizens, even the ambassadors of non-Muslim countries and others working on diplomatic assignments have also been guaranteed complete protection. Likewise, the protection of life and property of non-Muslim traders is the responsibility of Islamic state. Islam does not allow and recommend the use of violence against and killing of peaceful and non-combatant citizens under any circumstances. Those indulging in attacks on peaceful non-Muslim citizens, kidnapping them for ransom, and torturing them mentally and physically, keeping them under unlawful custody, are in fact committing serious violation of Islamic teachings.

3. The third question arises: does Islam offer manifest commands on the sanctity of human life? Is it lawful to kidnap and assassinate the foreign delegates and innocent and peaceful non-Muslim citizens to avenge the non-Muslim global powers’ wrongs and atrocities?

• The emphasis Islam lays on the sanctity and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that Islam does not allow massacre even when Muslim armies are engaged in the event of war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, the old, patients, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Nor can those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter of anyone be killed. The masses cannot be massacred. Likewise, worship places, buildings, crops and even trees cannot be destroyed. On the one hand, there is a clear set of Islamic laws based on extreme discretion, and on the other, there are people who invoke the name of Islam to justify the indiscriminate killing of people, children, and women everywhere, without any distinction of religion and identity. It is a pity that such barbaric people still refer their activities as Jihad. There can be no bigger discrepancy than that seen around on earth. This can no way be permissible to keep the foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation to their interference, unjust activities and aggressive advances. The one who does it has no relation to Islam and the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).

4. The fourth and very significant question underlines rebellion: Is armed struggle permissible against the Muslim rulers to remove their governments because of their non-Islamic policies, or get accepted the demands, bring them on to the right path, giving up their impious activities? Is rebellion permissible against the constitutional government, its writ and governance? What should be the legitimate way to change the rulers or make them mend their ways?

• Islam is not merely a religion. It is a complete Din, a code of life. Providing a complete set of principles for every walk of life, it has also made arrangements for the protection of the collectivity of society. The rights and duties of state institutions have manifestly and clearly been spelled out. All citizens of Muslim state have been placed under obligation to abide by state laws, rules and regulations. One of these principles is that a Muslim state and society should be a paragon of peace, and mutual coexistence. That is why Islam strictly prohibits the taking up of arms against a Muslim state, challenging its authority and writ, and declaring war against it. Islamic law holds such an action as rebellion. God forbid if such conditions are created, then it is the principal responsibility of an Islamic state to take urgent measures to eliminate rebellion with iron hand and exterminate terrorism so that no individual or group can dare destroy the social harmony of society, ruin peace and shed innocent blood. Islam holds the peace and tranquility of a society, in general, and of a Muslim state, in particular, so dear that it does not allow people to raise the banner of revolt in the name of injustice, oppression and other vices of ruling elite. In the light of Prophetic traditions, the banner of rebellion against a Muslim state cannot be raised unless the rulers commit explicit, declared and absolute infidelity, and stop the performance of religious rituals like prayer through the use of force.

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