Contributed by G.S. Qureshi
Does verbal criticism of Islam or Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) justify setting churches afire in the West Bank or killing an Italian nun in Somalia? Why do we have such fragile egos? Do I love Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) any less than before the Pope made those remarks?
No! I am completely secure within my faith despite these troubled times for Muslims and no matter what the Pope theorizes about Islam. The acts of our Prophet himself teach tolerance. According to the traditions, a lady used to throw garbage at him daily and since he did not have a fragile ego he did not choose to react at all. He was secure about his mission and could not have cared less. Should not we, his followers start to act and behave in the same manner? As long as I am comfortable about my faith does it matter what opinions the Pope holds about my faith. Yes probably the Pope should offer a deep apology but the demands should be made via a dialogue not with violence. And that is when we need rational Muslims (I find many bloggers in this category) to pen down their sentiments to prove to the West that Muslims are a reasonable, peace loving community wherever we are. The violent outrage only reinforces the stereotypes about Islam in today’s world.
I am not discounting the exercise of grievance at all. Yes we should react but with a peaceful dialogue. No matter how deeply one feels about any issue, civilized (yes we are) people should behave in a civilized and a peaceful manner.
Also a large majority of Muslims remain isolated from people belonging to other faiths. During these times of a distinct divide between Islam and the West that is the worst thing that we can do. Muslims should interact with people of other faiths. Interaction and dialogue inculcates tolerance in one’s self. Isolation will deprive the world from getting to know the true spirit of Islam and thus all the stereotypes will keep getting reinforced. Let us not wage a war of religion rather one of reason and tolerance. Let us engage in a dialogue. Let us prove all those who link Islam with violence wrong.
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