Freedom, Understanding and the Middle East: One Muslim’s view

by Amhed Aziz

Our blogging friend Amhed Aziz is a Pakistani Muslim and a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Once in a while Amhed stops by Barbados Free Press and says “Hi”. (Hi back Amhed!)

While we may not agree with everything Amhed says, nor he with us, we’re happy to link to anything he writes. Here are a few excerpts from his blog Bleeding Humanity

“It is the Jews’ fault”, “the Jews’ control the world”, “Jews are evil”, “Jews are kafirs” – We are used to hearing these words in our part of the world. It has become a mantra for conspiracy theorists like Zaid Hamid and basically each and every preacher in our mosques, teacher in our schools and friends in our circles in Pakistan. Why do we blame the Jews for everything? Are these accusations based on fact or hearsay? Or are we grossly generalizing the actions of the State of Israel and the Jewish people? Have we ever tried to examine the insecurity that the State of Israel uses to perpetrate the injustices in besieged Gaza and the occupied territory of West Bank?

In this article I would like to present some history of the Jewish people so we can actually know the people that we blame and understand them as human beings. The purpose of this article is not in any way to justify the barbarism of IDF (Israel Defense Force) and the actions of the State of Israel but to understand the people we blame for everything. Actions of a state, government or an organization does not mean that they are exacting the collective will of the people, exactly like actions of Al-Qaeda, Taliban or Hezbollah does not represent the collective will of the Muslim people.  We expect them to understand us, our actions and our suffering so it is imperative for us to also endeavor to understand them as our fellow human beings. It is not a one way street…

… from the Bleeding Humanity article An attempt to understand the people we Muslims blame for all that is wrong

It’s the same old cycle. Once again an insignificant person does something radically stupid in the West, and we in the East go on to a killing rampage.

… from the Bleeding Humanity article Hating Terry Jones is bad for Muslims

Are we free? The answer to that question is normally “Yes”. The reasons given for that affirmative answer are usually: we are free from the shackles of the colonial British and we are free from the united sub-continent, so we are free. According to the Two-Nation Theory that we study all through our school lives,  essentially, we as Muslims, would be a minority in United India and our right to practice our religion would be taken away because Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations.

So today, in 2011, are we actually free? Or this is just a fallacy? In this article I would refrain from a long tirade of blaming the corruption of our leaders for our perilous history and would invite readers to look at their own selves. I would specifically focus on freedom of thought and belief.

… from the Bleeding Humanity article Freedom to Believe in Pakistan: Comparison with an arch-rival in the Middle East

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8 Comments

Filed under Religion

8 responses to “Freedom, Understanding and the Middle East: One Muslim’s view

  1. Thank you Barbados Free Press for sharing some of my content with your audience.

    Cheers

  2. BFP

    Cheers to you too, Ahmed.

    Amazing that I’m up so late burning the midnight oil but you’ve already had your lunch tomorrow! It’s a big world out there, but in some ways very small. Maybe we can make it smaller.

    Marcus

  3. St George's Dragon

    Wow. Trying to make up for all those anti-Muslim articles?
    And so you should.

  4. Free at last

    “It’s the same old cycle. Once again an insignificant person does something radically stupid in the West, and we in the East go on to a killing rampage.”

    BFP’s Muslim co-blogger would seem to agree that Muslims in general exhibit violence and lack of tolerance.

    BFP has nothing to “make up” for. They recognize that Islam needs a reformation, and judging by the content at Bleeding Humanity, Mr. Aziz again agrees with BFP.

    St. George’s Dragon and the others who show anger at the messenger never address the subject of the posts: human rights violations built right into Islam, and the fact that millions and millions of adherents are kept in the religion only by threats of death that are part of Islam.

  5. Here Here free at last. Thanks for the comment. We muslims have this tendency to be defensive, sarcastic, and blaming others. And we are kind of a touchy people.

    Having said that, my writing does not mean that I in anyway condone the suppression that goes around in the middle east and am a fierce opponent of the occupation of the West Bank and seige of Gaza by the Israeli. But I focus my writing on the reformation of Islam and the hatred that grows within our Umma against people who do not think like is, the suppression of women and minorities and the general hypocrisy that prevails.

    🙂 we just need to chill out thats all I want people to realize.

  6. BFP

    Hello everyone,

    I’m off to work shortly, so I must be brief. Perhaps I’ll expand upon this train of thought later…

    1/ There was a time in Christendom when to announce you were “Catholic” in England or “Protestant” in Spain would get you burned at the stake, imprisoned, tortured etc.. That violence in the name of God was supposed to be about what God wanted, but it was really about achieving or maintaining temporal power by the elites of the day.

    2/ Much of what we later called “The Reformation” was about power groups and not about spirituality, beliefs, God, Jesus etc. It was about the economic, political and social power that accompanied commitment to one side or the other. Yes, the foundation of the Reformation was a dispute about religious beliefs, but on many levels it was about power, control, money, territory. Call it “Political Religion” as opposed to “Spiritual Religion”.

    3/ Similarly, much of the turmoil, violence and confrontation happening between the various Islamic sects and also directed at non-Muslims is about power, control, money, territory. Yes, there is disagreement about spiritual religion – often violent disagreement – amongst Muslims and by Muslims against non-Muslims, but we in the West and many Muslims themselves often ignore how much of the violence is about power, not religion. Religious fervor in young (primarily male) Muslims is cultivated and whipped up to be used as a weapon by the Islamic elites. Osama Bin Laden didn’t strap on any explosive vest or learn how to fly himself, you know.

    4/ At the end of the Christian Reformation (or more accurately after several hundred years of turmoil following the great split within Western Christianity) there was a general recognition and acknowledgement by both Catholics and Protestants that persons should not be killed for their religious beliefs, or for questioning dogma or religious texts. There was also a recognition that the religious texts had been subject to a thousand and more years of revision, translation and modification and, even if the texts had not been modified – they were created within certain cultural, linguistic and historical contexts that might not be valid now.

    5/ The freedom to study and openly discuss the foundations of one’s own beliefs, and the beliefs of others, was one of the great benefits and results of the Christian Reformation. Even within the Catholic side of the divide, the impacts of this new freedom were strong and positive. The benefits of the freedom can be seen throughout Western society.

    6/ Islam needs its own Reformation.

    Could go on but I must be out the door or I’ll never make it.

    How interesting it is that our friend Ahmed from Pakistan is willing to visit with all of us at BFP and to discuss and perhaps disagree with obvious good will – to foster understanding all around…

    …YET some Bajans say that the mere mention of our concerns with Islamic violence and human rights abuses is somehow racist and we should not discuss these things.

    How interesting.

    Now I’m late! Bye!

    Marcus

  7. Pingback: Can Islam undergo its own Reformation? | Barbados Free Press

  8. Yes Marcus, we must discuss these things. Ahmed Aziz, is like a breath of fresh air, a sip of the best rum, a nip of the best pork ( though he might find my praise using pork or rum, not quite to his liking though I mean it in the best of intentions ). We must thank God, Allah, Buddha, Shiva, Brahman, and all the rest of them, that we have somebody like Ahmed around, to help dispel some of the inchoate ( and my new found word ), obdurate, in our thinking.
    The older I get, the more I’m insistent I am of an obvious ‘Supreme’ . I just don’t agree the religious approach helps very much, or takes us anywhere worth going. It just ties us in knots, and bloodshed. Give me a view from a mountain top, or across islands at dawn.