26 October, 2021

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Presidential Election: Discrimination By Religious Extremists & Racism

By Ayathuray Rajasingam

Ayathuray Rajasingam

Ayathuray Rajasingam

When a person calls the other a ‘racist’ there should be some discrimination on grounds of caste, colour, creed, sex, disability, family status, etc., challenging the principle of equality as enunciated in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Racism is the foundation for racial discrimination. Therefore different rules and standards cannot apply to individuals on their presumed identity.

The UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights address its concern in connection with the principles of equality. One of the undertakings of the International Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination is to prohibit and put an end to racial discrimination by persons, groups and organizations and also to prohibit organizations and propaganda that promote racial superiority, racial hatred, racial violence or racial discrimination.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ensures the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion opinion and expression and of peaceful assembly and association.

Moreover, the Declaration of Human Rights by Article 18 states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

BBS HinduUpon an examination of the UN Charter, Universal Declarations and Conventions it is obvious the civil society expects every religion to comply with such provisions and avoid the use of violence. The concept of non-violence which stands as the core of many religions is given prominence in those International Declarations and Conventions. The principles of Equality enunciated in the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights coupled with the undertakings of the International Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination endorse that the principle of compassion and kindness should lie at the heart of all religions. The basic principles of the UN Charter shows that every country is under a moral obligation to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination as to race, sex, language or religion. Embracing a faith of one’s choice is a human right as well as a fundamental freedom which should be guaranteed. Since the freedom of religion or belief contribute to the attainment of the goals of universal peace, social justice and friendship among all the peoples, any ideologies that promote discrimination by means of barbarity should be eliminated. It has become essential to promote understanding, tolerance and respect in connection with the freedom of religion or belief and for those purposes such freedom of religions that shows consistency with the Charter of the United Nations should be ensured and guaranteed. Hence the dignity and equality inherent in all beings should not be tainted with the doctrine of violence which stands as its core of any religion.

When the Islamic terrorists Organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Al-Jihad, ISIS and other Islamic Organizations in South Asian countries are driven by radical ideology and call all peace-loving Muslims for the implementation of those barbaric ideologies such as beheading, stoning to death, chopping hands and limbs, enslaving teenage girls, crucifying of Christians, etc., then it is deemed that such barbaric acts reflect their radical ideology of hatred and oppression and even murder as against the democratic principle of equality. The element of showing compassion and kindness to fellow citizens is overshadowed. If such radical ideologies are condemned or criticized, the Islamic-affiliated group of people begin to cast slogans such as racists, bigots, Islamophobe, etc without any criteria. The vital issue is when they cast slogans ‘racist’, it is essential to determine whether Muslim is a race. The word ‘Muslim” is an Arabic word which means ‘one who submits to God’. Likewise everyone in their respective religion also submits to God. But Muslim is not a race, but an Islamic-affiliated group of people. A race is determined by the language and not by religionists. Similarly there are Buddhist-affiliated group of people, Hindu-affiliated group of people, Christianity-affiliated group of people, Catholicism-affiliated group of people, etc. The Islamic terrorists failed to realize that the peace-loving Islamic affiliated groups left their mother countries to seek refuge in Western democratic countries to live in peace and harmony with other religious-affiliated individuals or groups. Yet if the Islamic terrorists are driven by such radical ideology and call all peace-loving Muslims for the implementation of those aforesaid barbaric ideologies, then it is an indication that their tentacles stretches towards their religious affiliated groups to inflict harm on the Western democratic countries in defiance of the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights.

Since the issue of race, religion and country are inter-twined, the allegation of discrimination as to race and religion becomes a complex issue, if the individual calls himself by the religious affiliation instead of his nationality. The values and beliefs that are embraced should form as an ideology in compliance with the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a positive approach in shaping the vision of life of an individual for the contribution towards the betterment of the world and not for destruction.

The crux of the problem is that the people should address themselves by the country they belonged to and not by religion. Religion refers to individuals or groups engaged in religious tradition and should not mix it with nationality. Since religion is a personal matter, it automatically becomes a secondary issue and in its stead, country is given priority. There can be a number of religious-affiliated individuals or groups in a country. In many countries there are Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Catholics, etc., but they stick to their nationality and call themselves either as British, French, Indian, Canadian, German, American, Swiss, Dutch, Danish, etc. depending on the country where they reside, because they are aware of the difference between the religious-affiliated group and race when it comes to nationality. Nationality takes precedence over religion. Race is not determined by the religion he or she embraces according to his or her choice, because it is his or her inherent right. If any religion states that if anyone departs from it and embrace another faith, it is his right and freedom. As such it is unfair on the part of Muslim Congress leader, Rauff Hakeem to insist for a ‘Muslim Administrative Unit for the Muslims in the Eastern Province’ if North-East Province is to be merged because it undermines the concept of ‘nationality’ and thus becomes detrimental to Sri Lanka and to all democratic countries. Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithiripala Sirisena as Presidential candidates will have to answer the people on this issue. Every religion should comply with the provisions of the UN Charter & the Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore Islamic-affiliated group of people should stand up and give utmost importance to the country where they live. If this attitude is demonstrated by everyone, savage ideologies will just disappear automatically.

Since the idea behind the prayer of all religions is to develop compassion and loving kindness to all, the principle of compassion and kindness lies at the heart of every religion. The practice of compassion and abstinence from causing harm to others are central tenets of all religions. Compassion indicates sharing of suffering. Jesus Christ’s assertion ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ sends the message of compassion instead of developing hatred. Jesus suffered for the lives of others. Likewise there are similar aspects of sufferings for others are found in in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and in other religions. Compassion which implies alleviation of the sufferings of our fellow citizens, have become a must. But the Islamic doctrine of permanent hostility against the unbelievers has been instrumental for the death of millions of people since its invasions to other countries. The reason for such a large number of deaths can be attributed to the Quran which states ‘Fight them until idolatry is no more and religion belongs to Allah (2:193) and ‘Enmity and Hate shall reign between us until ye believe in Allah alone’ (60:4). Revelations are not confined to Islam alone, but found in every religion. It is unfortunate that these extremists failed to realize that religion is a relationship between God and an individual, as every individual is a soul which emanates from the Supreme Soul known as God.

Discrimination is in relation to race, colour, age, sex, language, family status, disability and creed. However ‘creed’ is interpreted to mean ‘religious creed’ by the Human Rights Commission. But ‘Creed’ does not extend to religions that incite hatred or violence against others. One of the Rights to equal treatment is that no person can force another to accept or comply with religious beliefs or practices. This is the underlying idea behind the concept of ‘discrimination’. But when there is a clear discrimination on the issue of embracing other faith other than Islam, which appear to be departure from Article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights. There are no punishments for embracing from one religion to other or even if they criticize their religion in non-Islamic countries. But in Islamic countries the punishment is harsh if a Muslim coverts to other religion or criticize their religion. Such a Muslim embracing other faith is considered as ‘unbelief’ not believing in God, and labelled as a ‘traitor to the Muslim community, or as an apostate and even put to death. This is in direct contravention to Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the freedom to change one’s religion. Freedom of Religion is considered as an unqualified right in the International Bill of Human Rights. Further it is unfortunate that the Islamic Human Rights Scheme restricts the rights of the individual especially women, non-Muslims and apostates. Even the Penal Code of Islamic countries stretches its tentacles to non-Muslims when found their ancestors had the good sense to convert from Islam. The persecution of Bahai’s in Iran in recent years is a case in point. One ponders whether Islamic radical ideology disregard principles of equality and promotes discrimination.

All humans in every country have the same potential. But ignorance or false perception of others remains the root cause for Racism. Religious extremists should give up radical ideologies that shape the vision of life an individual, because it is the social, cultural and ideological circumstances that groom the people in their outlook and their attitude. Racism relates to discrimination on the basis of race. Bigot is discrimination on the basis of personal opinion, which can include race, gender, religion or beliefs. There is a misunderstanding that anyone opposing Islamic savagery is labelled with ‘Islamophbic’ or ‘racist’. Racism has nothing to do with religion. Since Muslim is not a race, opposing Islamic Jihad does not amount to racism. The crux of this issue should be viewed on the struggle between love and hate or good and evil.

Though religious denominations have different approaches, they embrace certain values and beliefs in their social teaching, the impact of which should contribute for the betterment of the country and its people. It should promote its ideologies in compliance with the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Briefly it should move towards a positive approach in a changing world and not to hand on to backward ideologies. What is required is diversity. [If affiliation is correlated to race, and ethnicity, and if affiliation is correlated to religion, then religion, race and ethnicity are correlated.

All religions have their accepted dogma or beliefs. But conflicts arise when majority of a specific religion have moderate views while the extremists stick on to the literal meaning of the averments in the teachings. It is impossible to compromise with the extremists when the world struggles to decide what is good and evil. The religious extremists (whether the Islamists, hardline Hindus, Sikh extremists, etc) tend to use the terminologies such as racist, bigot, etc on account of their ignorance. Even in Sri Lanka religious revivalism has produced a powerful illiberal nationalism which led to intolerance and discrimination. The protests by the Buddhist monks during the visit of Swami Vivekananda (who declared that Lord Buddha was a Great Master) at Anuradhapura and presently the protests launched by the BBS are cases in point. Similarly Islamic Terrorist Organizations consider violence as their duty and call for Jihad. It is time to realize that since religion has played a vital role in conflicting situations, some religious Missions (like the Ramakrishna Mission) should step out to find a remedy to promote awareness of the positive peace building and reconciliatory role. Moreover, educating other religions also facilitate understanding and respect for other faiths. What is essential is communication in a spirit of humility which has the force of discouraging religious extremism.

As Islamic–affiliated group of people never experienced the hard-won achievement of the European democratic countries towards the path of democracy (since period of Renaissance), there is a moral obligation for them to share the democratic values and denounce religious ideologies that promote doctrine of hate, oppression and murder.

Since the issue between promoting radical ideology of hatred, oppression and murder on the one hand and promoting freedom and human dignity on the other hand, there is an obligation on the democratic countries to monitor the activities of these suspected miscreants when passing the Immigration Section at the Airports on various pretexts. The Immigration Officials have a duty to observe their strange behavior, tone, code words in their languages, the original place of their departure (they can even travel with foreign Passports from third world corrupted countries), etc. They have to exercise their duties in such a manner because terrorism is a battle between the visible and the invisible. Moreover, the Islamic-affiliated Immigrants should be taught that they are entering democratic countries and that self-alienation has no place in the preservation of democracy and adhere to the principles of equality and human dignity. This is the way to remove the communal and separatist doctrine of Islam from the minds of its misguided followers.

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Latest comments

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    Ayathuray Rajasingam –

    RE: Presidential Election: Discrimination By Religious Extremists & Racism

    In addition to the Family dictatorship, nepotism, fraud and other, the Religions and ethnicity are thrown in to confuse and complicate clear thinking by the common man..

    That is why a Common Sense Phamplet is needed, which the so-called Sri Lakan writers have failed to produce so fat… shame on those writers..

    The American Thomas Paine produced one in 1776 for the American Revolution

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

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      Amarasiri

      I know exactly what Ayathuray Rajasingam the racist pig will say in his Common Sense phamplet, that is if he does write.

      Quote
      Muslims are the curse of Sri Lanka.
      Kill them all.
      Unquote.

  • 2
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    Valuable information as to what race is. Good point. What is Hakim’s view on this issue? Is his claim based on religion or anything else. Colombo Telegraph, thank you for posing such an issue.

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    I was just thinking about Rauff Hakim when he smartly criticized the judgment relating to the impeachment of former Chief Justice, Dr.(Mrs) Shirani Bandaranayake in Parliament like a hero. Now it appears that Hakim is bowled by a googly delivery from the writer. Are Muslim politicians favouring Religion over Nationality or Nationality over Religion. Over to Mahinda Rajapakse and Maithiripala Sirisena for their views.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    The writer himself a racist [Edited out] who refused to see other religious extremist groups except Islam…..
    His articles are disgusting!!!

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      MirakRajBanda,
      The writer has criticized all religious extremists. He has only mentioned the discrimination and given preference to Nationality over Religion. Didn’t you read the sentence ‘the struggle between love and hate or good and evil’. Now see what had happened at Sydney and read the last paragraph of his article. I think Colombo Telegraph has alerted the democratic countries. Hats off to Colombo Telegraph & proved that in Journalism, Truth is a process.

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        Kum

        Please read also his other articles. He is a Tiger Terrorist at heart carrying a grudge against all Muslims of Sri Lanka for supporting the government efforts to defeat the LTTE.

        He hates Muslims. In that context this Article is nothing but hate speech.

        MirakRajBanda is quite right when he says “His articles are disgusting!!!”

  • 0
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    The curse of thd religious problems arise from the fundamentalism in the name of the religion. These develop into terrorism. Sometimes this is being propagated by educatec people as well. The politicians use this to survive as they do not have any principles.

    The mass of the people who belong to different religious groups conduct themselves peacefully according to their religious teaching. But unfortunately due to support of some of the politicians
    The ugly head of the terrorisim rises in the name of religion. Some bankrupt opportunistic politicians use these and destroy tge peace of majority of the people.

    The silent voters must rise to the occasion to defeat this menace and dump such politicians.

  • 2
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    Ayathuray Rajasingam has displayed his extreme hatred of the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka through his previous articles published in Colombo Telegraph. Even in this article what Ayathuray is doing is engage in hate speech. The high sounding mumbo jumbo finally boils down to hate speech.

    He has used the extremist fringe of “Islamic” terrorists, to generalize the whole of the Sri Lanka Muslim community as terrorists. He has been unable to cite a single case of any terrorism by any “Muslim terrorist” in Sri Lanka. But he is quite blind to the extremist fringe operating within other religions like Buddhism, and Christianity. There have been numerous cases of documented cases murder and destruction of property of Muslims and Christians by the Buddhist extremist BBS. Ayathuray is silent. The reason is he hates only the Muslims of Sri Lanka, regardless of whether they are extremists or not.

    Colombo Telegraph has to seriously ponder whether it is their Policy actively to include Terrorist Propaganda in the content of the website.

    The only reason that has prompted his hatred is the fact that Muslims (except a very very few in the North) refused to be part of the Tiger Terrorist outfit from the very beginning. Ayathuray is grieving the demise of the terrorist Tigers.

    He celebrated what he thought was the ethnic cleansing of the North with the expulsion of the Muslims by Tigers in 1990. Ayathuray celebrated when he saw this as a chance to create a mono ethnic Tamil State in the North.

    But Muslims were always against this, and co-operated with the Armed Forces who annihilated the Tamil Tigers. Ayathuray is a terrorist at heart. He never shed a tear for the hundreds of innocent Tamil children that were forcibly used as cannot fodder by the ruthless Pirabaharan.

    Ayathuray cannot understand why Muslims being Tamil speakers, they do not support the Tamil Tiger “cause”. Ayathuray is a Tiger Terrorist at heart; hence his undying hate for the Muslims of Sri Lanka.

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    Ayathurai, the Muslim hater, writes the following regarding Muslim foreigners entering Sri Lanka –

    “Moreover, the Islamic-affiliated Immigrants should be taught (what he means is deny entry) that they are entering democratic countries and that self-alienation has no place in the preservation of democracy and adhere to the principles of equality and human dignity.”

    There is an easy way to implement this and immediately solve fifty percent of the problem. Probably Ayathuray forgot to mention it. I suggest that all male foreigners should be asked to show their penis to immigration. If they are tip-cut they should be denied entry.

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      I can realize that you were unable to understand the contents of his article. Muslim is not a race. It means ‘one who submits to God’. The writer never hates God. What to do with your ignorance. Insane. Ha ha ha.

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        You are patronizing in your first sentence. You are out of line.

        Ayathuray’s purpose is to defame the Muslims of Sri Lanka. He is doing it with hocus pokus mumbo jumbo. He is not writing about facts. He is drawing malicious images of Muslims.

        Sit down quietly and try to write down a summary of the Article. Take into account what he has said in his previous articles published in CT. You will realize there is no substance except hallucination.

        He hates Muslims because they were always against the LTTE. Definitions can be written in any way about race religion, caste. The fact is Muslims are a distinct social group in Sri Lanka: they speak Tamil in the main and their religion is Islam. They co-operate with all the other communities and desire to live in peace. Label the Muslims anyway you want. They are not Tamils by any stretch of the imagination.

        What Ayathuray does is to defame this whole Group using the extremist fringe among Muslims, who have been condemned by Muslims themselves.

        Ayathuray wants to take revenge from Muslims for not supporting the LTTE. Those who do not understand the ulterior motives of Ayathuray give him support. The well known Pearl Thevanayagam came to his rescue once, but has quietly slipped away after she began to see the light. You should also read the other Articles written by him and published in CT, then decide whether this person is a loathsome person or not.

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    Navin, MirakRajBanda, Indra & Ahmed Reza,
    Ayathuray is not a racist. He has even criticized the LTTE. He calls a spade a spade. He has also mentioned ‘peace-loving Islamic affiliated groups’. He will never bow down to terrorism. The subject is ‘discrimination by religious extremists’ who are fanatics. His argument is based on the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. If any of the commentators criticizes the writer, then they should criticize and challenge the UN. Please note what he had written – ‘Since the issue of race, religion and country are inter-twined, the allegation of discrimination as to race and religion becomes a complex issue, if the individual calls himself by the religious affiliation instead of his nationality. The values and beliefs that are embraced should form as an ideology in compliance with the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a positive approach in shaping the vision of life of an individual for the contribution towards the betterment of the world and not for destruction.’
    It is an international issue. Because one cannot digest the facts, one cannot hurl meaningless and emotional terminologies. Think of the destruction the fanatics inflict on the public. Can those be justified? Race is determined by the language and not by religionists. Now what are the commentators wish to say about the hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia. I feel this is a timely written article and an eye opener.

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      Open your eyes wide and look at the picture appearing alongside the article. The Tamil bugger who appears beside the terrorist Nanasara is Ayathuray’s hero. The purpose of the new Hindu Buddhist alliance is clear to everyone, except those who choose to be blind. That should explain why I say Ayathuray hates Muslims.

      Ayathuray’s purpose is to defame the Muslims of Sri Lanka. He is doing it with hocus pokus mumbo jumbo. He is not writing about facts. He is drawing malicious images of Muslims.

      Sit down quietly and try to write down a summary of the Article. Take into account what he has said in his previous articles published in CT. You will realize there is no substance except hallucination.

      He hates Muslims because they were always against the LTTE. Definitions can be written in any way about race religion, caste. The fact is Muslims are a distinct social group in Sri Lanka: they speak Tamil in the main and their religion is Islam. They co-operate with all the other communities and desire to live in peace. Label the Muslims anyway you want. They are not Tamils by any stretch of the imagination.

      What Ayathuray does is to defame this whole Group using the extremist fringe among Muslims, who have been condemned by Muslims themselves.

      Ayathuray wants to take revenge from Muslims for not supporting the LTTE. Those who do not understand the ulterior motives of Ayathuray give him support. The well known Pearl Thevanayagam came to his rescue once, but has quietly slipped away after she began to see the light. You should also read the other Articles written by him and published in CT, then decide whether this person is a loathsome person or not.

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    Ayyathrai , You are the real racist , writing bullshit , not worth reading this garbage

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    are you the founder member of BBS , Ayyathurai ?

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      Sunil Mohan,
      The issue is Discrimination by religious extremists. I think you don’t seem to understand the word ‘Racism’. Do not mess up Racism with religious extremism. Here is a case that the writer is concerned only of the radical ideologists and not the peace-loving religious people. The word ‘Muslim’ is confusing you. It only means ‘one who submits to God’. It appears that you are under the impression that Muslim is a race, which, in fact, is not. If a person who really submits himself to God, then he would not have engaged in barbaric activities. Now just see what happened in Sydney. Do you think that the act of holding those hostages justified by God. Did God ever said to kill or injure them. This is where you are finding difficult to draw a line between a religious extremist and a humble religious person.

  • 3
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    I thank all the commentators who have expressed their views. It has not hurt when some of them called me ‘racist’, because of their ignorance of not knowing what ‘racism’ is. Racism is against a specific race only based on colour, caste, sex, creed to some extent, etc. Then there is an element called ‘Prejudice’ which can be anything harmful to race, sex, religion, etc. All ‘Racism’ is ‘prejudice’, but not all ‘Prejudice is ‘racism’.
    Here is a case that Muslim does not refer to race. It means one who submits to God. They are Islamists by religion and not race. Race refers to Nationality such as Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, Afghan, Iranian, Egyptian, French, British, German, etc. If at all, the Islamists can be referred to as Islamic community, like the Hindu community, Parsee community, Buddhist community, Christian community, Jewish community, etc. So when some ideology is questioned, it is usual for some people to rise emotionally because they are under the impression that particular person is prejudiced.
    Now the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Discrimination relates to race, colour, age, sex, language, family status, disability and creed. Though the word ‘creed’ is interpreted to mean ‘religious creed’, it does not extend to religions that incite hatred or violence against others. One of the Rights to equal treatment is that no person can force another to accept or comply with religious beliefs or practices. This is the underlying idea behind the concept of ‘discrimination’. This gains priority over other matters.
    The recent incidents of taking hostages by an Islamic terrorist in Sydney and the killing of 141 (134 school children) by the Talibans in Pakistan, demonstrate that a section of the religious community is driven by the savage ideology leading to the doctrine of violence. Just imagine whether these victims had committed any crime. It is such ideologies that leads to terrorism are been condemned for the benefit of mankind in good faith and not with malice. Stand up against terrorism for the country whether we are Hindus, Buddhists, Islamists, Christians, Catholics, Jains, etc. It is time for the Islamic community to make an unequivocal declaration openly that such barbaric activities are not religious ideologies. The same principles apply to other religious extremists as well.

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      Ayathuray

      Your writing has a powerful undertone to depict Muslims of Sri Lanka as a group that is a danger to the safety and security of Sri Lanka.

      In order to show your sincerity that you have not bad mouthed the Muslims of Sri Lanka as a group engaging in terror activities, can you please confirm that you never had any intention of doing so. Can you confirm unambiguously that to your knowledge there are no recorded acts of terrorism by Muslims in Sri Lanka.

      Can you please confirm that in accordance with your writing, that you stand up for the Muslims of Beruwala, when they were brutalized by Sinhala Buddhist thugs mobilized by terrorist Buddhist monk Nanasara? I ask this of you because of your deafening silence although you are self proclaimed expert on terrorism.

      Can you please confirm that it has never been your intention to depict Islam as a religion promoting terrorism in your Articles published in CT?

      Having read your Articles in CT, I noticed you believe that terrorism is engaged in only by Muslims in Sri Lanka and other countries. Can you confirm that to the best of your knowledge there are no other groups of human beings in the world who are engaged in terrorist activities.

      Can you give a short write up about yourself, your background what your profession is, and in which country you are residing?

      Awaiting your reply – no mumbo jumbo please – please give a straight forward answer – just as the question are. Thank you.

  • 2
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    Dear Ayathuray Rajasingam,

    It’s undeniably an excellent article by you, a remarkable writer cum lawyer. It proves that you’ve the ability to size up the content, express your ideas & facts clearly, not to hung up on what’s been said before, ground well in data, be simple – but not siplistic, and of course envision unpredictable stuff of sorts that’s to be heralded in the island nation. Congratulations!

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    Whether it is a bomb going off in a market place, or the hijacking of an aircraft where innocent people are held at ransom to achieve political ends, we live in an age, where the manipulation and loss of innocent lives has become commonplace.

    Such is the all-pervasive nature of indiscriminate violence, that “terrorism” is considered as one of the prime threats to peace and security in our societies.

    The word terrorism came into wide usage only a few decades ago. One of the unfortunate results of this new terminology is that it limits the definition of terrorism to that perpetrated by small groups or individuals. Terrorism, in fact, spans the entire world, and manifests itself in various forms. Its perpetrators do not fit any stereotype. Those who hold human lives cheap, and have the power to expend human lives, appear at different levels in our societies. The frustrated employee who kills his colleagues in cold-blood or the oppressed citizen of an occupied land who vents his anger by blowing up a school bus are terrorists who provoke our anger and revulsion. Ironically however, the politician who uses age-old ethnic animosities between peoples to consolidate his position, the head of state who orders “carpet bombing” of entire cities, the exalted councils that choke millions of civilians to death by wielding the insidious weapon of sanctions, are rarely punished for their crimes against humanity.

    It is this narrow definition of terrorism that implicates only individuals and groups, that has caused Muslims to be associated with acts of destruction and terror in the popular media. Often, the religion of Islam is held responsible for the acts of a fringe minority among Muslims.

    Could it be possible that Islam, whose light ended the Dark Ages in Europe, now propound the advent of an age of terror? Could a faith that has over 1.2 billion followers the world over, and over 7 million in America, actually advocate the killing and maiming of innocent people? Could Islam, whose name itself stands for “peace” and “submission to God”, encourage its adherents to work for death and destruction?

    For too long, have we relied on stereotypical images in the news media and in Hollywood films, for answers to these pertinent questions. It is time now to look at the sources of Islam, and its history, to determine whether Islam does indeed advocate violence.

    Sanctity of human life

    The Glorious Qur’an says:
    “…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” [Al-Qur’an 6:151]

    Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:
    “…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [Al-Qur’an 5:32]

    Such is the value of a single human life, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly, with killing all of humanity. Thus, the Qur’an prohibits homicide in clear terms. The taking of a criminal’s life by the state in order to administer justice is required to uphold the rule of law, and the peace and security of the society. Only a proper and competent court can decide whether an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings.

    Ethics of WAR
    Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that one deals with the enemy nobly on the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows: “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman” [1].

    “Do not kill the monks in monasteries” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places ­­­­­­­­of worship.” [2]

    During a war, the Prophet saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed:
    “She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?” Thus non-combatants are guaranteed security of life even if their state is at war with an Islamic state.

    Jihad

    JIHAD While Islam in general is misunderstood in the western world, perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as the word ‘jihad’. The term ‘jihad’ has been much abused, to conjure up bizarre images of violent Muslims, forcing people to submit at the point of the sword. This myth was perpetuated throughout the centuries of mistrust during and after the Crusades. Unfortunately, it survives to this day.

    The word Jihad comes from the root word jahada, which means to struggle. So jihad is literally an act of struggling, and this struggle can have various forms. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) referred to the struggle against the insidious suggestions of one’s own soul as a form of jihad. Thus the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to God in all aspects of life, is part of the essence of Islam.

    Jihad also refers to struggle against injustice. Islam, like many other religions, allows for armed self-defense, or retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression. The Glorious Qur’an says:
    “And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” [Al-Qur’an 4:75]

    Thus Islam enjoins upon its believers to strive utmost, in purifying themselves, as well as in establishing peace and justice in the society. A Muslim can never be at rest while there is injustice and oppression around hom/her. Martin Luther King Jr., quite aptly said:
    “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

    Islam enjoins upon all Muslims to work actively to maintain the balance in which God created everything. However, regardless of how legitimate the cause may be, the Glorious Qur’an categorically denounces the killing of innocent people. Terrorizing the civilian population, whether by small groups or by states, can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam.

    History of Tolerance

    Even Western scholars have repudiated the myth of Muslims coercing others to convert. The great historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote:
    “History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”[3]

    Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up until they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and/or Jewish populations. This is not surprising to a Muslim, for his faith prohibits him from forcing others to see his point of view. The Glorious Qur’an says:
    “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]

    Islam- The Great Unifier
    Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Glorious Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin:
    “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” [Al-Qur’an 49:13]

    Thus, it is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is threatened with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.

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    Indra,
    Again you are making the same mistake. The writer has criticized all extremists. He has enough experience than you and me about the evil nature of terrorism. What he insists is on religious extremism. That way the Islamists is a community and not a race. Today if you look at the world news, it is the Islamic terrorists who are causing the problem. Why can’t they have their problems solved in their own Islamic countries. Because of the problems in the Islamic countries, peace loving Islamists are still seeking refuge in the West. Right from the beginning of the Twin Tower attack, London Subway, chopping of an innocent soldier who was on duty in London, Mumbai bombings, Boston bombing, derailing, and recently the killing of school children in Pakistan, the hostage incident in Sydney, and many more together with their barbaric methods of stoning to death, beheading, cutting limbs, etc speak of Islamic terrorist activities. Why don’t you first criticize that these are uncivilized methods? I am asking you one simple question ‘have these innocent civilians committed any crime? The writer is analyzing within the scope of the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and has come to a conclusion that if everyone adopts the attitude that ‘Nationality takes precedence over religion’, this terrorist problem will just disappear.

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    0

    Indra,
    I think you are unable field his shots.

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