Former President & Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Ex Chairman President’s National Kashmir Committee Pakistan
H.E. Sardar Muhammad Abdul Qayyum Khan
Institute of Peace and Development (INSPAD)
Islamophobia is not a new phenomenon, it has been there ever since. It is inbuilt in the creation itself. Whether it is religion or something else, presence of both the negative and positive forces are the sum total of the Universe. It is also recognized phenomenon that the divine forces and evil forces have been at war with each other since the very beginning. The evil forces have been created by the same divine decree, therefore, their eternal existence. Therefore, no body should be in doubt that any of these forces can be eradicated. The only thing left is the nature of this conflict and endeavours to remove the superfluous elements, so that the Universe is not taken over by the evil forces alone.
Taking a look at the present situation one feels that Islamophobia can be interpreted in two ways. First of all of-course, is the original conflict mentioned above, and secondly the re-enforcing forces. The forces that re-enforce Islamophobia are spread out on a wide canvas. It is re-enforced by misrepresentation and deliberate fabrication by the vested interests besides economic and political reasons. Therefore, what possibly could be done is to widely explain the malafide propaganda, as also to present true picture of the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam and the fundamental message, which is based on Quran and the Holy traditions. Message of peace as indicated by the world Islam itself.
Despite all this, the process has been going on ever since the first religion appeared on the horizon. The passage of time has been gradually aggravating the situation. This situation has suddenly started further deterioration. The basic cause is the globalization, which has brought the negative and positive aspects far closer than before. Therefore, need to attend to this aspect and to properly address it, is fast escalating posing highly destructive threat to the human race itself. Needless to count innumerous incidents and episodes, some natural and some by design, the need however is whether:
a. Do we clearly perceive the capacity of the threat.
b. If so, what is to be done.
However, setting up of Union of NGO’s of the Islamic World (UNIW) is a step forward in the right direction. The UNIW, the OIC and the UN could play a positive role to whatever the extent. An organization based on collective intellect comprising Muslim scholars needs to be set up for the purpose of combating and countering the malicious media campaign purposely to malign Islam and to bring it to a conformation with the west. As General Geobles is reported to have said “repeat lies so much that the people should believe them true”. This is exactly what has happened and what is happening regarding media campaign against Islam. While analyzing this situation one can feel that as a result of this campaign there must be hundreds of thousands of people who have been trapped into believing the distorted and fabricated cock-and-bull stories. These are the people, who are amenable to correction with proper media approach. At the same time one should not be oblivious to the international efforts made at different levels for the same purpose in the name of interfaith reconciliation. I have explained the fallacy of this concept in the attached statement, which might be helpful. Together with this exercise as a first step in my opinion and the easiest one of course, is to create an atmosphere, which is conducive for co-existence. In fact the global requirement in the short term is co-existence. Whatever the religion or other denominations, co-existence is perhaps the more urgently needed, as it easily attainable.
The Muslim scholars and the religious people are also required to adopt positive attitude like one has to do by explaining some thing to the ignorant people. There are no doubt innumerous people who are antagonistic to Islam purely because of ignorance. Also hostile reaction to their ignorance, only adds to their antagonism. If the Muslim scholars could bring them up to meet the requirement of the Quranic Verse.
“Invite to the path of Almighty Allah with wisdom and palatable sermons and if you have to contend, do it in the best possible manner”.
I am sure a lot of danger can be averted.
The greatest danger in this respect has been caused by the most unjustified application by the use of the Term Terrorism to Islam. It is the grass misnomer; unjust use of force is no answer. It will surely boomerang with its consequences. It needs also to be remembered that terrorism, in the present century, is not the creation of Muslims much less Islam. It is purely in relation to various terrorist acts by the ruling authorities who have used it as an instrument of war strategy.
What I apprehend is that if not treated scientifically and with wisdom, it may acquire unbelievable dimension. The present age can be called experimental one. It will not help to blame the whole ethnic groups, and individuals. Terrorist’s acts by institutions are more dangerous in consequence than by individuals. Just because institutions are stronger and wield unquestionable influence effect.
Let us not forget that equivalent reaction to every action in unavoidable, regardless of any consequences. Let me also quote the Indian thinker Philosopher Rabinder Nath Taigore.
“If one is forced to drop the stick in his hand, he keeps waving the stick in his heart”. The west in blindly following the hostile media tirade against Islam, forgetting that to blame Muslims is one thing, but it is not the same as blaming Islam.
It also needs to be recognized that the Islamophobia is one of the most Lucrative Profession in the World. Speaking and writing against Islam is very fashionable and the most highly rewarded act; Suleman Rushdie is a typical example and many others.
One of the remedies would be to set up a Legal Regime at the U.N making criminal any act of defamation of a person or a religious community for whatever they are. This step could possibly lead to creating an atmosphere conductive to universal peace and co-existence.
It is also incumbent on our wise scholars to remind the World of the historical consequences of the misuse of power creating subversive reactions, even the end of that power. There is no denying the historical process; the only question is who learns the lesson or not. In particular, defamation of any religion, much less hurting feelings of any community, should be declared a universal crime, and war against all human beings.
A religion which propounds respect even for the dead; a religion which decrees that to kill one person without justification or for creating disorder in the world is like killing all human beings; and a religion that propounded the philosophy of survival of the beneficial and which decrees that those who are beneficial to human beings will survive on earth, how can it be deemed to be dangerous or harmful to human beings. Here I quote the three relevant verses from the Quran.
“One who killed except in retaliation or stopping creating disorder in this world is like killing all human being”
“Do not commit excess even in murder”
“One who is beneficial for human beings shall survive on earth”
All told the master piece panacea proposed by the Quran needs to be explained to opponents of Islam. As a final verdict in one of the last paragraphs, the Quran declared:
“Your religion is for you and my religion is for me”
Towards the end let me point out the danger, which is brewing up in South Asia (Kashmir) and Middle East (Palestine). Both these spots are simmering volcano. Time gaining is surely no final answer. If not addressed adequately and in time it may further complicate and compound. That will be disastrous. Both have the under tones of politics and religion.
Thanking you for attention.
UNION of NGO’s of Islamic World-Istanbul Conference 08, 09 Dec.2007