I am a convert to the religion of Islam. I am proud to be a Muslim but I am not proud of some Muslims. I am appalled and angered by the frequent acts of violence against other Muslims and members of other faiths at the hands of these so-called Muslims zealously eager to “defend” the honor of Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by extinguishing the lives of others. Their unspeakable atrocities are the very defamation they claim to remove.
I reject their contention that they are being “true” Muslims by mercilessly butchering the innocent in the name of God. And I am saddened and dismayed beyond words when a great number of those innocents belong to the same Islamic community as I.
On Sunday, Feb.6th, 2011, in yet another heinous act of evil in the name of Allah, more than 1,000 angry Muslims armed with bamboo poles, spears, knives and machetes viciously attacked 20 unarmed members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in a rural village in south Banten province, Indonesia.
Three Ahmadi Muslims were brutally killed and five seriously injured at the scene while dozens of policemen stood by impotently and watched, unable to stop the mob violence. One of the injured Ahmadis who was beaten into a coma died several days later. None of the people responsible for the killings has been arrested, even though a 30-minute video of the attack was given to the police as evidence.
The motive for the attack? Ahmadis are considered heretics in Islam. Calls by hard-line Muslim clerics and political leaders for the disbanding of the Ahmadiyya sect and for the persecution of its members often culminate in Ahmadis being the victims of looting, arson and unrepentant murder by mobs of the kind that attacked the Banten Ahmadis last Sunday.
Indonesia is fast becoming a carbon copy of , gripped in the fist of Taliban and al-Qaida extremism. Pakistan
Against such a backdrop where compassion, tolerance and peace in the Muslim world seem little more than a mirage, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s motto of “Love for All – Hatred for None” is a lonely cry in the wasteland of ignorance and hate that comprises much of what is viewed as mainstream Islam by the West and by many Muslims themselves – many of them proudly defensive of it.
Critics of Islam say that what passes for the faith of nearly 1.5-billion people today, in all its brutish rage, is merely the fruit of the seeds planted 1,400 years ago in the deserts of Arabia -- that Islam started out violent, evil and oppressive and stayed that way, true to its core principles. Peaceful Muslims aren’t being “true” Muslims.
Others, myself included, answer that a religion whose primary descriptive is ‘peace’ cannot then be its opposite. It has devolved into the barbarity and inhumanity we now see visited upon its perceived enemies, within and without, but that is a result of the corruption and decay of the faith from its pristine understanding and practice, not a product of its original design and manifestation.
This is evident following the advent of Islam in the 7th century AD by the moral, social and spiritual transformation of pre-Islamic
Arabia into a cultured civilization that eventually produced the antidote to the Dark Ages.
Islam established a way of life for its adherents that forbade idolatry, non-defensive war, murder, drinking, gambling, promiscuity, theft, deceit, bribery, infanticide and every kind of evil, while mandating belief in One God, compassion for the needy, justice for the oppressed, equal spiritual rank and the right to education for men and women, charity to strangers, neighbors, relatives and orphans, and the promotion of every kind of good.
Compared to the savage feudalism it replaced, Islam was eminently spiritual, civilized, merciful, tolerant, forgiving and moral. How is it possible for a religion routinely labeled as barbaric, evil, immoral and intolerant to somehow produce all of the previously listed social and moral tenets if the core values of that religion are barbarism, evil, immorality and intolerance? The answer is: it can’t and it didn’t.
The Bible and the Quran both record the same wisdom: “A good tree produces good fruit, and an evil tree produces evil fruit.” But it’s also self-evident that a good tree left abandoned will soon wither and become stunted and diseased, eventually producing bad fruit.
In the case of Islam, its “bad” fruits are those violent, extremist Muslims raised on the poisoned fruit from a branch of Islam rooted in a post-Colonial reactionary worldview predicated on real or perceived injustices against Muslims by non-Muslims past and present. This is now the mantra of virtually every Jihadist organization.
Muslims with this mindset have lost sight of the real purpose and message of Islam: to attain peace and Oneness with God, and peace and brotherhood with humanity. These ideals form the true foundation of Islam and are the main reasons people convert to Islam. This is the Islam practiced and preached since 1889 by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, now in over 190 countries.
Peace-loving Muslims and non-Muslims must join forces to empower this type of Islam to counter its extremist forms. To side with Muslims who declare Ahmadis non-Muslim only hastens and guarantees more intolerance and violence against any and all who disagree with the radicals version of “beheader’s Islam.”
When nations like
Pakistan and fall prey to and even celebrate the tyranny and wickedness of militant, extremist Islam, such nations and their populations will inevitably reap the deadly and bitter fruits of their actions -- and their inactions. Indonesia
Those Muslims whose hearts cry out in anger, pain or shame at the persecution of condemned Christian Asia Bibi and the cold-blooded murder of Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer must stand up now to help save Islam from its self-inflicted wounds of ignorance, intolerance, bigotry and evil.
They can do this by standing up for and with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, either in membership or in sympathy, and through the applied rule of law to protect the innocent and end extremism and hate in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia.
To paraphrase a well-known truth that we all must take to heart, “All that is required for evil people to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” I am an Ahmadi Muslim and I choose to stand with the good.
Appeared as "Murderous Muslims not true to Islam" in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the San Bernardino Sun on Feb. 23rd, 2011 and online at AhmadiyyaTimes.com and Islamicity.com at: http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=TS1102-4526