Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Myth of Fundamentalism

Xenophobes do not leave any chance to criticise Muslims anywhere in the world, although, the overwhelming majority of the Muslims is not practicing Islam. Actions of the Muslims clearly show that they are not interested in following commandments of Islam as individuals or as a society.

The Muslims are breaking basic principles of Islam in their daily lives and they cannot be regarded as practicing Muslims from a theological point of view. For example, the Muslims are not following commandments about usury, sexual ethics, intoxication, daily prayers, beard, and Zakat.

A Muslim cannot indulge in usury, which is charging or paying interest on financial transactions. “ ... Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury ... ” Quran 002.275. Banking systems of most of the Muslim countries are based on usury. For example, Pakistani financial system is similar to the Western countries. The political system of Pakistan has endorsed the practice of usury by running usury based banking system. Pakistanis as a whole are responsible for the breach of commandments about usury. The people who involve in usury cannot be classified as Muslim fundamentalists.

There is a suburb in Lahore – the second largest city in Pakistan, which is full of prostitutes and un-Islamic conduct. Islam forbids this type of conduct but it is tolerated in the capital of the biggest province in Pakistan.

“ ... The Prophet said, ‘All intoxicants are prohibited’ ... ” Narrated Abi Burda, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 631. Many Muslims especially from South Asia chew tobacco, which causes intoxication. Some people also pray immediately after chewing tobacco although they know that use of intoxicants is not permissible.

There are strict instructions for the Muslims to pray five times a day with congregation in a Mosque. However, there are not enough Mosques in the Muslim societies to accommodate all Muslims for compulsory congregational prayers. The Muslims as a society do not expect all Muslims to turn up for compulsory congregational prayers five times a day. Otherwise, they would have built enough Mosques to accommodate all Muslims for prayers.

It is an old religious tradition to have a beard. A Muslim male is required to trim his moustaches and have a beard. “Allah's Apostle said, ‘Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is)’ Narrated Ibn 'Umar”, Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Number 781. However, it can be observed that an overwhelming majority of the Muslims do not have beards but they have moustaches. The Muslim males are doing exactly the opposite of what is recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

It is also compulsory to collect Zakat (obligatory charity) from wealthy Muslims and spent it for the welfare of the poor people. However, most of the Muslim societies do not have a system to implement commandments about Zakat.

A huge majority of the Muslim countries is using secular laws. These countries are not applying Sharia (Islamic law), which is compulsory for all Muslims to follow. The Muslims have not bothered to vote for fundamentalists in most of the Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Fundamentalists have never secured a substantial percentage of votes in these countries especially in Pakistan, which is portrayed as a hub of fundamentalism by the anti-Muslim lobby.

However, this is not enough to please the xenophobes or to stop their poisonous propaganda. It will continue at any cost. Islamophobes will keep on propagating stereotypical images of the Muslims.

If the West suspects the growth of fundamentalism in a Muslim country then it tries to eliminate fundamentalism by imposing a war. Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iran are a good example.

Some of its left-leaning politicians were against invading secular Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The fear of fundamentalism was one of the reasons behind the unanimous agreement to attack Afghanistan. The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder was against invading Iraq but he deployed German troops to attack Afghanistan.

US Senator, Hillary Clinton said’ “I believe we still have failed to pay adequate attention or have we given the appropriate resources that are necessary to Afghanistan ... This was summarized for me when I was greeted by a soldier, an American soldier in Afghanistan who said ‘welcome to the forgotten front line of the War on Terror’.”

The West also encouraged and supported Saddam Hussein to attack Iran to contain the Islamic Revolution after a popular uprising against dictatorship of the King of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi. Israel also attacked Palestine to eliminate the democratically elected government of Hamas to contain fundamentalism with the help of the West.

Xenophobia is the driving force behind the actions of the West and its propaganda against the Muslims. The Western media is trying hard to imply that all Muslims are fundamentalist and extremists. The current increase in the vilification of the Muslims by the Western media and politicians is a proof of this.

Adolf Straw, Professor of Theology, Neo-Nazi University of Auschwitz spearheaded their attack. The xenophobes want to impose the Western values on the Muslims to control the political resistance posed by the Muslims around the world.

There is a sharp rise of neo-Nazis because of the xenophobic propaganda in the West. This is encouraging the ever-increasing crimes against ethnic and religious minorities such as Jews, Muslims, and Africans. The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein said, “I have the feeling that Jews in Germany do not feel safe. They are not always able to practice their religion freely.”

Nowadays, there is a tendency to label all Muslims as fundamentalists and supporters of terrorism. Terrorism is used as an excuse to spread Islamophobia. It is vital to understand the context in which Islamophobia is exercised and its effects on the world affairs.