by Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar
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 who zealously “defend” the honor of Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad 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 sect as I – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
On Sunday, February 6, in yet another heinous act of evil in the name of Allah, an estimated 1,500 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 and watched.
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 result in Ahmadis being the victims of looting, arson and unrepentant murder by mobs of the kind that attacked the Banten Ahmadis on February 6.
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, they say, 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 Seventh Century AD by the moral, social and spiritual transformation of pre-Islamic Arabia into a civilization whose light eventually reached Europe, ending 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 contain and produce the epitome of social and moral tenets if the core values of that religion are barbarism, evil, immorality and intolerance?
The Muslims today, who believe in bloody Jihad and killing the innocent, have lost sight of the real purpose and message of Islam — to attain peace and oneness with the 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 195 countries. Their motto is: “Love for All — Hatred for None.”
(Jonathan M.A. Ghaffar is a writer and speaker on Islam. He lives in Chino, CA, and can be reached via e-mail at: JonathanMAG@Gmail.com).