Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Stop associating the label with intention

Update : 29 May 2013, 05:55 AM

With winds of change, people may shift from one thing to another. They might as well, want, to depart from being a socialist to a nationalist or an atheist to an agnostic. However, it is not common for some person to change their perspective about a given matter. They would remain adamant about what they think and believe.

With Muslims all over the world being labelled terrorist thanks to the acts of a few extremists, it is very difficult for someone to practice the religion to the letter. A slightly religious looking person is deemed a threat, if not looked through the corner of one’s eye, to the people around him. With the emergence of Hefazat-e-Islam and the re-insurgence of Jamaat and Shibir recently, every religious Muslim is apparently out for blood.

I, for one, am a victim of being labeled a fanatic. Why? Because I sport a beard. For that reason alone, I am apparently, an ally to jamat-shibir. Since when, I ask, did growing a beard become a sign of “jamat or shibirhood?”

Each prophet of Islam had a beard, with no exceptions. Does that mean they were proponents of the same ideology as jamat-shibir?

I don't understand how people automatically associate terrorism with beard. In that case, how about Hitler and his killing of six million Jews. If my memory serves me right Hitler did not have a beard and obviously he was not a Muslim. Hence, I call to your sense and logic and raise the question of how people forget about the acts all others to rant and rave about Muslims being intolerant and violent?

Naysayers would say Hitler didn't kill the Jews in the name of religion whereas Islamists kill in the name of religion. Fine, but does that justify painting everyone with the same brush?

We don't hold all Americans responsible for what their government did to Iraq and Afghanistan; nor do we blame all Chinese for what the Chinese government did to the Tibetan people. Why then do people in the west blame all Muslims for acts of terrorism? Worse yet, the Muslim countries themselves are doing the same!

It's crazy to me that having some facial hair makes you somehow related to those responsible for acts of terrorism.

Kindness does not have any relation with having a beard or not having a beard. You could be kind without having a beard. Yet somehow my beard makes me capable of violence because I happen to be a Muslim.

And in the meantime, you still believe you are being tolerant even though you do not tolerate the presence of practicing Muslims. Though you are not violent about it, it would be an understatement to call it unkind. And, it is needless to say, it is completely unwarranted.

The prophet of Islam Muhammad (SM) would never tolerate violent behaviour. In fact, there is a prophetic tradition to this effect, in which he orders the Muslims to not destroy non-Muslim places of worship.

Even though many of us do not realise it, the fact is a lot of non-Muslims actually have talked in favour of the Muslims- commenting on how the moors of Spain treated the non-Muslims during their rule. James Burk writes in his book, The Day the Universe Changed: "In Muslim Spain, thousands of Jews and Christians lived in peace and harmony with their Muslim overlords."

I would like to point out that I was not justifying any act of violence but I was just asking of my audience to be respectful of people, despite appearances. For if you expect people to respect you, give them the respect they expect of you.

Noam Chomsky once said: "If you don't like what someone has to say, argue with them." I hope my article was a reflection of that.

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