Holding Muslim Leaders Accountable

Category: World Affairs Topics: Bangladesh Views: 8633
8633

It is sad and unfortunate part of the human nature, that when oppressed by others, we appeal to humanity and justice, and fight against the oppression, as we should. Once we get the upper hand we turn around and inflict similar atrocities on others. All ethnic groups, religions and societies have been guilty of this evil.

In these ever-repeating tragedies, the innocents are the victims. Yet by their quiescence, when it happens to others, they are guilty of being enablers. Often the lament is what could an individual do? It is usually true, but not always. As the history is witness, not many but a few times, an average individual has made a difference. 

It is important to speak out against all atrocities, even when one cannot make a difference materially. It is more difficult, therefore more important to speak out against atrocities committed by one's own kind.

O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk... (Quran 4:135)

There are a number of examples where the oppressed have turned around and become the oppressors them selves. In 2004 the Asian Center for Human Rights reported the land grab and killing of indigenous "Jumma" people in south-eastern Bangladesh (Chitagong Hills). The attacks are aimed at terrorizing indigenous people for their lands. In April 2003, the army and illegal settlers burnt down Jumma houses in Bhuiochari village after indigenous peoples asked the settlers to stop encroaching onto their lands, and to dismantle the houses they had built. The army encircled the village and forced the indigenous people out of their homes while the settlers looted and burnt down the houses.

Recall that Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan in 1971 because of the inequities and the maltreatment from the more dominant West Pakistan government. Similar atrocities are committed by the Janjaveed (Nomadic Sudanese, claming Arab decent) on the darker settled Muslims of Darfur region.

Muslims vocally, monetarily and emotionally decry and condemn, as they should, the atrocities and land grab against Muslims in Palestine, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Ughur, Kashmir, Gujarat and many other places. Such land grab, ethnic cleansing and genocide are occasionally even gingerly condemned by the supposedly Islamic governments, though not too vocally lest their own record may be examined more closely. 

Yet, when Muslims oppress people of other religions or even other Muslims in the same manner the criticism at most is muted. For example the persecution of Muslims and non-Muslims by the Talibans in Afghanistan, Kurds by Arab regimes, Jumma people in Bangladesh, Qadianis in Pakistan or tribal cleansing in Darfur region of Sudan and Acheh in Indonesia.

To their credit, many Muslim journalists have taken pains to write about it with passion. Bangladesh Observer wrote a very strong editorial, but the governments, social and political organizations and individuals remain generally silent or perfunctorily shake their heads.

Often governments justify their actions or inaction by pointing to the follies and deviance of the people being oppressed. These are more self-serving then real. 

Even when true, the duty of the government is to treat all its citizens with equality and justice. The miscreants should be brought to the court of law. Governments that suppress civil descent and practice oppression in effect invite rebellion.

Unfortunately it is true that some in the western media with an anti-Islamic agenda would take the Muslim condemnation of other Muslims for their own purposes. This should not deter us, because bias against Islam has been going on for a long time and we have no control on what others do. We need to make sure we do what justice demands. Our timidity and non-condemnation only helps the evil forces within our communities. Paucity of reform and negation of such heinous forces from inside the community bring condemnation and pressure from outside. It only helps to advance the agenda of those outside forces that are malicious towards Islam for their own vile reasons.

It is always better if the opposition springs from within the community. It is more effective and conducive to thoughtful change.

The idea that "true understanding and adherence of religion would ameliorate these problems," have been bandied about in all religions since time immemorial. It has only produced more discord and arguments about the true meaning of the religion .

In public discourse we never tire of pointing out that Islam stands for peace, mercy and compassion' and it does! Oppression breeds extremism. When extreme becomes common, the normative base of the society is severely injured. Such perversity of beliefs must be opposed by the civil society, especially one that claims a moral high ground.

When others practice cruelty and mayhem against Muslims, it hurts and we resist and fight against it. When Muslims do it, we need to fight even harder. We should condemn it, resist it and fight against it with even greater resolve.

The question that is staring us in the face and tugging at our conscience is - Do we practice Islam as a religion of morality without exception as it ought to be, or simply as an extension of local tribalism into a super tribe?

Should only others be condemned for inhumanity, but people in our own super-tribe are ours therefore should be supported lest they grow even weaker or at worst should be gingerly criticized so that others may not see what we refuse to acknowledge?

It is a shame that the central tenet of Islamic ethos based on justice is so cavalierly and nonchalantly violated by many Muslim governments and leaders, and we are mute, observers at best and by our quiescence collaborators at worst.

Mirza A. Beg can be contacted at [email protected]


  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Bangladesh
Views: 8633

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Older Comments:
FARZANA FROM BANGLADESH said:
No matter who the opressors are, every muslim should take a firm stand against injustice
2006-05-12

KEITH FRANE FROM U.S.A. said:
A Muslim must ask themselves if the Prophet(pbuh) would comdemn or condone any of the things that are ocurring these days in his name and authority. Would Allah praise these acts or judge these people as non-believers and murderers?
2006-05-12

ABDUR RASHEED RAZI FROM PAKISTAN said:
I fully agree and endorse the views expressed in the article. The atrocities and injustice within muslim society by the governments even to its political rivals and opponenets is also condemnable. In Pakistan, the situation by government agencies towards its political non-supported elements, same sense is prevailed. Thanks to Islamiccity to have commenced and covered such prestigious views. Please carry on for education to muslim leaders. Thanks.
2006-05-08

TAJAMMUL FROM KUWAIT said:
Is this article shows the truth of present situation in the world of muslims?? No My Dear...
I agree with Dr.Tayyab..
Almighty Allah knows the BEST
2006-05-07

BILAL AHMED FROM OMAN said:


QOUTE

"" It is a shame that the central tenet of Islamic ethos based on justice is so cavalierly and nonchalantly violated by many Muslim governments and leaders, and we are mute, observers at best and by our quiescence collaborators at worst. ""

******************************

We are mute BECAUSE we are emulating the west at every corner and field of our lives. Our men are chicken and the muslim women are defiantly "marinating" in their "Freedom/Liberated" culture. This western cultural venom have made our men impotent to throw our traitor-leaders and our women are having a field day; hence our families and societies are fractured,unwholesome and disjointed !
2006-05-06

ANSAR FROM PAKISTAN said:
Assalamualaikum,

Its good to address the attrocities within Ummah itself by rude politicians or dictators. But most your focus is towrds those who are not oppressed in reality when you compare the attrocties of majority of ummah by America and his puppet rulers. Whatever is happening with other communities in muslim lands is just because of general anarchy and currupt rule. Condemning Taliban even after five years of their fall doesn't make sense. Some time modern muslim writers or journalist try to do injustice with their own people by accusing innocents or oprressed like Taliban of Afghanistan or Hammas of Palestine. If they are just in their nature they should not insult the weak but committed muslim brothers or groups who made real sacrifice for the cause of justice, honor, dignity and better rule for Muslim Ummah and other communities in their own domain. O good muslim writer cann't condemn Islamic Movements rather he/she can condemn currupt regimes or puupet rulers. Be fair in analysis and presentation.

Jazakallah

Ansar
2006-04-19

STU FROM AUSTRALIA said:
As a non muslim I really agree on what the article says, and its about time muslims in the muslims world take a bigger voice on violence by muslims by fellow muslims in muslim lands.
2006-04-19

MARYAH FROM USA said:
Quran 3:114
They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.
How wise is this verse! We need to be more diligent in our tolerance of misdeeds to others! Muslims need to be decent to other Muslims before the rest of the world will stop putting Us down! If we know the truth, then we need to be an example to the world in order for them to accept the right path.
2006-04-19

HUDD FROM CANADA said:
For all those "very intelligent" dudes that would want to see Muslims approving of the article, I too would like to see both Christian and Jews denouncing Israel and her despicable ideology,i.d. Zionism. Where and when could I see from the "smart" ones a fair and vehement criticism of Israel and her assassination habits?
Give me a break you ... Israel is the measure. You love Israel equals to you hate Arabs. You support Israel equals to you bash Islam. How could any Muslim of any ilk trust you deceivers and wolves clad in sheep's skin? The prophet you claim to follow denounced your wrong doings of yore! Yeah, I'm talking about Jesus/'Isa/Yeshua,pbuh, the son of Mary,pbuh. Get your bibles and read it straight for the Judgement is nigh, you lost sheep in the spiritual desert of the house of Israel ..!
Peace out!
2006-04-19

DR. TAYYABA QIDWAI FROM MUSCAT,OMAN. said:
The question which needs to be answered today in these times of violence and its impact on societies is, are Muslims the most violent people today, the Enemies of Peace, or is it the " Peace-loving" civilisations of the West, who are to be blamed? I do not mean to say that the current Muslims are free of all sorts of evil. They have their own share in the evils due to weaknesses peculiar to their own societies.But, despite their shortcomings and failures on a number of fronts, individually, socially and politically, they remain one of the most peaceful people on the earth.When we analyse the International crime statistics, we find that the very nations which boast of being the leaders of the "civilised" world, prove to be most barbaric.When we glance through history of the last 100-150 years, the countries indulging in biggest massacres, wars and civil wars have not been Muslims. According to website copyrighted by Pierie Scruff, which gives the statistics of wars and civil wars, about 160 million people have died in wars in the 20th century.An overwhelming majority of these have been killed by the countries which are the big 5 powers of the world, namely China,UK, USA, France and Russia. When you talk of terrorism, you can attribute three major factors - American Policies is number one, then comes the official response by Muslim countries to these policies and then the failure of Islamic clerics to take their governments to task for it.
The Prophet (saw) said, "Support your brother when oppressed and when he is being the oppressor."A companion asked him," I know how to help my brother when he is oppressed, but how do I help my brother when he is the oppressor?" The Prophet ( saw) said,"You stop him from oppressing others "
I think, these are the times when Muslim thinkers and writers must think objectively, whether the Muslims ( Leaders and commoners)in these times are more oppressed or are the oppressors and then give their fair analyses in their support. <
2006-04-18

SALMAN SAIYED FROM U.S.A said:
This article is good not for only muslim but for all humanity.Fairness and justice is the key ingredient to generate peace and happiness in this world. If we really understand and follow the guidence of Quran that can be achieve.
2006-04-17

AMIN21 FROM USA said:
Interesting article... It is important for the Muslim world to accept responsibility for the current plight of Muslim nations rather than exonerate ourselves of responsibility by blaming the west for the situation that Muslims are in solely at the hands of our own.

The constant claim of being the victim will never solve anything... only action within muslim societies will do that...

responsibility and innovation

are key... not imitation... (whether it be of the West or an attempt to relive long gone Islamic history)

The Muslim world must find its own path, the Muslim world must take care of its own problems... fixing the problems of Muslims is in the hands of no one but Muslims themselves... and no amount of crying "waah Israel" or "Waah America" or "waah colonialism" will fix this.

Muslims were dominated by Western powers and Israel not solely based external greedy design, but more so based on internal corruption, fatalism, lack of innovation and an undeserved superiority complex.

It was Islamic cultural decay that allowed the Muslim world to fall behind... it was revering imitation rather than innovation that made Islamic sciences inferior...

When the 4 founders of the judicial schools and the collectors of the Sunna made their systems they were innovators... taking a situation that they found (sporadic hadeeth with no system) and creating a system... They were not prophets... but they were great men and innovators... It was their innovation that codified Islam...

Innovation is key...

One commentor here says fixing the Israel situation is the West's responsibility. Why is that? The West wants Israel to continue being an enemy... however if the Arabs and Israelis would come together and recognize that they were pitted against each other for the very purpose of causing conflict and to divide the region (as was attempted with Hatay, Lebanon, and alowia to seperate arabs from the coast) how much better would things be
2006-04-17

HUDD FROM CANADA said:
Mr Mirza A. Beg has a very simplistic explanation to the crisis in the Muslim world and tries to explain it through the inhumane shark's eye of the West. The article is beyond pathetic, it's deplorable. How could you ask from the gladiators to exhibit nobility, mercy and understanding of the Roman system? Rather the gladiators rallied under Spartacus and tried to inflict as much distruction to Rome as possible. Today tha Muslim world is slave to the Western system and powers. The West with USA at the head of the gang enslaved the rest of the non-Western world economically, financially, ideologically and militarily. When you are destitute you are a pariah by definition. If I am needy and my rich neighbour would forcibly come into my house to "help" me by bringing me his bacon, his beer and the sexual liberation in the form of a prostitute, although his intention according to Western standards would be commendable, I would through him out and eat grass and drink water from public fountains than adopt his ways. USA wages war in the ME killing hundred of thousands of innocent people and prepairs herself even for a nuclear stike only to diffend a decadent and corrupt society, Israel! Then they say that the Arabs are no friends to America? How could they be the friends of America when USA is backing up their arch-enamy with even possible nuclear strikes? If USA would have been half the friend of peace and democracy as she claims then in 1948 would have immediately enforced the UN imposed borders of Israel and Trans-Jordan. The Palestian struggle today would have been between Palestinians and Jordanians in the West Bank and Palestinians and Egyptians in Ghaza. But the US plan was in conformance with the Zionist plan. Vacate the whole ancient territory of supposed Israel of unwanted Arabs by all means necessary and start from their the freakish dream of an impotent Israel to rule from the Nile(Egypt) to the Euphrates(Iraq). Israel needs viagra, that is US!
2006-04-17

NAJEEB FROM USA said:
Good article. It irks me though that pundits, experts, scholars, etc. keep referring to "Muslim" states and "Muslim" leaders as if they existed!. Nothing these states and their leaders are doing today can be remotely described as "Islamic". Corruption, oppression, double-dealings,... are rampant in EVERY one of those states, and in particular the ARAB states. The "West" does it, and better than anybody, but at least they don't claim they are "Christian" States. In fact, if they were indeed Christian the world would be today a very different and a much better place to live in. True Muslims always have to decide whether their actions are for the sake of Allah (SWT) or only for their own sakes (their thrones, their privileges,...). The answer today is obvious. In fact, some Arab states, thru their despotic leaders, have gone on record and clearly stated time and time again that "they would deal with the devil if they had to to protect their own security"! How Islamic!

And Allah (SWT) knows best.
2006-04-16

AARON FROM USA said:
Finally someone has spoken out. Praise be to Allah. How can we defend Islam as the religion of peace, when Islamic governments are preaching hate ideas. The only way Islam is going to spread is through its good tenets. There needs to be reform. I commend your article.
2006-04-16

PAAGLE FROM USA said:
I am happy to see this article, not because I want to use it to bash Muslims but because I think the ability to engage in open self-crticism is important in any constructive dialoge with others.

I think a slight re-working of one of the authors points as valid as the original:

"Unfortunately it is true that some in the Islamic media with an anti-western agenda would take the western condemnation of other westerners for their own purposes. This should not deter us, because bias against the west (and unbelievers in general) has been going on for a long time and we have no control on what others do. We need to make sure we do what justice demands. "

I think in the last few hundred years the west has engaged in self-criticism far more openly and honestly than the Islamic world has, and that we are better off for it (in the sense of relative to where we would otherwise be, rather than relative to any other people). One of the biggest illnesses in modern America is the rise of radical conservatism and the attendent hostility to self-criticism.

If muslims start to promote peace, mercy and compassion, rather than apologizing for extremism, more openly, often and consistently I might even start believing Islam stands for those things. Right now as far as I can tell my response to the statement "Do we practice Islam as a religion of morality without exception as it ought to be, or simply as an extension of local tribalism into a super tribe?" is that Islam, with its sharp distinctions between itself and non-believers, and the second-class (at best) role prescribed for non-believers, is designed to create a "super tribe."

I'd love it if you proved me wrong! This is one of the few muslim articles I've read (and I surf Islamic sites regularly) that gives me hope that there is a basis for communication between non-believers like myself (who are inclined to peace but also personal freedom) and the muslim world at large.
2006-04-16

AHMED said:
i agree with the author
2006-04-16

KAMATH FROM USA said:
I applaud your courage for writing these self- critical views. Now I am waiting to see how many Muslim readers( in this on-line paper) agree with you....!!!!!
2006-04-15

DOIN PHINE said:
I congratulate Iviews for putting this article on their site!
2006-04-15