It has been over a week since Taliban militants abducted 23 South Korean Christians in insurgency-prone Ghazni province. The church group was on its way allegedly to provide free medical services to poor Afghan citizens when their bus was hijacked last Thursday. The leader of the aid group and another member of the group have been killed. The kidnapping is the largest abduction of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
By their acts of violence the Taliban and other extremists capture headlines and leave to the rest of the world an impression of Islam that is of a band of primitive tribesman or a religion unable to hold its zealots in check, cruel and barbaric. Like Christianity, Judaism, and other religions, Islam is what its adherents understand it to be. This is largely determined by how its religious leaders interpret the religious texts to mean. Christianity and Judaism over their long history and despite bitter struggles within have evolved their own system of an understanding of faith based on ethical/moral values. These can be easily understood and accepted by lay people and are not entirely dependent on the interpretations of the clerics.
Islam unfortunately remains at the mercy of clerics who interpret each and every aspect of life on this earth - and even the Hereafter! This is a major source of confusion and conflict within Islam as we look at the daily reports on sectarian and other forms of violence in the Muslim world. The Muslim masses remain vulnerable to exploitation by the clerics and their interpretations of the texts. For the Korean evangelists, they may have a fervent faith but some in their own society also see them as pawns in a competition among churches. The competition feeds fund-raising for missionary expeditions that also serves the coffers of the sponsoring church.
These are the new moneychangers on the temple steps.
In ancient times, Jesus chased them away as they were not holy. Certainly the photo opportunity before the warning signs about Afghanistan in the Seoul airport foments media-grabbing sensationalism while foretelling a folly.
The ultra conservative Taliban are prevalent along the region traveled by the evangelists. Their understanding of Islam and also of the world we live in is at best primitive if not barbaric. What did the evangelists surmise as the logical possibilities?
Could they not see they risked their own and others' injury or death? Nonetheless they ventured forward, not respecting the expressed wishes of those they hoped to influence.
In all analysis, cultural appreciation, pragmatism, and consistency in thought and deed of expressed faith, the South Koreans' zealous behavior was catalytic to a crisis where no more is needed.
They risk not only their lives but innocents surrounding the crisis situation and those who they came to save into their faith. The Taliban's response was consistent with their past record of intolerance. Their destruction of the historic Buddhas of Bamiyan a few years back is but only one of several examples of their medieval mindset and behavior. They reacted predictably to a group of religious fanatics with their own fanaticism. The Taliban do not understand that death and capture are not the best means of confronting a challenge to one's faith.
The strength of one's faith and the common sense to see something for what it is should be the basis for challenge.
Physical confrontation is not necessary. The Holy Qur'an says, "If anyone killed a person, unless it was for murder or spreading mischief on earth, it would be as if he killed all of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he had saved the lives of all mankind." (5:32). Killing is unacceptable. Islam emphasizes tolerance, inviting others to lead peaceful lives within the societies based on their own law and tenets. Within Islam, hostage taking, suicide, or terrorist attacks are not permitted. They are considered a great sin. To take innocent persons hostage by availing of some opportunity and then bargaining with their lives is entirely against Islamic teaching.
This practice was prevalent in ancient times but unfortunately it has currently assumed a tactical form. This is a great sin and cowardice and is entirely forbidden in Islam. Muslims have been forbidden to attack innocent civilians; they have not even been permitted to kill an unarmed soldier in wartime. The mores of Islam are to treat visitors with respect and grace. Violence is not how one deals with difference.
The teachings of the Qur'an are interpreted at times differently among Muslims but there is common respect for the guest from other lands. In any group, our brothers and sisters define who we are.
We must take responsibility to not tolerate aberrant conduct should it become the collective reputation of the group.
Christianity needs to bring realism to evangelism that has devolved to competition in fund-raising and mitigates common sense.
Muslims need to set the expectation that visitors of different faiths are tolerated and even in the face of evangelism or any other religious challenge Islam can hold its own with its inner strength rather than by its followers to react in anger and violence. Too much of the world is now poised for conflict.
In the media, specific acts of violence capture attention and polarize.
In place of dealing with the real challenges before all human kind such as epidemic disease, sustaining the environment, realizing welfare and education for all, and conflict resolution based on justice from the home to nation-states, we engage in wars without purpose or end. How much of energy in celebrating Him is diluted to the distraction of these episodes? Where would God prefer us to spend our lives? The Taliban must release the hostages immediately and provide the ill ones necessary medical care. The Koreans must not get carried away in their missionary zeal to put not only themselves in harm's way but put others at risk.
The majority of Muslims believe in an Islam that is in accord with the civilized, humanitarian and tolerant values and norms of this world. Their voices need to be heard. It is not just the Koreans who are being held hostage; it is also the spirit of Islam that is being held hostage. Let's not be silent anymore.
Dr. Nazir Khaja is chairman of the Los Angeles-based Islamic Information Service. He can be reached at [email protected]
There in Kabul, the people, the public or the expatriates, muslim or non-muslim... they all rally behind the Taliban and are putting pressure on the government.
As a matter or fact, those koreans are not UN workers.. they are big time missionaries from the biggest church in Korea. They have been deported before, but stubborn as they are, they are coming back again (stealthily and ilegally) that even the korean embassy is unaware of their entry into the country. And they are bringing thousands of bible readily translated into urdu, persian dan pashton language with them....They only have themselves to be blamed for their stupidity!!!
So please do not view the Emirate Islamic of Afghanistan thorough American invaders points of views but search for the real facts, as in their own words i quote: "we are not terrorists nor do we want to interfere on others countries interests. We want to protect our sovereignty and are not threatening anyone's legal rights. Our home land is under invasion and we have every right to fight for our liberty. We want to maintain good ties with regional states and are ready to corporate with them in building a mutual respect."
Ramadan Karim, Wassalam.
Let not the believers Take for Awliyaa (friends, protectors, etc.) the Kaafireen rather than believers; whosoever does that, in nothing will there be help from Allah. (Aal-'Imraan: 28)
The Mujaahideen are not simply Muslims like today who sit back from Jihad. The Mujaahideen are a grade above us and Allah prefers them over us and everyone else that sits back from fighting for His Noble cause. So it is strange for these critics to condemn them when you don't know them personally nor do you study their understanding of certain aspects of this Deen. It is like a Sociology Professor condemning a doctor for using certain tools for a surgery; the doctor knows best on what tools to use whereas the Sociology Professor only makes himself look like a fool in front of everyone.
Allah SWT says: "O You who believe! If a Faasiq (open sinner) comes to you with news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done."
I hope these people who critize the Taliban will find time read the following articles regarding the issue. Please do not fool yourself into believing any source which is remotely Muslim. It has to be acceptable according to the standards of Shari'ah and not the Faasiq people (what to say about a disbeliever (CNN/FOX NEWS/ etc))
Allah Knows Best!
Agreed with you.
Only hidayat from Allah a person can be converted.
How about telling that to most of the European sisters, I suggest from now on you must speak only for yourself, I would also suggest that you plan some trips to what you call 'our own country" because what you just did, is without any shame display your ignorance about other countries and the daily life of regular Muslims living in 'our country'.
You definitely need to learn to speak for YOURSELF ONLY, when you are not one hundred percent certain of what comes out from your head, unless you enjoy amassing sins. Don't include me or my country or other people's countries in your nonsense.
Do you also realize that you nonsense has nothing to do with the article debated here?
Truthfully, some people sound more intelligent when they are quite. May Allah guide us all.
Your post proves my point. DENIAL only; no Debate.
No soul-searching; no self-criticism. It is not our Fault attitude.
Are Taliban holding 'hostages'? Well, it is Taliban who are negotiating with the Koreans. If they were not holding them, then why would they be negotiating.
Your post shows little or no knowleddge of the situation.
I am against anyone who holds anyone hostages..just for a second realize we can practice being Muslims in western country better than in our own country, even if they dont like us but what do we do..just what a typical Muslim would do..hold hostages. I hope that we have some sense to say what is wrong is wrong.
I would like to say that violence is wrong no matter who is doing it. Next, if I know that people are being kidnapped and killed in a war torn country, and my government is plainly telling me not to go, why would I go there to begin with? The Koreans went over there offering the poor Muslim women and men food to sell their deen. I would like to know how they got to go over there to begin with. I do not care how much food and money we as Muslims would like to send or take to our brothers and sisters, bet we couldn't get into Afghanistan, Palestain, or Iraq to give anyone anything.
As far as speaking up and speaking out, CAIR has been doing this for quite some time now. Everytime a representative from CAIR is on CNN or some other bought out news media, the first thing these people say is, why aren't you speaking out about terrorism? Everytime the representative states, look at the websit, we do!
Why should we keep on and on apologizing for this stuff, and we still get no where? How much apologizing do you want us to do?
How about an apology to the people of Iraq who are refugees now, and are starving to death? Or do we Muslims not count?
Wonder what the Christians would say if we went to their churches and tried to convert their people? Yes, I wonder.
Salam Alaikum to all the BELIEVING people.
salam alaikom brother John,
we don't convert anybody to Islam, we just warn people with what Allah the Almighty sent to them. they have free choice to do as they want if they stop oppressing us under the name of Free Doom, demo_crazy or evil lotion.
don't confuse yourself my brother? it is Allah who guides to Him whom He likes. we do not sell to people religion, we do not fabricate god for the poor to get slaved to the rich, we just tell the truth as it is but they hate us for that. they terrorize us everyday, everywhere just for trying to help them get out from satanic missguidance, later they jump to point the finger on us with what they practice.
my brother! Allah is Alrani: which mean He is independant on ANYTHING He created :: if we all leave Islam, we all will enter the hell and Allah will not be harmed by that. He is not an object or human that needs share our environment to survive! we belong to Him and it is up to Him to do as He likes with us. but He told us in His message that He will be only JUST with us and there is no doubt: The Almighty(Allah) speaks just the Truth.
we always thank Him for leading us to be moslems and we feel sorry for those who can not see the truth as long as we see they deserve our pity. we also know well that Allah did not oppress them. satan called them and their souls answered his call. they think this life is forever and they live blind spreading blindness...
remember my brother? this cross worshippers(who name themselves christians) should never make you lose your direction. we are just warning them but, the number of people who wake up thru our warning, hurt them and they take it like war between us and them!!!
it is a war inside them and they force it upon us to free themselves from their responsability of wrong use of free choice.
May Allah be with us and forgive us for any mistake we do in warning them. Ameeen
You have yet to prove that a)the Taliban is in fact holding the Koreans and B)That any of the major acts of terrorism that have taken place within the past 100 years or so have actually been initiated by other than evil people in government with sinister political agendas. I also find it very suspicious that no media has been allowed to get the real story in Afghanistan and the supposed "Taliban" spokespeople have given their full names and information to the Afghan government to be later given as the only "information" to the press. Why would "terrorist" hostage holders walk into a government meeting with no worries and give their full names to their enemy in the middle of a hostage negotiation? That doesn't even happen in the movies!There is an interesting film called "ZEITGEIST" that may be viewed online that may shed some light on the things I'm speaking of. In the mean time, please try to read more, listen more to logic than to BBC and CNN, and also try to get over the now natural tendency that most people have to assume that every evil in the world can be attributed to Muslims. We have suffered, been murdered, been marginalised, dictated to and stolen from and the defenses we have waged against this onslaught have been almost non-existent to say the least. The atrocities committed by other groups have been for the most part completely overlooked in this century and you have the nerve to call people living in an occupied country where thousands of innocent women, children, old people and even trees are utterly destroyed daily by American and British fighter jets terrorists!?!?!?! Is this what we are promised when we disagree with the Western agenda whether it fits us or not? The issue here is not barbaric acts on the parts of Muslims. The issue is when will the barbaric acts against Muslims end? By the way....does the "Hindu" newspaper ever talk about that nasty little caste system they have in India? Muslims don't have that.
But these Christian missionaries from Korea took advantage of the situation . They tried to convert these poor and weak children to their faith. They are not there for humanitarian reasons but with other motive ie Spread Christianity . Please see www.liveleak.com
Any Muslim parents will get upset if these Christian Missionaries try to corrupt their children mind. They had themselves to be blamed for the current situation.
These Christian Missionaries are COWARD.
They prey on the WEAK and POOR.
Sad to say Christians spread by money.
I challenge these missionaries to spread their faith to the normal Muslims with faith .
Insyaallah (God willing) we will see who convert who.
In reply to the author and George USA.
Yvonne Ridley was captured by the Taliban before the invading forces (USA & Britain) invaded Afghanistan . Ask her how she was treated.
You can also check her website.
Another example where free speech and debate is supposedly encouraged only to be muzzled by critical analysis and comments.
Who is Dr.Nazir Khaja ? With all the due respect to him, what gives him the credibility to speak for the whole muslim ummah ? Jus' because he happens to be chairman of an organization, which probably commenced by him, can't say everything he desires.
Quran is like a mirror. It reflects what you desires. If you have presconceived opinions or less sincerity in seeking truth Quran will jus reflect that. And at guides people who desires to be guided.
Cleric in Islam is anything like priests in the earlier religions. Clerics of Islam can say what is Halaal and what is Haraam, but they can't make Haraam as Halaal and Halaal as Haraam. What's the difference ?
In Islam, issues of Halaal and Haraam are very basic and we don't need any scholars to educate us. It is detailed , clear and without any doubt in Quran. Only the issues which is not pre requiste for once completion of faith are referred back to ''clerics'' for superior understanding.
Either this particular author doesn't have the knowledge of this distinction or he conveniently ignores it and summs up the clerics of islams and priests of earlier religions in single statement, there by giving renaissance of Christian europe un necessary importance.
He also wants muslim ummah to follow the western example instead of immitating prophet(pbuh) for salvation of their souls.
With leaders of this kind, muslim ummah's job of reviving islamic spirit has only gotten even harder.
IN THIS ARTICLE THERE IS A TYPING ERROR THAT WAS SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH FOR ME TO COMMENT ON. IT SAYS,
"Physical confrontation is not necessary. The Holy Qur'an says, "If anyone killed a person, unless it was for murder or spreading mischief on earth, it would be as if he killed all of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he had saved the lives of all mankind." (5:32).
YOU MISSED A VERY IMPORTANT PART IN TYPING THE TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE AND IT CHANGED THE MEANING. YOU FORGOT TO WRITE "unless if it is for a punishment of murder or mischief...." THE WAY YOU WROTE IT IN THE ARTICLE MADE IT SOUND LIKE IT IS OK TO KILL FOR THE PURPOSE OF MURDER OR MISCHIEF. JAZAKUM ALLAHU KHAIRAN FOR YOUR EFFORTS. ALLAH KNOWS WHAT YOU INTENDED I JUST WANTED TO BRING IT TO YOUR ATTENTION.
Secondly Islam and Muslims have demonstrated coexistence with people of other faith with out doubt. For example there are churches through the Middle East. Even in Saudi Arabia the eastern port of Dhahran has a church for the Americans and Europeans.
Third point, missionaries were not the guest or visitors to receive hospitality from Afghans, the Korean army has invaded their country, killed thousands of innocent people along with the other invaders. Hence there is bound to be anger, the captors are right in demanding to remove the Korean troops out of Afghanistan.
Finally, in the Holy Quran, Allah again and again reminds us "this is a Quran which makes things clear", "and We have made the Quran easy to understand" etc. Hence the Quran is for every individual to read and understand and is not dependant on clergies to interpret. Furthermore the implementation of each verse has been shown by the prophet (S.A.W.) thereby eliminating any chance of misinterpretation by different individuals understanding. However the problem in today's world is not only the clergy but the common Muslim. Today we Muslims neglect to read and ponder over the Quran and hadis and are so dependent on the clergy, we only talk about what this clergy has to say and that clergy has to say without actually referring to what the Quran or sunna has to say by directly reading them. With no disrespect to the clergies, we Muslims must go back to reading the Quran and the Hadis, only then will it make sense to consult a credible clergy as the chance of error if not completely still to a vast extent be eliminated. As the extremist are dangerous so are the hypocrites.
It seems the author here Mr. Khaja is embarrassed to be a Muslim, almost to the point of apology as if he has committed the very crimes he seeks to condemn.
If that is the case, then he can distance himself from the acts of the Taliban but DON'T blame Islam for "providing the understanding for the rest of the Muslims." He states "Islam or other religion is only as much as their followers understand them to be."
How shallow of a statement! If a Muslim murderer understands his faith to be one of killing people and eventually being forgiven because Allah will accept heaven of believers in the end, is mistaken. If Allah says in the Holy Qur'an you cannot kill and cannot take usury, and a MINO (Muslim in name Only) understands Islam as allowing killing and take usury, then obviously that MINO contradicts his own faith.
But not so for the "defensive" apologist Nazir Khaja, who believes all the Muslims are responsible for the egregious acts of their fellow nutty coreligionists. Yes if you feel your coreligionists are wrong, then spread you're version of "right Islam" through dawa. But don't force me to apologize for criminal acts of a fellow American (through nationlity), by father (through blood), my coreligionist (through faith). For each his own. And that's the type of collective guilt and punishment practiced by the Israelis against Palestinians.
I've also heard the argument, "but one bad apple destroys them all." Not true, that's a illogical fallacy of generalization. It does precisely what Mr. Khaja would be the first NOT TO DO: assume all Jews or Christians are this or that according to other extremists.
Besides if he understands Islam as much, he'd know what Allah says in the Qur'an: "NO ONE is responsible for the sins or deeds of another."
You write " I agree 100% with your statement! Let's begin an internet campaign amongst Muslims, denouncing any terrorist act in the name of Islam."
Mr Ali: That is not enough. First you (and the muslim community) is to do the honest self-analysis. Get away from DENIAL. There is no sign of a debate in the community beyond easy platitudes, and it remains in denial. The attitude is very simple "Don't blame us".
Here is a good and honest article written by a muslim discussing the issues. Condeming is easy and are mere empty words and have no effect.
More Muslims need to realise that Islamist terrorists are not simply "misguided" individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam.
let's be not silent anymore?
why this missionaries are sent immediatly to bargain "FOOD FOR CHRISTIANITY" after attacking the freedom of any moslem country? the Korean gov said clear that those koreans did not go under the Korean Government umbrella. they went under the umbrella of the missionaries who bargain with the poor "FOOD FOR CHRISTIANITY...
Your second statement "This is a major source of confusion and conflict within Islam" I am sure now you will realize that this adequately applies to you as well, probably more so, since you are using a pen, for this has more impact than a knife or a bullet. But rest assured you and the whole world, Islam is safe from any kind of distortion including the one coming from you...brother. I could go on and on, and dissect every statement you wrote on this politically bias and so profoundly apologetic article, but I need to refrain from wasting my time and others, because sister Manar summed it up for the rest of us, May Allah bless you sister.
What else can you write living in the luxuries of the West?
Why dont they leave Afghans alone? barbaric, primitive they may be.
Has the World no shame devastating,genocide-ing a poor country? Syed
This is as if the Klu Klux Klan represented Christianity.
I hope more Muslims will speak out against all terrorists who use religion as a means of terror and destruction.
with your statement! Let's begin an internet
campaign amongst Muslims, denouncing any terrorist act in the name of Islam. Starting with
this unfortunate occurance.
I am tired of seeing Islam abused and misused by
I can be reached at www.charlestonmuslims.com
- Alan Is'mail Ali - President
Central Mosque of Charleston
1082 King St.
Church group coming all the way from Korea to provide medical services in Afghanistan!! Incredible. I thought it were the medical personnel who provide medical services.
The group was going to be in Afghanistan for only 2 weeks including their travel time. Just imagine. In a war torn and lawless country like Afghanistan, with bad communications, what can one achieve in 2 weeks time? Nothing in my opinion.
I ask a very simple question. Why did they go there? If they were on a mission for Jesus, then let them ask Jesus to pull them out of their troubles. I must admit, though born a Hindu, that I am a hard-line athiest.