Monday, June 15, 2009

Loss of voice

In the wake of 9/11, then-President George W. Bush sought to remind (or convince) Americans that Islam was a religion of peace. More recently, President Obama sought to assure Muslims that America is not their enemy. 

Some on the right began to turn on Dubya for such statements, claiming that the White House would lead the United States down the road to becoming a state subordinate to Islam, which is already taking over Europe and has its eyes on North America. Dhimmis, we would be. 

If Islam is a religion of peace, then where, they would ask, are the Muslims who speak out against the terrorism and violence that has come to symbolize Islam to the non-Muslim world?

Certainly there are such voices, even if the Western media doesn't report on them. I'm writing this post because we recently lost one of them, moderate Muslim cleric Sarfraz Naeemi, an outspoken critic of the Taliban and Islamist violence:
A leading Sunni Muslim scholar opposed to the Taliban, Mr Naeemi was known for his outspoken views against suicide bombings and militancy.

He was one of the few scholars who had openly supported the ongoing military operation in Swat and had labelled the activities of the Taliban "un-Islamic".

Mr Naeemi took part in a conference of Islamic scholars, convened by the government in May, which criticised suicide attacks and the beheading of innocent Muslims as un-Islamic.

He also told the media that the Taliban were "misusing" religion for their activities and were bringing a bad name to the Islamic faith.

He reportedly refused to have guards at his madrassa, saying it would restrict the entry of people into a place "where all should come freely".
It may be a Catholic prayer, but requiescat in pace, Sarfraz Naeemi.

[top: Supporters of Sarfraz Naeemi take to the streets in Lahore, Pakistan, to protest against Taliban violence. above: Sarfraz Naeemi's bombed-out madrassah.]

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