12 July, 2006

Blog Comments

Always, when on the Internet, I spend a large part of my time reading blogs; I like and enjoy the various information and perspectives on blogs; some of which are quite enlightening. There are some blogs that I read regularly, one of which is - Cathy Young's The Y Files. It is one of the finest blogs that I usually visit and her subjects are always: well researched, thought provoking and objective.

A few days ago, I was reading her post - JihadWatch.com and anti-Muslim bigotry. As always, whenever she writes on Islam, several comments are made; some of which are very hateful and aggressive of Islam; I always avoid arguments, but at times I try to make a point. After reading the first few comments, I decided to give some comments; just to clarify some points. Below, are my comments:

"Omar Barsawad said...

To John Sobieski, I am a 'bad Muslim'! I am sorry John - my life is so whole and peaceful! I believe - people like you have their own agenda in the growth of hatred between us Muslims and you! Xenophobia comes in many forms!

Islam is growing fast not because we are violent and destructive; to the contrary!

And it is not us who are destroying Sobieski's and Spencers's worlds - but their own way of life! Crime, divorce, violence against women, drugs, the large disparity between the rich and poor, mis-use of resources, materialism etc! These are what are destroying their worlds! But they want scapegoats!"

"Omar Barsawad said...

Irishei: I didn't mean converting to Islam would cure you of 'all these ills.' But some of you want scapegoats for all the ills that you have; ills, that continue to pile up inspite of all the wealth and 'progress' that you have!

I live in one of the most impoverished regions of the world; and yet, Hadhramout is one of the most peaceful of places that one can find! Crime and ills of any kind: robberies, murders, rapes, violence against women, drug usage, prostitution, brawls, traffic accidents etc. are almost non-existent! Not because of forcefully being enforced by the police, but only for one reason: Islam! With all the poverty, rarely too - would one encounter as many beggars as one would have expected; and no one goes hungry! And: HIV/AIDS and all other forms of STDs, are extremely rare!

The kind of peace and co-existence I feel and see here, daily, I have not seen in any part of the world that I have visited or lived in, so far!

I mention all these not so as to try to convert others so as to cure their ills, but just to point out that - the violence and negative nature attributed to Muslims by others, the Western world in particular, is incorrect!

All I know: in life - there are good, noble people and bad, evil people; and no major religion condones or accepts badness or evilness!

I am,too, surprised at many who mention - jihad, jizya, sharia and so many other Muslim terms without actually understanding what they really mean! It is always best to understand, properly, a people, culture or belief before one can fairly understand and judge those people!

I understand the Western world and can easily understand their views and perspectives in most things, because I read and write their languages more than I do Arabic; and I have spent most of my life in their parts of the world. And I have no quarrel with them, nor hatred towards them.

I do ask too, for those in the Western world who want to judge us, to first understand - our views, perspectives and culture. Properly. Come to our part of the world and spend some times here as we do with yours; read extensively and intensively about us; learn our languages. Can any of you write Arabic as well as I am writing English here? How many of you can speak my language as well as I can speak yours? Have any of you read great books from my part of the world as I have read yours?

How many in your part of the world do really understand Islam's history? How many do really understand Islam?"

The kind of responses I received, which I suspect are from the same source but pretending to be different people - are not conciliatory at all! Even with such responses, I know that many in the West, including America, are only and mostly concerned about their personal lives, their families and immediate needs; Islamophobia and such, are far from their minds. Their concerns are similar to mine. But a few, prefer to inflame and widen the gap, even more - between us Muslims and them.

They pick on Islamic terms or history, which they have very little knowledge of, and try to interpret them and present them, to suit their own purposes and agenda: hatred, confrontation and xenophobia. And yet I know, should I want to, too - I can pick up parts of (history or scriptures) of any of the two other great religions of the world - Judaism or Christianity - and make them look ugly or violent or evil. To quote Cathy: "Clearly the Koran can be (and is) interpreted and cherry-picked for conflicting and contradictory messages. Let's not forget that the Bible is full of violent passages that encourage conquest."

May I repeat again: why don't those who misunderstand Islam, try to understand us by learning and studying Islam objectively? Why not learn Arabic and try to understand Islam through its original form? For those who say that it is possible to understand Islam, through interpretations made in English or some other Western language, I know that is not truly possible. Just as it is completely different reading Shakespeare's, 'Anthony and Cleopatra' or Shaw's, 'The Devil's Disciple' - in Arabic. One just doesn't get the same meaning as it is in the original English! If we can study and explore the Western world and understand them, they too, should take interest in us and others - and try to understand our way of thinking and way of life.