SUDAN WATCH: Islam is a religion of peace and mercy?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Islam is a religion of peace and mercy?

Not in Sudan it isn't. Nowadays, my feelings are it's about time muslims did something about portraying Islam as a religion of peace and mercy. Wherever we turn or look, there are muslims wreaking havoc, death and destruction around the world in the name of their religion. I know nothing of Islam except wherever one sees horrendous atrocities committed around the world - in most cases it seems like the muslims are in amongst it all, saying they are doing it in the name of their religion. Well, that's my impression anyway. Millions of others may be getting the same impression.

Muslims, are getting a reputation for being scary, fanatical and violent. Peaceful Muslims need to start speaking up about their comrades who are not peaceful. When you see muslims interviewed, no matter whether they are peaceful or note, they all come across as being emphatic that they do no wrong and make excuses for themselves in the name of their religion.

Yesterday, one of the politicians in charge of education in England called on faith schools to become more generalised so that pupils grow up and fit in well with British society. The TV news showed muslim schools and their teachers and pupils in Britain. There was not one white face. They live in England but it appears they are going out of their way to segregate themselves and not integrate with the multi cultural British life. Recently, the French government tried to ban muslims from wearing their headresses at schools in France. I do not like segregation. Apartheid. It is not healthy. And leads to narrow views and blinkered thinking. This is Europe, not Iraq or Sudan. There's an old saying, do in Rome as the Romans do ...

Note, in Makkha's tent city (see below) one 26-year old pilgrim outside his tent was quoted as saying:
"It's awe-inspiring. It is an experience that every Muslim has to live through," he said, adding that he was fed up with Al-Qaeda and the advocates of militancy. "Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists say they act in the name of Islam, but our religion preaches the opposite of what they practice," he said, adding that Islam was "a religion of peace and mercy."
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Pilgrims stream into Tent City Makkha, the soul of Islam

The tent city of Mina where pilgrims assemble at the start of Haj. (EPA)

An Arab news report 18 January 2005 says that the white tents in Makkha, stretching in all directions, symbolise the peace and purity of essential Islam. Here are some snippets from the report:

There is no violence or terrorism; the emphasis is on peace, love and tranquility. After dawn tomorrow, the pilgrims will return to Mina on Thursday after spending the night in Muzdalifa, to stone the Jamrat - pillars representing the devil. Once back in Mina, they will sacrifice animals. Over a million sheeps have been imported, most of them from Sudan and Uruguay, to meet the pilgrims' demands. The Ministry of Health is also on full alert, eager to serve the guests of God. All health centers and hospitals in Makkah, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa were well-equipped and ready to provide health care to pilgrims. The director said, "We have huge stockpiles of medicines to combat any outbreak of disease. There are so far no reports of contagious diseases among the pilgrims."

The Saudi authorities have mobilised more than 50,000 security personnel to ensure a peaceful Haj, free of any incident. More than 12,000 food outlets have been set up to feed the faithful. Bakeries are equipped to make 10 million loaves of bread each day.

The five-day Haj rituals begin today. Police reinforcements have been posted at the entrances to Makkah and on roads leading to the Holy Sites. Over 14,200 buses will be used to transport pilgrims within the area. More than 10,000 officers have been assigned to deal with security matters. All the arrangements and preparations by Saudi authorities are to make Haj comfortable and safe for pilgrims.
Note, you have to wonder how all those sheep arrived from Sudan, and why have the Saudis not organised large scale relief for Africans suffering in Sudan. Is it because the Africans are suffering under an Islamic Arab government and the Arabs stick together, no matter what?
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Tell Me, Islam: What Is Peace?

Here is an excerpt from an opinion piece "Tell Me, Islam: What Is Peace?" by Pete Fisher, a political columnist in Chicago, Jan 17, 2005:
I have heard on and on about how Islam is peaceful. Some of our politicians as well as pretty much all Muslims make this claim. I have looked, I have read the Quran, Hadiths, I have tried to find the peace that I am told is within the Islamic writings. And yes, there are some. But I see the more violent aspect of the religion within those writings and in the actions of those who are using them to commit atrocity.
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India proposes to form a sophisticated Asian oil market

UPI report Jan 17: India steps up efforts to secure oil and has embarked on a mad rush to secure its sources of oil as fast as it can. On Jan 6, India's Petroleum Minister invited oil pashas from nine countries to New Delhi in order to discuss an idea that could create history in the global energy arena. In a round table with oil ministers of Oman, Iran, Qatar, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, he proposed an initiative to form a sophisticated Asian market for oil and petroleum products. Full Story.


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