الخميس، 11 يناير، 2007

Our Culture of Hatred!

I remember during my teen years in the eighties of the last century, I started to go for prayer at the local mosque close to my family's apartment, at Al-Haram area of Giza. I became disturbed and eventually reluctant to go for prayer after one day, the speach prior to the prayer included criticizing Christian priests for their vow of celibacy!! The Imam went even further and started criticizing Christianity in general and how the original bible was forged.

I didn't have the courage to stop him and ask him to focus on our religion instead of criticizing others! I also didn't know what will the reaction of the other faithful attendants be if I did try to stop him! I imagined myself a thousand times stepping up, and going to this bigot, and telling him to mind his own religion! But that of course never happened.

What hurt me the most was knowing that these speeches could be overheard through loudspeakers in adjacent buildings where there are Christian residents. I imagined how bad that would have felt for them!!! Anyway, I stopped going to that mosque, but discovered that on many occasions, the message of intolerance was still the same, and they didn't even have the decency to hide it by lowering the voice of the loudspeakers.

I was later amazed when the same people who are criticizing other religions day and night, demanded an apology from the Coptic Pope after the circulation of a CD containing a play criticizing Islam performed behind closed doors in a church in Alexandria! A mob surrounded the church, one man stabbed and killed an elderly Christian worshiper, of course the authorities pronounced the man as "mentally ill"!

It is again the same culture that burned the consulates during the famous Danish cartoon protests in Syria, and killed a old nun in Lebanon in protest of the Pope's remarks accusing Islam of violence! These ignorants didn't know that what they really did was to proove his point!

In the same spirit, recently, the Egyptian Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling giving back the right to Egyptian Bahai's to register their religion in their official identification papers. For those of you who don't know what that means, Egyptian citizens are required to register their religion in their Id cards, and birth certificates to name the most important few. Without these papers, they can't get education, health insurance, jobs, bank accounts, and even driving licenses! Basically, they seize to exist! Their situation could now be loosely compared to a US citizen without a social security number. The court ruling declared that the Egyptian constitution only recognizes Moslem, Christian, and Jewish religions, and it is not allowed to document any other religion on official papers.

What is even more serious than the court rulling is the reaction or regular Egyptians which can be seen in many blogs; One blogger went even further and added several entries with titles like "Against Bahai's", and then went further to demand the activation of an Islamic Shariya law calling for the execution of any Moslem who converts to another religion.

Once again, yesterday, I read about a Moslem thinker –Mohamed Emara- who was considered a moderate by some, and who published a book in which he quotes a phrase from an old source saying that Christians are infidels and their blood and woman are fair game. the writer defended himself by saying that he copied that section that older source without realizing their contents, and that this message is already there in publications of books from the same source written 1000 years ago. What is even unacceptable is the fact that the book was published by the ministry of Religious Endowments, and that it was subsided for sale at LE 1 (about US$ 0.15)!!!

The US killed 1-2.5 millions in Vietnam; yet, I haven't seen any citizen of Vietnam flying an airliner into the towers in the US in revenge!

Japan killed 12 million Chinese during its occupation of that country, yet, I haven't seen any Chinese flying a plane into the towers of Tokyo!

However, Vietnamese and Chinese are not indoctrinated day and night by Imams, and media telling them that the others are out to get them and their religion, and that these others are infidels who should be fought.

What we need to do:

I think that there are two things to be done, the first is the come up with a legislation against incitement, and to consider that preaching some of the twisted interpretations of Koran like the works of Ibn Taymiya and Ibn El Qayem will not be tolerated if they encourage murder and violence.

The current national security law and apparatus can be a good tool for enacting monitoring and implementation.

Second, we need a committee headed by enlightened people such Dr. Abdel Moneim El-Saied of the Ahram Center of Strategis Studies and Dr. Refaat El-Saied the famous leftist politician, and including Copts and Women, to embark on a long project to look at what our kids are taught at school, and purge all items that could be considered bigoted interpretations. It is very important that no foreign bodies are involved (or perceived to be) in this committee for its findings to be accepted.

This is the only way we can preserve our public peace and coexistence internally and vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

PS. After writting this entry, I came accross that article written by Nonie Darwish in the Daily Telegraph which resembles very much the ideas I am exposing here. This means that there are many people who think along the same lines. We need to form a front to fight intolerance in Egypt and the Middle-East, but that is probably the subject of a future blog.

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حفصوتشا ام مصطفيتش يقول...

what shall we say ?!!?? again its the wahabyah dogma that invaded the pure and simple rules of human living wihtout any consideration to others, peopel like taymeha and qaym r just ruining what ever values the society used to have followed by idn baz and other halucinators. someone like mohammed emmara i wouldnt take him creadible for anything, up til 20 years or so he was a communist and all of a suddent he gets the message to convert and then be one of the most important speakers of islam!!! truly wierd!!
i dont think that it was muslims who did the 11/9, its way beyond our abilites otherwise we could have done somehting long time ago, and lets say that it was done by arabs, i would assume that they were only puppets in the hands of bin laden whos another puppet in the hands of the states itself.
as of the demonstartions ( violent or non violent), it seems that they became the trend in the last few years, u want to prove that u r a good muslim, u go to a mozahara, u want to think that u a do good person, keep forwarding messages and threaten people that if they dont they will be burnt alive and it makes me wonder, what if we didn't have any of those stuff, we wont be able to go to heaven then?? wow , how crual of GOD.
u know, in frnace, actually in paris alone, there r more than 800 mosques alone. but stupidly enough, when frnace two years ago wanted to pass a law prohibiting any relegious attires, all muslims were so patriotic about defending hijab, although it was meant for all people, not only muslims. but this is what i like to call in arabicنظرية الاحتقان
i see it fits the whole situation perfectly coz when someone is retaining alot of water in thier body, they will get afraid as soon as u wave a pin in front of them. sounds funny , but sad enough, it is true.
in an arabic gulf state where i used to live, non muslims r not allowed to eat or drink during ramadan coz muslims r fasting and this will hust thier feelings, but where i used to work i used to let my colleagues do whatever they think of, one day a muslim colleague came and she was so furious of me letting them eat, i told her, if u r some place in europe or non islamic country, do u think they will care or notice that u r fasting, or that they should know about it?? to which till now she hasnt figuired its answer or the point behind it.
:)
sorry for the loooong comment but u do raise alot of points.

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Hafsotcha, again, besides being my greatest fan, you share my same thoughts. I think as a community we have a problem in the tolerance department. Even in sports, you see hooliganism on a scale not seen outside. However, I strongly disagree with you regarding the perpetrators of 9/11 since I have seen a TV show on Aljazeera, where Khalid Shaykh Mohamed described the details of their planning of their crime, he even revealed that they got the idea while listening to the news about the EgyptAir crash in 1999, and the theories about the pilot driving the plan down deliberatly.

Anyway, these types of problems are implanted in our culture, and most of our problems are derived from them, and not from the corrupt government in my view. thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

حفصوتشا ام مصطفيتش يقول...

well, ramzi bin shebah or laden, saw it on tv or inspired by crash, for me it is all an american made saga we r meant to blieve, those people arnt working on thier own.
no matter what r they or what is thier plan , they r made in the u.s.a.
salam

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Thanks Hafsa, only time will tell whether your theory is right or wrong. thanks for your comment anyway. Cheers,

howie يقول...

Self-criticism is a step towards truth and freedom. How tragic that I write these words and just to the right of the dialouge box I see "Rally to Free Kareem".

For an American...it is "easy" to talk about how people need to self-critic, debate, explore, criticize...but in much of the Arab world, people who write articles like this one and end up like Kareem or worse. What were the authors own words about being afraid to speak his opinion in the mosque?

I admire you and the sites I am finding like this one.

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Howie, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I am sure that all of us humans share the same universal set of values. In a perfect world, the people attending the prayer should have stood up to that Imam, and probably made a difference, but, we have a culture of passiveness.

Blogging is magical in that you get to express your true beliefs and thoughts under the false sense of security and anonimity. The good surprise is that you find that many people share your thoughts!

My analogy of the situation in the Middle-East, is that we are trapped in the dark ages prior to the rennaissance era, where the Mosque has great influence (hence my naming of this blog).

My hope is that with education, people will realize how deceived they are and start thinking out of the box, and create more progressive states with tolreance, freedom, and creativity.

howie يقول...

In'sahallah

howie يقول...

By-the-way...waiting for your next post and maybe some of your ideas on how we can reach out, calm the paranoia and hate and how we can progess towards something better

howie يقول...

"Blogging is magical in that you get to express your true beliefs and thoughts under the false sense of security and anonimity. The good surprise is that you find that many people share your thoughts!"

ARe you kidding? I have become completely addicted...an interactive world filled with people I only dreamed existed.

I have long wanted to speak with Muslim moderates and Leftists or just those that don't toe the company line. I knew "you" existed but never got to me "you".

In most of the Muslim world, people cannot freely speak their minds nor loudly oppose the government line. This only perpetuates the very myths and sterotypes most Muslims want to relieve themselves of.

Anyhow...yes...blogs have become my weakness. And I run a company and do much of my work from the computer and people like you are ruining me.

Be sure you check out:

http://www.mideastyouth.com/?page_id=2

http://www.mideastyouth.com/?page_id=2

http://thethinkingleb.blogspot.com/

And there are SO many more.

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Thanks Howie for the sites, I did look at them very fast, I will spend more time later, one more reason to love blogs, and by the way, I am exactly in your same position; I do put my work aside to parse new blog entries. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, I will continue to add my perspective including commenting possitive and negative news, as well as my views on how to exterminate ignorance and intolerance from our societies. Cheers,

howie يقول...

You are welcome...

and also try:

http://amarji.blogspot.com/

You probably get plenty of this around the U. but:

http://www.sandmonkey.org/


And in case you like jazz and occasional blues...I usually have this or KUSC Classical music in the backgroud:

http://www.jazz24.org/

Commercial free and really nice

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