Interview: Chandra Muzaffar on Islamic Inclusivism and Muslim Exclusivism
By Yogi Sikand -
Interview follows my comments - Mike Ghouse
Dr. Muzaffar - I firmly believe that the various messengers of God did not intend to create new communities of followers defined by external markers and rituals that had little or nothing to do with the central core of their message. Instead, they were sent by God to reform attitudes, to nourish proper ways of being human.
Mike - The purpose of all faiths is to spiritually connect the humans with the divine, simply meaning understanding existence, accountability, the beginning and the ending. The idea of religion is to bring peace and balance to an individual and what surrounds him or her; life and matter. To be religious is to be a peace maker, one who mitigates conflicts and nurtures goodwill.
Dr. Muzaffar - A third sense in which it is used is to refer to the whole of humankind in general.
Mike – Qur’aan, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."
Dr. Muzaffar - but, rather, as a person who upholds certain values and reflects or possesses certain attributes, a person who believes in the one God, submits to His will and does good, irrespective of his or her community.
Mike – Muslims have got that right, but the focus has been the rituals, just as Neocon Christians are hung up with the words of Jesus “ You come to father through me” . Muslim Neocons have gone literal. Let me add a few more phrases, Krishna says in Bhagvad Gita, “surrender to me” and of course in Qur’aan Allah expects one to “submit to his will”. In essence, they nearly mean the same but the literalist in all traditions are hung with external manifestation rather than what it means.
Dr. Muzaffar - which Muslims generally think is wholly unchangeable, is actually fiqh, the product of the Ijtihaad or the thinking and interpretation of ulema, who were after all, fallible human beings like the rest of us.
Mike - Yogi, in your previous interview of Dr. Muzaffar, he said “"The fixation of many Muslims with fiqh, with the externalities of religion in terms of rituals or with Arabic linguistic terms and culture, completely negates what I regard as Islam’s inherent universality." And in my article, Are Muslims part of the American Story, I wrote, “We must learn to re-examine our attitudes towards others and push the refresh button to understand the essence of Islam. We must do our inner jihad against the temptations to reduce Islam to rituals, we should not only be identified as Muslims by the ritual aspect of our religion, but also be recognized by the spiritual aspect of “being a Muslim”.
Dr. Muzaffar - many Malay Muslims, mid-West Americans or Indian Hindus would not be enthusiastic about opening up to others.
Mike – That is the case with all Neocons (Muslims, Christians, Jews or Hindus) - * Neocons http://hatesermons.blogspot.com/2008/03/neocons.html
Dr. Muzaffar - And so, Indonesian Muslim religious intellectuals are much more open to questioning conservative understandings of religion and to promoting more contextually-relevant responses to a range of contemporary issues.
Mike – Part of it may be because of separation of state and religion. Islam always exhibits its wisdom and universality in democracies and free nations; in religious nations it gets choked.
Yogi, thanks for the interview. It is enlightening.
Interview: Chandra Muzaffar on Islamic Inclusivism and Muslim Exclusivism
By Yogi Sikand
Chandra Muzaffar is Malaysia’s leading public intellectual. Author of numerous
books, mainly on religion, hegemony and resistance, he is the President of the
International Movement for a Just World. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand
he talks about various aspects related to Islam and Islamic assertion in
Q: Could you tell us something about yourself and your academic and activist
background? How did you get interested in Islam?
A: I was born in 1947 in the state of Kedah in northern Malaysia. Both my
parents were Hindus who were originally from Kerala in southern India. My mother
was a third generation Malaysian but my father had been born and brought up in
Since my teens I evinced a strong interest in religion. I kept wondering about
the purpose of life, life after death and so on. And so I began reading about
religion. I started with Hinduism, and then went on to Christianity and then to
the Bahai Faith. I was even actively involved with a Bahai group but I left
after a while. There was more emphasis upon rituals than I had expected. In
1967, I enrolled at the University of Singapore to do a Bachelor’s degree in
Philosophy, Politics and History, eventually specializing in Politics and that
is where I began reading about how Western philosophers looked at the big
existential questions about life.
In the second year at the University, I became very close to a leading Malaysian
intellectual, who was at that time the head of the Department of Malay Studies
at the University of Singapore the late Syed Hussein Alatas, a very well-known
sociologist and author of numerous books on Islam. I began spending a lot of
time with him in his house. He had just then set up an opposition political
party in Malaysia, and so we would spend hours together discussing politics,
national unity, inter-communal relations and social justice in Malaysia. It was
he who inspired me to start reading about Islam. I read numerous works by many
Muslim authors who represented a diverse range of understandings of Islam. I
also read Alatas own works on Islam and was influenced particularly by his
personality, lifestyle and his very universalistic understanding of and approach
After graduating from Singapore I returned to Malaysia, where I registered at
the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang to do a Master’s degree. For my thesis
I worked on Malaysian politics, in the course of which I did fieldwork, which
gave me the opportunity to meet many Malay Muslim leaders from the Islamic party
PAS and to learn more about their understanding of Islam as a political
ideology. By this time, I had strengthened my own conviction in Islam ”not the
ritualistic, dogmatic sort of Islam, but the Islam that stands for universalism,
that stresses fundamental values over forms, that does not recognize mere
rituals and externals as a criterion of one’s religious commitment. And so in
May 1974 I formally embraced, or, as it is said, reverted to, Islam.
Q: You mentioned that one reason for your disenchantment with the Bahai Faith
was its ritualism. Given what some might call the excessive ritualism associated
with the general practice of Islam in Malaysia and elsewhere, it might seem
strange that you were attracted to Islam, is it not?
A: As I just mentioned, I was attracted by the universalism that I discovered in
the Quran, but which Muslim practice very often tends to completely negate by
associating Islam with a particular community and with a set of rituals. This is
quite in contrast to the understanding of Islam that I learnt from Syed Hussein
Alatas. I think one could argue that every religious community has betrayed its
leading figure by turning into a separate group, using rituals to shore up
boundaries to set it apart from other similarly constructed groups. This has
happened with Muslims as well, and has led to the universal message of Islam
being negated in practical terms.
My own understanding of Islam is that it is basically a worldview, a distinct
attitude, a weltanschauung, and not the creed of a narrowly-defined community. I
do not believe that the purpose of Islam is to create a community defined in
this sense. Rather, it is to nourish a certain outlook or way of living that
reflects certain basic values and which should not be seen as being confined to
a certain community. My understanding of Islam is one that is fundamentally
opposed to communal thinking. I mean, how can one consider a person who commits
a heinous crime like murder a Muslim in the true sense of the word ”which
means one who submits his will to God ”simply because he has an Arabic name and
has verbally recited the shahada, the Islamic testimony of faith?
I firmly believe that the various messengers of God did not intend to create new
communities of followers defined by external markers and rituals that had little
or nothing to do with the central core of their message. Instead, they were sent
by God to reform attitudes, to nourish proper ways of being human. Sadly,
however, precisely the opposite happened after their demise in every case.
According to conventional religious thinking, people are judged or viewed not in
terms of the basic values that the prophets stressed, on the basis of how they
relate to others, to Nature, and so on, but in terms of an elaborate set of
rituals and external markers. This is really tragic.
Q: You seem to argue, if I get you correctly, that Islam did not intend to
establish a separate community. But what about the concept of Muslims as an
ummah, as a separate people defined on the basis of religion?
A: I think there is a lot of confusion about the term ummah. The Quran uses the
term in different senses, which do not negate each other. For instance, it is
used in the context of the ummah of Medina, which included the Muslim Ansars and
Muhajirin and various non-Muslims, including Jewish tribes who were brought
together through the Covenant of Medina. A second sense in which the term ummah
is used is for those who accepted God and Muhammad as His messenger, as opposed
to those who rejected one or both. A third sense in which it is used is to refer
to the whole of humankind in general. In none of these senses does it
necessarily convey the exclusivist notion of community that many Muslims
understand it as.
So, I would contend that one of the major challenges before Muslims today is to
reappraise the whole notion of ummah, to retrieve what I believe is its actual
connotation as a group based on values and that transcends communal divisions.
This notion of the ummah is suggested in the Quran but it has been subverted in
the ways in which it has conventionally been understood and interpreted. I
believe that in todays context of rapid communications and the breaking down
of barriers dividing countries and communities, it could be possible to move
towards what I regard as the true Quranic understanding of the ummah that goes
beyond the narrow notion of religious-based communities.
For this we also need to reevaluate our understanding of what ˜Muslim
means. A Muslim should be understood not as someone born into a particular
community that claims to be Muslim, but, rather, as a person who upholds
certain values and reflects or possesses certain attributes, a person who
believes in the one God, submits to His will and does good, irrespective of his
or her community. This is why the Quran regards all the many thousands of
prophets who appeared before the Prophet Muhammad, in different parts of the
world, as Muslims. This means that belief in and devotion and surrender to God,
which is also reflected in righteous deeds, suffices to be considered a Muslim
in the literal sense of the term as one who has submitted to Gods will.
The Quran refers to the Prophet Abraham as a true believer, as a Hanif, and when
it specifies that he was neither a Christian nor a Jew it seems to me to suggest
the point that he did not create any sect or community defined in this narrow
sense, and that he was free of any narrow communal affiliation.
Q: If, as you say, to be a Muslim is to believe in the one God and lead a
righteous life, and that this suggests Islams universalism, why do
˜Muslims in practice place so much more importance on the Prophet Muhammad
over the other prophets although the Quran very clearly specifies that all the
prophets are equal and that no distinction should be made between them?
A: I think this has a lot to do with history, with the development of identity
of an expanding community over time. So, very often what Muslims are protecting
in the name of Islam is this narrowly-conceived identity or historical tradition
rather than what the Prophet stood for the basic values and beliefs, which,
unfortunately, are not conventionally understood as the defining attributes of
Muslims today. And what many of them defend in the name of Islam is not what the
Prophet taught and stood for, but, rather, what some medieval scholars and
jurists or fuqaha had written centuries ago, which they wrongly equate with
This blind adherence to the views and prescriptions of the fuqaha is one of the
most fundamental problems of Muslims. Ironically, those who claim to interpret
the divine word are themselves considered ˜divine now. Much of what passes
off as divine shariah, which Muslims generally think is wholly unchangeable, is
actually fiqh, the product of the ijtihad or the thinking and interpretation of
ulema, who were after all, fallible human beings like the rest of us.
Q: Lets turn to Malaysia. Many Muslims (and others) outside Malaysia think of
Malaysia as a ˜model Muslim state or even as a model Islamic state.
Do you agree with this perception?
A: What those who think in this way see when they look at Malaysia is just the
brighter side of the picture: a country with a fairly high per capita income, a
very high literacy rate and good infrastructure, and which has to a great extent
succeeded in eradicating absolute poverty. On all these indices undoubtedly
Malaysia has done well, much better than most other Muslim-majority countries.
So, when non-Malaysian Muslims see all this they regard it as the achievement of
a people and government who do not subscribe to a narrow version of Islam, and
who are trying to ward off the creeping influence of this sort of Islam, and
they contrast this with their own countries. They admire the fact that Malaysia,
as a Muslim-majority country, has been able to do well by these standards
without imposing a narrowly-conceived shariah state, for they know that the kind
of progress Malaysia has achieved could not have happened if we were ruled by
that sort of state.
This is what particularly impresses them. Also perhaps the willingness of the
former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to challenge the dictates of
the International Monetary Fund and to raise the issue of continued Western
But what people who consider Malaysia as a model Muslim country dont look at
is the other side of the picture: crass capitalism, rampant consumerism, lack of
integration between the different communities and so on.
People who uncritically regard Malaysia as a ˜model Muslim state do not see
or know that generally Muslims in Malaysia are very conservative when it comes
to things that are presented in ˜Islamic terms, and that what the
traditional ulema say or believe is still considered by most Malaysian Muslims
as binding. Often, Malaysian Muslims have no problems if you talk about
something as long as you dont bring in Islam, but the moment you do, their
approach becomes very traditional. A good instance of this is our legal system.
In our civil courts we have had Muslim women judges for a long time. That has
never been a problem. In fact, a few years ago the Chief Judge of peninsula
Malaysia was a Malay Muslim woman. But till today we have had not a single woman
judge in the shariah courts although there are many women in this country who
are well-versed in what is considered to be Islamic law. This is because of a
very conservative understanding of the Malaysian ulema that women cannot be judges in shariah courts, although there is actually no rule in Islam forbidding this. Even in countries like
Sudan, Iran and Indonesia there are women shariah court judges, so why not in
Q: Are you suggesting that, overall, the traditional ulema still have a very
decisive influence in shaping Malaysian Muslim understandings of their religion?
What about alternate voices? The Malay middle-class has grown vastly in recent
decades. Has this resulted in any sort of movement pressing for a re-thinking of
Islamic theology and jurisprudence, for a contextual understanding of Islam?
A: There are only a very few, scattered individuals who are trying to do this
sort of work. It certainly has not taken the form of a movement in this country.
It is true that the modern educated and economically well-off Malay or Muslim
middle class has expanded considerably in Malaysia. But still you find that when
it comes to Islam they generally remain very conservative. For instance, on the
issue of apostasy from Islam, a hugely controversial issue in Malaysia, most of
middle-class Malays, despite their education, would continue to insist on its
criminalization by the state even though this does not have any Quranic sanction
and in fact violates the Qurans insistence that there is no compulsion in
Q: Scholars have argued that to a great extent the practice and perception of
Islam among the Malays is influenced by Malay ethnicity. Does that have anything
to do with the sort of conservatism that you refer to?
A: Yes, to a great extent. So, for instance, the issue of apostasy is also seen
even by many well-educated Malays as a threat to the Malay community and its
special position, as threatening Malay solidarity in the face of other
ethnic communities in the country. This is a reflection of a pervasive fear
among many Malays that if they move out of their ethnic cocoons, which they seek
to bolster through appeals to a conservative version of Islam, and open up and
embrace others the Malays will be overwhelmed by others. This is how Malay
ethnicity and insecurities shape Islamic understandings in the country.
Q: How valid are these insecurities, though?
A: Some decades ago some of these insecurities would have been understandable.
At that time, the economy was almost entirely controlled by foreigners and
ethnic Chinese. But today there is a very sizeable Malay middle class. Malays
now play significant roles in the upper reaches of the economy.. So, I feel
there is no need for them to feel insecure any more. Sadly, however, the
political parties keep playing up, even creating and further magnifying, these
insecurities. Even Islamic groups that otherwise insist that ethnic chauvinism
is contrary to Islam are not averse to this sort of political manipulation.
I must add that this is not a phenomenon unique to the Malays. In large parts of
the American mid-West you can find people who subscribe to the ridiculous theory
that their country is under threat from poor little Cuba. Or in India many
Hindus believe that the impoverished Dalits or heavily marginalized Muslim
minority are a threat to them, while this is not the case at all. But because of
this sort of ethnic and religious collective consciousness, which, contrary to
what Marx claimed, is much stronger than class consciousness, many Malay
Muslims, mid-West Americans or Indian Hindus would not be enthusiastic about
opening up to others.
Q: Despite generous government patronage of various Islamic institutions, it
appears that Malay intellectuals have not made a significant contribution to
contemporary debates about Islam or in developing socially relevant and
contextual understandings of Islam. This is in contrast to neighbouring
Indonesia, where Muslim intellectuals have a rich legacy of articulating
alternate Islamic perspectives on a host of social issues of contemporary
concern. How do you see this?
A: Perhaps the over-dependence of the bulk of the Malay middle-class on the
state, for patronage or for jobs or whatever, is itself a reason for the
stagnation of Islamic discourse in the country. Obviously, if you are dependent
on the state for your job or sources of funds you cannot really defy the line of
the state, be it on Islam or any other issue. But equally or perhaps even more
crucially, because of the ethnic issue in Malaysia few Malay intellectuals are
willing to be seen as going against what is seen as the interests of their
community. So, for instance, when it comes to many socio-economic or
socio-political matters, very few of them would stress Islamic universalism over
what they perceive as the Malay position. Another factor for the
retardation of Islamic discourse in Malaysia is that, on the whole, the middle
class Malay mindset is still conservative in matters of religion, relatively
untouched by reformist trends in other Muslim countries.
When one compares the situation in Malaysia with that in neighbouring Indonesia
the difference appears stark. There are several reasons for this. For one thing,
religious reform movements were an integral part of radical nationalist and
anti-colonial struggles in Indonesia. The Dutch in Indonesia directly interfered
in Islamic matters. They did away with the local Sultans and set up their own
board of Islamic affairs, which was staffed with Dutch administrators. This
naturally made the Indonesian ulema much more involved in the anti-colonial and
nationalist movement. In what was then Malaya, on the other hand, the British
retained the royal houses of the Sultans and appointed them as ˜heads of
Islam in their own states and generally refrained from interfering in Islamic
matters. The perpetuation of these monarchical structures also resulted in the
strengthening of a conservative approach to the religion since the Sultans
wanted to preserve the
A second, and equally crucial, factor for the difference is that Muslims form
almost 90 per cent of Indonesias population, while they only a little more
than 60 per cent of Malaysias population. That is why Indonesian Muslims are
much more confident about their identity and feel less threatened by other
communities in their midst than the Malays. And so, Indonesian Muslim religious
intellectuals are much more open to questioning conservative understandings of
religion and to promoting more contextually-relevant responses to a range of
Q: Given the inextricable link between religious and ethnic assertion among the
Malays, which numerous scholars have alluded to, how do you see the phenomenon
of what is commonly described as Islamic revivalism in contemporary Malaysia? Is
it really a purely religious or even spiritual phenomenon? Or does it have more
to do with assertion of Malay communal identity?
A: I think it is related to a large extent to the quest for the assertion of
Malay identity.in multi-ethnic Malaysia. It has little, if at all, to do with
any spiritual awakening. In Malaysia, this superficial so-called Islamisation
and Malay ethnic assertion are in many senses synonymous because Malay and
Muslim are regarded as interchangeable terms. The Constitution of Malaysia
even lays down that considering oneself a Muslim is an integral part of being
Malay. So, especially due to the sort of ethnic-based politics in Malaysia,
instead of heralding a truly cosmopolitan Islam, the sort of Islamisation
that Malaysia has witnessed is leading to further reinforcing of a narrowly
conceived Malay ethnic consciousness. While it is portrayed as
Islamisation it is actually little more than Malay ethnic assertion.
Take, for instance, the question of hijab or modest womens clothing. Today
most Malay women wear a head-covering, though it is clear that the sort of
covering that they are so particular about is not mandated in the Quran. But for
many Malays, the womans head-cover is not just a religious statement. It
serves as a crucial marker of Malay ethnic identity, to mark off Malays/Muslims
Q: From Mahathir Mohamad onwards, successive Malaysian Prime Ministers have been
using Islam as an ingredient in Malaysiaâ€™s economic development strategy. Has
that at all worked?
A: I dont quite agree. I dont think Mahathirs version of Islam or the
Islam Hadhari of his successor, Abdullah Badawi, had any major role to play in
shaping or influencing Malaysias development strategy. Mahathirs use of
Islam was a very political move in recognition of societal pressures, to win
Malay votes and to out-maneuver the ˜Islamist opposition. So, he set up
some ˜Islamic institutions, but was careful not to touch the countrys
capitalist system. On the economic front, he established an Islamic Bank. His
experiment in Islamic insurance has not taken off. Other than this, he
made no other effort to ˜Islamise the economy. And I must add that I
donâ€™t think the so-called â€˜Islamic banksâ€™ are really Islamic at all. At
least in the form they have assumed in Malaysia, they have fully adjusted
themselves to capitalism, and are now a lucrative means to make a lot of money,
while small borrowers actually pay more
than what they would have to if they took loans from commercial banks.
I don’t think genuinely Islamic banking needs Islamic label. Any
system that aims at proper generation and distribution of wealth, that helps
sustainable growth along with equity, can be considered Islamic without needing
the Islamic tag. If someone wants to call it Christian or
Buddhist banking its fine by me; I can still call it ˜Islamic if
it cares for the poor and reinforces justice and equity.
Why must we want to put a so-called ˜Islamic label on everything? It is a
reflection of a narrow-minded, communal, indeed tribalistic approach to Islam
and Muslim identity, one that I feel is contrary to the Quranic spirit and its
universalism. So, you have people talking about Islamic sociology or
Islamic environmental science and even ˜Islamic English and so on. I
think this is a very restrictive way of understanding Islam. We have to get out
of this suffocating obsession with such labels.
Q: Lets come back to the question of a certain vision of Islam, as
articulated by Mahathir Mohamad or Abdullah Badawi, as an input in
Malaysias economic development policy. Can you elaborate a little more?
A: I don’t think Islam has been an input in this sense. Perhaps the only case
is that of the Tabung Haji, the government-run Haj Fund, to which people who
want to perform the Haj can contribute every month. Just before they leave for
the Haj they are given the money that they have saved plus some bonus. The money
collected by the Tajung Haji is invested in various companies. That, I believe,
is the only Islamic input, if you can call it that, into Malaysia
otherwise capitalist path of development which undoubtedly has some elements of
Q: Mahathir Mohammad and, after him, Abdullah Badawi, repeatedly stressed what
they considered to be an ˜Islamic work ethic as essential to the
countrys development. How effective were these exhortations actually?
A: Yes, Mahathir repeatedly stressed values such as dedication, hard work,
loyalty and obedience, but overall in such a way as to make them
capitalism-friendly. He did not, of course, refer to other such Islamic values
as redistribution of wealth, compassion and social justice that would in any way
As for Abdullah Badawi’s Islam Hadhari, I don’t think it worked at all.
Although it also ostensibly sought to promote a certain work ethic, and the
agencies of the state tried to promote it, , it had no impact at all on people
and society in general. Islam Hadhari consists of ten points. I have no quarrel
with these points, which sound very lofty, but why brand this as a certain type
of Islam or add an adjective to Islam? If you want to change Muslim attitudes
you have to present and approach Islam as Islam itself, without any additional
adjectives, like ˜Hadhari” or whatever. That way of packaging Islam puts off
Muslims and is sure to be rejected. This is one reason why many Malaysian
Muslims resisted the very concept or label of Islam Hadhari.
Chandra Muzaffar can be contacted on cmuzaffar@...
Yoginder Sikand works with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and
Inclusive Social Policy at the National Law School, Bangalore.
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August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
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PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.