Monday, November 28, 2011

Muslim Pledge, is this possible?

CAN THIS IDEA TAKE GROUND?

If you believe this (draft) pledge has merit, add your note with your name and website or blog address. Insha Allah, we will publish this in two formats:


1) 50 words peer selected quotes for possible publication at Huffington or Washington post. Preference will be given among the first five in each group to prevent improvisations.

2) 100 words or cut at the 100th word peer approved quotes will be published at www.IslamTogetherFoundation.com, www.worldMuslimcongress.org and .com and several other related sites and blogs. There is no copy right to any material, everyone one can publish it.

Please think through this, write on your word file, edit and keep it to around the words needed.



Kindly note that a full article is in the works to be appended to this, giving further details. We have to come together for doing good for humanity and a majority of Muslims believe, what is good for Muslims has got to be good for others and vice versa for the goodness to sustain.

Mike Ghouse
Muslims together
www.Islamtogetherfoundation.com
 
 

Thanksgiving: A Day of Gratitude and Reflection for American Muslims:

Presented at Islamic Center of Long Island on Friday Nov 25th 2011/ 29 Dhul Hijjah 1432. Dr Faroque A Khan-E-Mail: faroque7khan@gmail.com
Do Muslims celebrate Thanksgiving? This is a frequently asked question. 

Sura Al-Fatiha—Quran Chap 1.


In the name of Allah/God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, praise be to Allah/God – The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.  Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment, Thee do we worship and Thine aid we seek.  Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy grace, those whose portion is not wrath and who do not astray. 



During the daily mandatory  five prayers;  Muslims recite this chapter at least 17 times, so a Muslim is constantly thankful to Allah/God.



Sometimes we take things for granted and behave as if we created ourselves and acquired everything we have from our own efforts. 



It is He who brought you forth from the wombs of your mother when you knew nothing, and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections, that you may give thanks to God.Q 16:78 – Al Nahl



Thus, the concept of giving thanks immediately raises the question: to whom, for what, and how should we express our thanks?  We thank God for everything we have, for everything good that happens to us.

Everything good that happens to you (O Mankind) is from God; everything bad that happens to you is from your own actions

.Q 4:79 Sura Al Nisa



We thank Him for creating us as humans, the best of creation, with intelligence and five portals to decide what is right and wrong.



Have we not given him (Mankind) two eyes, a tongue and a pair of lips, and shown Him the two highways of good and evil?

Qur’an 90:8-10 – Sura Al Balad or The City.



Our Creator, who sustained us through nine months of helpless intrauterine life, continued to provide us with food and other materials to sustain us throughout our life.

O you who believe!  Partake of good things which we have provided for you as sustenance, and render thanks to God, if it is truly Him that you worship.Qur’an 2:172 – Sura Al Baqarah



Thanksgiving -A Unique American  Tradition




THANKSGIVING is my preferred holiday.  No denominational strings are attached to this week’s observance.  Thanksgiving has not been taken hostage by the extravagance of gift giving or the burdens of shopping.  Built around the meal, the feast celebrates the exquisite tension between appetite and its satisfaction.  Honoring the turning of the year, it is a first pushing back against winter’s cold darkness with the warmth and light of fireplaces, candles, the illuminations of reunion.



True, Thanksgiving legends evoke the conflict between white European settlers and the native peoples who welcomed them but, even so, this holiday points more to inclusion than displacement. The Pilgrims of the first Thanksgiving were grateful not for their material gains, but simply that they had survived their first winter in the New World.  Generations of varied immigrant groups have identified as Americans by embracing this holiday – and its peculiar menu. 



What we love most is Thanksgiving’s underlying idea:  that existence itself is a gift.  If the holiday ritual calls for the bounty of culinary excess – four side dishes, three kinds of pie, two forms of cranberry – it is not to celebrate affluence but to acknowledge the accidental richness of life itself.  The multiple desserts are tribute to all that we don’t deserve.  In taking time away from work, we are remembering that the most precious things are those that we do nothing to earn. Can you imagine if we had to pay for the air we breathe?



As an immigrant Muslim, I consider myself to be a part of America’s journey.  I did not leave history behind, like unwanted baggage at Immigration’s door.  Our particular pasts and our shared present are wedded in hyphenated names:  Arab-Americans, Indian-Americans, Bangladeshi-Americans, Pakistani-Americans, Egyptian-Americans, and Palestinian/Kashmiri-Americans.  We are not always on a first-name basis with one another.  But we quickly become acquainted in playgrounds and classrooms, in college dorms and military barracks, and in offices and factories, and at ICLI.  We feel at home.



Qur’an 49:13—Al- Hujarat

O Mankind – We created you from a single pair of man and woman.  Made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another.  Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous.  Allah has full knowledge.



This Quranic verse guides us as to our approach towards those who are different from us.



In some parts of the world our differences would be threatening – not here.

We feel enriched.  In America, our differences resonate in our names, language, food, and music.  They inspire art and produce champions and leaders.

We feel free to disagree.  We are a family, and what is a family gathering without debate? 



We believe in fairness.  In America, the loudest voice does not always have the last word, and every voice has a right to be heard.

We rely on faith.  In a sturdy and tested framework of law and government that works because of the confidence we place in it and in each other, the first amendment clearly states: Congress shall make no law respecting, an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



Progress can be slow as we propose and protest, argue and advocate.  But we are grateful to be part of this vigorous democracy.  We enjoy its unparalleled privileges and accept its obligations: to pursue our dreams while helping others; to advance our convictions while respecting other; to advance our convictions while being tolerant of others; to prepare our children for the gift of the American journey.



We are stewards of America – her ideals and institutions, her cities and natural beauty.  We are entrusted to understand America’s past and guide her future; to create an ever more just America that is secure and free, abundant and caring for all her inhabitants.  We are thankful for the freedom to worship. We are thankful for the tax exempt status ICLI and other faith based centers enjoy, indirectly the federal govt. is subsidizing all such Mosques, Churches, Temples, Gurdawaras and Synagogues.  We are thankful for the freedom to speak our minds.  We are thankful for the freedom to change our minds.  We are thankful for the freedom to chart our lives.  We are thankful for the freedom to work for a better world.  We are thankful for the freedom to celebrate this day. We are thankful for the opportunity to vote and 95% of Muslims exercised that right on Nov 4th 2008.



Remembering the words of Surah Nisaa (Qur’an 4:97), we thank God for giving us, “a spacious land” of freedom and opportunity, to which Allah has allowed “migration of the weak and oppressed," so that we may live and prosper.  This verse describes the experience of millions of arriving immigrants when they first saw the Statue of Liberty, with its inscription penned by Emma Lazarus, a descendant of Jewish immigrants: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We appreciate that gratitude is a function not of how much we have, but rather of how much we have relative to how much we deserve.



In America, each of us is entitled to a place at the Thanksgiving table.

We are thankful to Sarah Josepha Hale who’s persistence led President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 and later President Franklin Roosevelt designated the fourth Thursday of November for Thanksgiving. Though there is some difference of opinion it’s generally accepted  that  the first Thanksgiving celebration was celebrated in 1621.



 As an ideal holiday, Thanksgiving expresses gratitude, focusing on family and friendship and showing appreciation for a land of freedom and opportunity.  However, while we thank Allah for all the gifts that have been bestowed on us, we are mindful of the challenges facing American-Muslims.



Judging by recent polls 49% of US citizens have unfavorable view of Islam, an increase of 10% from 2002. This, I believe is the outcome of the work of a well funded-- $42 million plus--  and well connected Islamophobic network comprising foundations, think tanks, pundits and bloggers who have launched a campaign to promote fear of Islam and Muslims in US. In 2010 election cycle the rallying cry was :”Ground Zero Mosque” in the 2012 election my guess is that we will hear about “Sharia law”.




The good news is that when people have access to accurate information and relate to ordinary Muslims, the perceptions and stereotypes change dramatically.  Our Jihad – struggle, challenge – is to reach out to our colleagues, neighbors, co-workers.  Here are nine principles adopted from the life and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), which might guide us in reaching out with our message of peace, love, tolerance, and mercy.





The First Principle: Take the easier path. 


 


This principle is well explained in a saying of A’ishah.  She said, “Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier choice.  (Bukhari) To choose the easiest option means that you should evaluate your options and choose the most feasible.  One who begins from the starting point will surely reach his goal.




The Second Principle: See advantage in disadvantage. 


 


In the early days of Makkah, there were many problems and difficulties.  At that time, a guiding verse in The Qur’an was revealed.  It said, With every hardship there is ease, with every hardship there is ease.  (94:5-6) Al-Inshirah




This means that if there are some problems, there are also opportunities at the same time.  The way to success is to overcome the problems and avail the opportunities.

Post 9/11 there is a great desire to learn about Islam and Muslims. ICLI has engaged other faith communities in joint activities a good example being the 4th annual twinning program held at ICLI on Sunday Nov 13th in which three Imams and three Rabbis spoke about the concept of Islah and Tikkum Olam.



The Third Principle: Change the place of action. 



This principle is derived from the Hijrah.  The Hijrah was not just a migration from Makkah to Madinah.  It was a journey to find a more suitable place to put Islam into action.



Physical migration and perseverance is an important element in establishing justice and peace.  This also planted the roots of intellectual migration from the subjugated minds to an awakened spirit.  It is my humble, personal opinion that the future, bright light of Islam will, Insha Allah, shine from the USA.



The Fourth Principle: Make a friend out of an enemy. 

 

The Prophet of Islam was repeatedly subjected to practices of antagonism by the unbelievers.  At that time, The Qur’an enjoined upon him the return of good for evil.  The Qur’an added, “You will see your direst enemy has become your closed friend.  (41:34) Ha Mim

It means that a good deed in return of a bad deed has a conquering effect over your enemies.  And the life of the Prophet is a historical proof of this principle.



The greatest example of amnesty was shown by the Prophet after the bloodless conquest of Makkah.  All enemies of Islam were granted pardon, including Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan, who had disemboweled the martyred body of Hamza, the Prophet’s uncle. On Friday Nov 18th 2011, the County Executive Edward Mangano invited the Muslims to the County office to celebrate Eid ul Adha, over 400 Mulsims attended—moved from “Outhouse to Mainhouse”



The Fifth Principle:  Education is central to success. 

 

After the Battle of Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners of war.  They were educated people.  The Prophet announced that if any one of them would teach ten Muslim children how to read and write he would be freed.  This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims, and all of the teachers were from the enemy rank.  Learn your skills from enemies.



The Sixth Principle: Don’t be a dichotomous thinker. 

 

In the famous Battle of Mutah, Khalid Ibn Walid decided to withdraw Muslim forces from the battlefield because he discovered that they were disproportionately outnumbered by the enemy.  When they reached Madinah, some of the Muslims received them by the word “O deserters!”  The Prophet said, “No.  They are men of advancement.”



Those Madinah people were thinking dichotomously, either fighting or retreating.  The Prophet said that there is also a third option, and that is to avoid war and find time to strengthen yourself.  Now history tells us that the Muslims, after three years of preparation, advanced again towards the Roman border and this time they won a resounding victory.



The Seventh Principle: Do not engage in unnecessary confrontation. 

 

This principle is derived from the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.  At that time, the unbelievers were determined to engage Muslims in fighting, because they were in an advantageous position.  But the Prophet, by accepting their conditions unilaterally, entered into a pact.  It was a ten-year peace treaty.  Until then, the meeting ground between Muslims and non-Muslims had been on the battlefield.  Now the area of conflict became that of ideological debate.  Within two years, Islam emerged victorious because of the simple reason of its ideological superiority.  This principle applies to us very aptly, we,  the American Muslims need to live by the ideals of kindness, forgiveness and magnanimity to others and work hard striving towards perfection in whatever our vocation is.


The Eighth Principle: Gradualism instead of radicalism: 

This principle is well established by a Hadith quoted in Bukhari
.  A’ishah says that the first verses of The Qur’an were related mostly to Heaven and Hell.  After some time, when faith had taken hold in peoples’ hearts, God revealed specific commands to desist from unjust and self-deprecating social practices that were prevalent in the Arabian Dark Ages.  This is clear proof that for social changes, Islam advocates the evolutionary method, rather than the revolutionary method.  Revelations regarding prohibition of alcohol and gambling which were revealed over a period of time are very illustrative of this principle, Q2:219-There is great sin and some profit but the sin is greater, followed by Q4:43-praying in a drunken state is forbidden and finally Q5:90 total prohibition of alcohol and gambling.


The Ninth Principle:Be pragmatic in controversial matters. 

During the writing of the Hudaybiyyah Treaty, the Prophet dictated these words:  “This is from Muhammad, the Messenger of God.”  The Quraysh delegate raised objections over these words.  The Prophet promptly ordered the words to be changed to: “Muhammad, son of Abdullah.”  This simple change placated the Quraysh delegate. 

The ICLI leadership adopted this model of compromise when it applied for expansion of the current facility. The neighbors had some genuine concerns and after some discussions with them ICLI modified the plans and  the Westbury Village gave the go ahead for the expansion project. Newsday wrote an editorial complimenting the Westbury Village and ICLI for the manner in which this issue was resolved and The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University at its third annual gala banquet on Nov 17th 2011 recognized ICLI chair Mr Habeeb Ahmed  and the Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro for their outstanding joint effort, which represents a model for the rest of the country.



These are just some of the principles by which the Prophet of Islam conducted his life.  His achievements have been recognized by historians as the supreme success.  We would be wise to live by following his example.


You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day.  (Qur’an 33:21-Al-Ahzab)


Thus, we thank God not only for creating and sustaining us, but also for guiding us, for accepting our prayers and for forgiving us when we wrong ourselves.  Thus, it is impossible for us to deny the favors of our Lord.


For how long, you will deny the favors of your Lord?  (Qur’an: Surah Ar-Rahman)  Surah 55 – This particular verse is repeated 31 times amongst the 78 verses.

Whoever is thankful (to God) is in fact thankful for his own self.  But if anyone is ungrateful, God is self-sufficient and glorious.  (Qur’an 31:12) Luqman

We thank God for giving us, to live and prosper a spacious land of freedom and opportunity, where “the weak and oppressed could migrate to.”  (Quran 4:97)


This Quranic verse aptly describes the first welcome which millions of immigrants have experienced when they arrived on the shores of America and saw the
Statue of Liberty with the inscription– Give me your oppressed, huddled masses.

We should thank Him by remembering Him, not on just one day a year but in our daily life. Remember Me, I will remember you, thank Me and reject Me not.  (Qur’an 2:152) Al Baqarah.


In conclusion here is a short story which we need to keep in mind when things are not going well. This is why we shouldn’t get stressed out over L I T T L E things.  After September 11th, one company invited the remaining members of other companies who had been decimated by the attack on the Twin Towers to share their available office space.  At a morning meeting, the head of Security told stories of why these people were still alive….and it was amazing to see that it was all because of the L I T T L E things.  As you might know, the head of the company got late that day because his son started kindergarten.  Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.  One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time.  One was late because of being stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike because of an auto accident.  One of them missed his bus.  One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.  One’s car wouldn’t start.  One went back to answer the telephone.  One had a child that dawdled and didn’t get ready as soon as he should have.  One couldn’t get a taxi.  The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the fastest means to get to work, but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot.  He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.  That is why he is alive today.  Now, when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone, all the little things that annoy me, I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment. Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you can’t seem to find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don’t get mad or frustrated, God is at work watching over you.

Dr. Khan, a physician, is a  member of the board of trustees  of the Islamic Center of Long Island(ICLI) (Westbury, NY).   He is author of the book, Story of a Mosque in America (Cedar Graphics, 2000) which describes the establishment and growth of ICLI.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Muslims Together Pledge

 

On November 25, 2011, we entered the 1433rd year of Hijri, the Islamic Calendar.  It started out as one Muslim community with a foundational belief in one God, one universe, one creation and that we are accountable for our actions on a day yet to come.
 
Islam is referred to reflecting our nature known as fitra. Indeed, every human is designed to seek justice and to be just, however the temptations cause us to cross the line and suffer the consequences one way or the other, and if we miss it, we have to account for it one day.  It is our responsibility to work for a just world where everyone is better off individually and collectively when we trust each other.

Prophet Muhammad understood human nature; he knew that as the number of adherents grew they are bound to have differences. He predicted his followers will split into 73 groups – a metaphoric number to denote a large division. Being the ultimate peace maker, he was always bent on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill among people that surround him. By predicting the division and challenging each one to race in doing good, he saw that a lot of cumulative good coming out of it, when everyone strove to be his or her best.  

When he said, one among you will be the best, it reminds me of the class room scenario where one or two may fail, but will have the opportunity to make it up.  However, only one earns to be # 1 rank based on individual performance of good deeds and almost all others will pass at varying degrees. He did not condemn the 72 other participants to hell, he left that to God to judge on the Day of Judgment.


Indeed, the wise men in the first few centuries did have a different take on the issues and understanding of Quraan and Hadith. First we grew into two divisions and produced six schools of thought – accepting the otherness of other interpretation without denigrating any. Today we have over 7 or 8 major divisions and many mini-divisions with each group. Thanks to many a Imams today, including my respected Imams Kavakci and  Zia Sheikh who will explain the issue from different points of view without judgment. I pray that their attitude is infectious and we get that bug.

Each one of us can decide for ourselves in our hearts and minds to become generous like the Rabbul Aalameen and Rahmatul Aalameen who will not differentiate or discriminate any one of us from the 73 tribes or 7000 tribes?  All we have to do is to respect the otherness of other.

Let’s avoid as much as possible to pre-fix or suffix ourselves. Let our words and actions reflect our Aalameen ul inclusiveness. Do your best and I will do mine. I pledge that in my word and actions, I will keep myself as Muslim and nothing but Muslim.

Mike Ghouse is committed to put his energy in building cohesive societies where no human has to afraid of the other. www.IslamtogetherFoundation.com

Punishement for Apostasy is anti-Islamic

Any Punishment for Apostasy, Let Alone Capital Punishment, is Anti-Islamic

By Muhammad Yunus, NewAgeIslam.com

(Joint Author, Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.)
A set of Qur'anic verses that are fundamental to its message clearly and conclusively refute the notion of punishing a Muslim man or woman who wants to convert to any other faith, or even renounce God. They are listed below under three headings.

1. Universality of the concept of Islam and of the criterion of divine judgment.

The Qur'an's use of the noun Islam and its other roots (asslama, Muslim) demonstrates that members of all faith communities - Christians, Jews, and others - regardless of whether or not they are mentioned in the Qur'an (4:164, 40:78) belong to the universal din (way of life) of Islam that espouses submission (orienting oneself, asslama) to God and doing good deeds. The followers of the Prophet Muhammad are also given this name.

"Indeed! Whoever commits (asslama) his whole being to God, and does good deeds - will get his reward from his Lord. There will be no fear upon them nor shall they grieve" (2:112).

"And who can be better in faith (din) than the one who commits (asslama) his whole being to God, and does good deeds, and follows the way of Abraham, the upright one, and God took Abraham as a friend" (4:125).
"And who is finer in speech than the one who invites to God, does good deeds and says: 'I am of those who submit to God (Muslimun)'" (41:33).

"When his Lord said to him (Abraham), 'Submit (aslim)', he said, 'I submit (Aslamtu) to the Lord of the worlds' (2:131). Abraham enjoined his sons to do so, as did Jacob: 'O my sons, God has chosen the religion (din) for you; so you should not die unless you have submitted to God (Muslimun)' (2:132). Were you (among) witnesses when death came to Jacob? He said to his sons, 'What will you serve after I am gone?' They said, 'We will serve your God; the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac - the One God; and to Him we have truly submitted (Muslimun)'" (2:133).

"Those who believe, and those who are Jews, Christians and Sabians - and (in fact) anyone who believes in God and the Last Day, and does good deeds - shall have their reward with their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they regret" (2:62).

"Those who believe, and those who are Jews, Sabians and Christians - (in fact) anyone who believes in God and the Last Day, and does good deeds - they have nothing to fear, nor will they regret" (5:69).

"And do not debate with the People of the Book, but in a way that is better (than theirs), except with those of them who oppress (others); and say 'We believe in what was revealed to us, and what was revealed to you, for our God and your God is One (and the same), and it is to Him that we (all) submit (Muslimun)'" (29:46)
"…This day, those who reject (this Qur'an) despair of (ever harming) your religion. Therefore, do not fear them; fear Me. This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor on you, and have chosen Islam for your religion…" (5:3).

Note: This has also been discussed at length in light of Qur'anic illustrations in a recent publication [1], but reproduced above to avoid any need for cross reference.
2 There is no compulsion in religion.

The Qur'anic spirit of religious pluralism, intrinsic to the universality of the concept of the Islam (1 above) is reflected in its following pronouncements on the freedom of religion:

"(There is) no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood; so whoever rejects false deities and believes in God, has grasped a firm handhold, which never breaks. (Remember,) God is All-Knowing and Aware" (2:256).

"If your Lord so willed, everyone on earth would have believed, all together. Will you then compel people until they become believers" (10:99)?
"We know best what they say; but you (O Muhammad,) are not to force them. So remind with the Qur'an those who fear My warning" (50:45).

"So remind (them, O Muhammad) - for you are one who reminds (88:21); and have no power over them" (88:22).

The Qur'an's position on religious freedom is amply demonstrated in a verse (60:11) dating from the Medinite period allowing pagan women to leave for Mecca, if they did not opt to convert to Islam along with their husbands:

"And if any of your wives should go over to the pagans, and then you have your turn (as many converted wives of the Meccan pagans left their pagan husbands and came over to Medina), then pay to those whose wives had left the equivalent of what they had spent (on their dower). And heed God in whom you believe" (60:11).

The Muslims who turn atheist will be punished after their death


The Qur'an declares:

"…And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in a state of atheism, their deeds will be of no avail in life, or in the hereafter; and they will be the inmates of hellfire and they will remain there" (2:217).
"…Anyone who, after believing in God, denounces his faith, - except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith - but such as open their breast to atheism, on them is Wrath from God, and theirs will be a dreadful punishment" (16:106).

"Those who turn atheist after entering faith and then go on increasing in their disbelief - their repentance will never be accepted. And they are those who are astray" (3:90).

"Those who believe, reject faith and then believe (again), and again reject faith, and go on increasing in atheism, God will not forgive them nor guide them along the (right) path" (4:137). [See also 47:25-27]
Finally, the Qur'an reassures the Muslims that "if anyone abandons his religion, God will replace him with others whom He loves and who love Him" (5:54).


These verses clearly demonstrate that apostasy will be punished only by God. Not a single verse in the Qur'an offers any basis to humans/ Muslims to punish an apostate, as apostasy is between a person and God and God is enough to deal with the apostates. Thus, there is no Qur'anic basis to legislate capital punishment, or, for that matter, any punishment for apostasy or for renouncing faith in God altogether (atheism).


Historically, in all major civilizations, the cessation from the established religion of the State was conflated with treason and carried most severe punishments. Thus, as late as 'the eighteenth century of the Christian era, the Christian churches in Western Europe condemned the heretics to the stake or the gallows; no distinction was made on the score of sex or age'. [2] In the Islamic world, the traitors turned apostates and joined the enemy camp. So the punishment for apostasy was in true sense the punishment for treason rather than for abandoning faith.


Conclusion. In the past centuries, the world was divided on strictly religious lines and apostasy equated with treason in the political and military sense for which death sentence was normative for the era. With a major paradigm shift in civilization in terms of the relegation of religion to the personal domain, commercialization and secularization of the armed forces, and evolution of secular nations, the religion of a soldier does not define his national identity or loyalty and the change of religion does not conflate with political treason or sedition. Therefore, in light of the Qur'an's recognition of the divinity of all religions (1 above), and its unqualified sanction of religious freedom, there can be no Qur'anic basis whatsoever for any punishment, let alone capital punishment, for changing religion or apostasy.



Notes:
[1] Muslims have NO Qur'anic basis for Religious Supremacism:
http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamAndSpiritualism_1.aspx?ArticleID=5802

[2] Asaf A.A.Fyzee, Outlines of Mohammadan Law, fifth edition 2005, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, p.178.

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur'an since early 90's, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
URL:
http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicShariaLaws_1.aspx?ArticleID=5998



Female Genital Mutilation among Bohra Muslims - A report

Female Genital Mutilation among Bohra community of India and Pakistan, and it is predominantly prevalent in Eritrea and Ethiopia; both Christian majority nations. 



Two more academic papers are available to read on this site:
1. Setting the record Straight, Female Genital Mutilation http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2012/04/mutilating-facts-setting-record.html

2. Please visit the 2nd posting with scientific knowledge at http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/06/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-fgm.html

I applaud the courage of Mr. Danish Ahmed for reporting this issue head on in his magazine Indian Muslim Observer. There is a lot that goes on in our societies, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and Sikh or otherwise, in this instance a large number of Bohra Muslim Women are being genitally mutilated in secrecy, as it is an illegal practice within several cultures.
Even if one woman, Muslim or otherwise is deprived of her God given pleasures of life, it must be stopped. Standing up against oppression is one big aspect of being a Muslim.
Injustice to anyone and particularly women will eat away the morality of the society from within.  Oppression cannot go on for long. Every religion has been a medium to restore righteousness in the society, the guidance is universal including Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) who said, the least thing you can do against injustice is to speak up. Speaking up is the right thing to do.  


Tasleem deserves the applauding, even though she has endured pain and suffering, she has decided to put an end to this. We need to join her efforts in putting an end to this misery. Certainly, a few men will ridicule it, but she will have her rewards from Allah and the Prophet for the doing the right thing, bringing justice to generations of women. May God bless her.  


Warning: The pictures too graphic, especially the one with raw blade. Most of the pictures are from Africa to illustrate the point and perhaps due to the limited availability of such practices.


This is a horrendous practice that all of us must stop. I can hear a few Muslims, just a handful of Muslims in each Muslim gathering asking this to the Danish Ahmed.

1.
Why did he not talk with the community first?
2.
Why did he have to feed the right wingers with more to belittle Muslims?
3. Is there an empirical data to claim 90% of Bohra community practices this?

It is quite possible that His Highness Syedna Burhanuddin, the spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims may not be aware of this practice happening right under his nose, just as CIA did not see Mubarak's exit or the seedlings for the protests in the Middle East, ISI and Pakistani Military did not know Osama Bin Laden was hiding right in their own backyard and Mossad has been wrong about Iran and other pronouncements.

Obviously the issue is simmering for a long time, but no one may have dared the establishment, and even possible that the protests were put down.  As Muslims we need to give full support to this movement that is what makes us Muslims; to speak up and do everything possible to bring justice to every human in the society.

If we don’t fulfill our responsibility, the suffering will go on further, but it will affect us all of us. This is not a Bohra issue, nor the Muslim issue; it is the human rights issue. It’s not them, it is us, we are all in this together to create a better society for each one of us and it reflects and affects us all.
I do hope the Syedna will make a quick call to end this practice, if he has not already done. Please do the least thing you can do – sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/hh-dr-syedna-ban-female-circumcision-ladkiyon-par-khatna 
By the way, the male circumcision among Jews and Muslims is not the same, it has a history of over 3000 years and it is not done secretly to be evil and further more it is professionally done to ensure the safety of the circumcised.  The following article was cited in cancelling the bill to ban circumcision in San Francisco and Santa Monica.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/circumcision-satire_b_872270.html
Mike Ghouse
Muslims together committed to cohesive and just societies
www.IslamTogetherFoundation.com


Links:
Uproar over Female Genital Mutilation: Bohra Muslim woman activist launches campaign on Facebook to ban practices


Indian Muslim Journal
By Danish Ahmad Khan


'Female khatna' (circumcision) or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is widely prevalent in Africa and the Middle East among sections of Muslim, has come under sharp criticism by a female activist who has termed it grossly 'inhuman, unjust and un-Islamic' and is clamoring for a ban on its practice. The activist, who prefers to be named Tasleem, has launched a campaign on Facebook and making sincere efforts to collect signatures to petition the Bohra High Priest His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin ordering a ban on this ritual and stop this cruelty being foisted on Bohra females. The activist has urged the people to actively take part in this campaign against FGM and sign the Online Petition [https://www.change.org/petitions/hh-dr-syedna-ban-female-circumcision-ladkiyon-par-khatna-2] to put adequate pressure on HH Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin to finally put an end to this abhorring and ghastly practice. Further details can also be seen on www.stopfgmc.org. Tasleem can also be contacted at stopcruelfgm@gmail.com.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ChSEcbyiYjg/TsH0zL0LTrI/AAAAAAAAEjU/8yuOfgq_jRs/s1600/Female+Genital+Mutilation-Source-middle-east-info.org.jpg
Tasleem, who belongs to the Bohra Muslim sect, recently wrote to this writer drawing attention towards FGM, which takes place only amongst Bohra Muslims in India and Pakistan, seeking to raise her voice. After being assured by this writer to promptly raise this important issue, Tasleem wrote in her reply: "I'm so glad a Muslim is speaking against a cruel procedure. Female khatna or Female Genital Mutilation happens in Africa, Middle East primarily. But in India and Pakistan it happens only amongst Bohris. There are 4 types of FGM. The Bohris practice Type 1, whereby they cut the clitoris hood of a young girl, usually without any anaesthesia. Ninety percent of the Bohri community still practices this ritual religiously. Only a small percentage of the progressive Dawood Bohri community has stopped this practice. Even the expats and NRIs who send their daughters to posh schools get FGM done. This is essentially done to prevent homosexuality, masturbation, and to subdue a girl's desires so that she doesn't marry out of the community or have extra-marital relationships. "


Tasleem further states: "This is an African custom dating back to Before Christ. Even the Christian tribes in some African countries perform this. Some Maulla (Bohri priest) brought it to India and they think it is an Islamic mandatory. The funny thing is that most Bohri men do not even know about this. In most of the cases, it is only after their marriage they are informed about this by their respective wives. I also spoke to some Bohri fathers who didn't know that it had happened to their wives and daughters. A lot of bullshit reasons like it 'prevents cancer', 'prevents white discharge' etc is given. However, the bottomline is to keep the girl in control. And like they say a slave falls in love with his chains, the mother forgets the ordeal she went through and gets it done to her little girl. And so the tradition continues. If you can help me raise awareness and get signatures, I'd be extremely grateful to you on behalf of all Bohri girls."



The issue of Female Genital Mutilation amongst Bohra Muslims raised by Tasleem is surely an important one, particularly when it is being practiced in the name of Islam. This also brings into sharp focus the unholy and absurd role being played by the Bohra clergy, as well as by the clergy of other Muslim sects on most occasions. This important issue has also highlighted the vulnerability of Muslim masses and the stranglehold that the Muslim clergy seeks to further tighten on the community. And, this sad spectacle by the Muslim clergy is being displayed at a time when Muslims in large numbers are gaining modern education and seeking to empower themselves.


What is Circumcision?


Circumcision is in fact a surgical procedure involving partial or complete removal of the foreskin (prepuce) of the penis. The first evidence of circumcision comes from early Egyptian wall paintings, which are more than 5000 years old. According to recent studies, nearly one-fifth of men worldwide have been circumcised, which has been mostly for religious and cultural reasons. The procedure for circumcision is commonly performed shortly after birth or around puberty.


Female Genital Mutilation


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Female Genital Mutilation (a form of circumcision) is classified into four major types – Clitoridectomy, Excision, Infibulation, and other forms. Clitoridectomy is partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris). Excision is partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina). Infibulation is narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris. Other form includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.


Circumcision to Prevent Future Disease


The main reasons for circumcision includes an immediate medical indication, to prevent future disease, and as an act of religious dedication. The medical reasons attributed to circumcision are to prevent future disease, such as Penile Cancer (Cancer of the Penis). Besides, sexually transmitted infections that cause ulcers on the genitals (syphilis, chancroid, herpes simplex), and are more common in uncircumcised men. Various studies undertaken since 1987 have clearly indicated that uncircumcised male infants are up to 10 times more likely to contract a urinary tract infection (UTI), and one in 100 uncircumcised infants will develop a UTI, compared with 1 in 1000 circumcised infants.


Circumcision as an act of religious dedication


The circumcision of male children is a central feature to both Judaism and Islam. According to Bible's Old Testament, even Christians also practiced circumcision. Though, Bible's New Testament strongly disapproves of such a practice.


Judaism


In the book of Genesis (17: 10-14), circumcision represents the covenant made by God with Abraham and his descendants. Traditional religious circumcision is performed by a mohel, and is usually carried out on the eighth day after birth, unless there is a danger to the child's health, in which case it should be delayed until that danger has passed.


Islam


Circumcision is not mentioned in the Quran, but has the status of sunnah. Only the Shafiite school of law regards circumcision as obligatory (wajib), while the Hanafite, Jafarite, Malikite, Hanbalite and Zaidite regard it as only recommended, because it is sunnah. However, even those who consider circumcision an obligatory duty for themselves do not see it as an essential requirement for others to become a Muslim. Though, the procedure is very commonly practiced and is certainly seen as an important external symbol of submission to God's will.


Christianity


According to Genesis, God told Abraham to circumcise himself, his household and his slaves as an everlasting covenant in their flesh. Those who were not circumcised were to be 'cut off' from their people (Genesis 17:10-14). Also, the Mosaic Law commands that if a woman give birth to a male child, he should be circumcised in the foreskin of his flesh on the eighth day (Lev. 12:2-3), on this, the eighth day from His Nativity, our Saviour accepted the circumcision commanded by the Law. According to the command of the Angel, He received the Name which is above every name: JESUS, which means "Saviour" (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:31 and 2:21).



Jesus had no problem with circumcising children whatsoever. In fact, he himself was circumcised: "When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. (From the NIV Bible, Luke 2:15-21)"



"This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. (From the NIV Bible, Genesis 17:10)"


However, the New Testament clearly contradicts the Old Testament on the issue and disapproves of the practice of circumcision among Christians saying it in not required of them. The contradictions between the New Testament and the Old Testament also prove the fact that the Bible had been corrupted and altered by man-made cultural laws.


Female Circumcision among Bohra Muslims


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xLD3t7x3O0o/TsH0zzATBHI/AAAAAAAAEjc/wNcIjEQfSVM/s1600/Female+Genital+Mutilation-Source-atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com.jpgCombating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has emerged as an important policy goal among social activists and feminists in the present times. FGM is the cutting of the clitoris of girls in order to curb their sexual desire and preserve their sexual honor before marriage. Many girls who undergo FGM sometimes bleed to death or die of infection. Most are traumatized. Those who survive can suffer adverse health effects during marriage and pregnancy.


The practice of male circumcision is universal in the Islamic countries, while female circumcision (sunna) is not. In Saudi Arabia, which is considered the cradle of Islam, the practice of female circumcision doesn't take place at all. In Asia, the countries where female circumcision is practiced, includes Malaysia, Indonesia, southern parts of the Arab Peninsula, along the Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, South Yemen and among some sects in Pakistan and Russia. However, in India FGM is widely prevalent among a Muslim sect called the Daudi Bohras, which is an Ismaili Shia sect, numbering approximately half a million and concentrated in the western states of Maharastra and Gujarat. Those residing outside India are primarily found in Pakistan and East. Africa. A highly organised sect, they have a spiritual head known as Dai, Maulana or Syedna. Despite the fact that the sect prides itself on being modern in terms of education, occupation and family planning, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin continues to exercise considerable control over his followers.


The Bohras practice the FGM sunna variety in which the prepuce or the tip of the clitoris is removed. Female khatna (circumcision) is performed by mullanis, women who have a semi-religious standing, or by dais or midwives, or by any woman with some experience. As some families become more interested in a safe circumcision, they prefer to go to doctors. The circumcision is done when the girl reaches the age of seven. Though, the choice of this particular age is not clear. However, at this age the girl is considered nadan (innocent) and nasamaj (not capable of understanding). She is considered not capable of understanding what is being done to her and at the same time is considered sufficiently mature to continue the tradition when she has a daughter of her own.


Seventy percent or more among Bohra Muslims follow the practice without questioning it. The main reasons for doing circumcision include: it is obligatory on the parents to do it as it is mentioned in the shariat; it is a tradition/custom in the community; and to curb the girl's sexuality. However, the less commonly cited reasons include: cleanliness and purity; and like male circumcision it represents the attainment of the status of a Muslim.


The main justification for practicing FGM is to curb female sexuality. This is closely related to the sex socialization of Bohra girls. The word sex is simply not mentioned in the community, and it does not exist as far as Bohra girls are concerned. The girls are in fact warned to keep away from strange men. Unlike other Muslim women in India, the sexual desire of Bohra women is curbed both physically and culturally. The task is expectedly accomplished by enforcement from older women of the family.


Even a Bohra doctor admitted that there have been cases of infection, swelling, severe bleeding, shock, tetanus. In some instances circumcision has been a contributory factor in some cases of frigidity as well. However, there has been no systematic attempt to do away with this practice. Though, some of the Bohra doctors working within the confines of the community had tried to take up the matter with the clergy but without success.


An activist of the Bohra Women's Action Forum, founded in 1989, stated that the practice of circumcising the girl is abhorrent. As it is being seen today reformist women have not come to question female circumcision organizationally, but individually a lot of women are opposed to it, and have made sure that it is not done to their daughters.


Profile of a Woman undertaking Female Circumcision job


Here is the typical profile of a woman who undertakes the job of female circumcision in Mumbai. She lives in the heart of a Bohra mohalla, belongs to lower middle class, occupies a dilapidated one room plus kitchen flat and lives together with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons. She is 75 years old, uneducated but literate. She has no training in nursing or first aid. Widowed at the age of 30, with three young sons to support, she took the clergy's permission to become gainfully employed by doing female circumcision. She says that she has inherited this work from her family. Her grandmother used to performed khatna but her mother never learnt the trade as she was married in an economically well-to-do family. Her grandmother therefore taught the trade to another Bohra woman acquaintance. She, however, learnt how to circumcise from her grandmother's acquaintance and also got some initial instruction from the wives of clergy. She has been doing this job for the next 35 years, and it has remained her major occupation. She stopped only when her eyesight began to fail. She taught her three daughters-in-law to circumcise. They were already assisting her in this work and learnt the procedure by observation. Permission for the daughters-in-law to practice was duly obtained from the clergy. Today, all the three daughters-in-law do female circumcision and supplement their husband's meager income. She considers that this is honorable work and a perfectly legitimate way for a woman to earn an income. For doing this work the clergy takes care of her and sends her a food ration every month. The community members also take care of her in a similar manner. According to her, no other Muslim group in India other than the Bohras practices it. One of her acquaintances in the mohalla (locality) tells her to stop doing this work and asks her, "Why do you make little girls cry?" She says in her reply that as long as the shariat sanctions it and the clergy support it she will do it but the decision is really that of the women themselves.


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FGM Procedure: She has a rusted box containing five items: the astro— a barber's razor — rusted, with a broken handle (about 8 to 9 inches long, duly blessed by the clergy); a small stone on which to sharpen her razor; a pile of 1" by 1" pieces of paper—this is used to wrap up the foreskin which is thrown away; a small box of indigenous medicine called abeer or kapurkanchi powder mixed with silk thread ash (pure silk threads are burnt, grounded and put through a sieve), this mixture is put over the cut over the clitoris, the powder for its cooling effect and the silk ash for its adhesive value; and lastly, a pile of 1" by 1" pieces of cloth to put on the cut in case of bleeding. According to her, the entire procedure takes a few seconds and if the girl is agitated it takes several minutes. The girl is told to lie on her back on the floor. Her two hands are held over her head by the mother, and her two legs are held down by a woman each. She holds the foreskin in one hand and uses the razor (which she claims has been sterilized) with the other. The foreskin— the size of a yellow moong bean—is excised. No anaesthetic is used for the purpose. There is no bleeding unless the girl is difficult to manage. She recommends to the mother that the genital area be washed with warm water and antiseptic and the girl be given coconut water to drink to help in the discharge of urine. The wound is healed in a day or two. Post circumcision complaints are rare. Occasionally mothers come saying that the girl won't permit them to wash the circumcised guarded by the community women.


Her clients include Daudi and other Bohra subsects such as the Suleimanis and Aliya Bhoras. Occasionally, she has had Arab girls from the Middle East brought to her. When a non-Bohra woman decides to marry a Bohra man and they want a Muslim religious marriage ceremony to be done by the clergy, the woman is asked to be circumcised. In the adult stage the size of the foreskin is that of a channa dal.


History about Bohra Muslims of India


The Bohras of India belong to the Shia Ismaili faith. The Ismailis effectively challenged the Abbasids— the Arab Sunni rulers, and succeeded, with the help of the Berber tribe, in establishing their own state called the Fatimid state, in North Africa which later extended to Egypt and Yemen. The Ismaili movement, from its inception was a proselytizing mission which had spread the network of its missionaries to countries like Persia, Central Asia, Yemen and India. In the eleventh century two missionaries from Egypt and later a few from Yemen landed at the port of Cambay and sought converts to the Ismaili faith. The Bohras imbibed the traditions of the new religion in a thorough manner. Its followers in India have been very scrupulous followers of all the practices prescribed by the shariat.


Besides Bohras, there are similar two other Muslim sects — the Khojas and the Memons. All the three sects are petty business communities from Gujarat, are well structured, and have similar and contemporaneous origin. Though these three Muslim sects hold similarities, but the Khojas and the Memos do not undertake the practice of female circumcision.


The Bohras and the Khojas have a common Shia Ismaili origin, whereas the Memons are a Sunni sect. However, all the three communities have their own distinct identities, important doctrinal differences and generally do not intermarry and have separate closely knit socio-religious structures. Like the Bohras, the Khojas have a highly centralised command structure and are tightly controlled from above. Compared to other Muslim sects, both the Bohras and the Khojas are better educated, culturally well assimilated with other non-Muslim Gujarati communities.


The Khojas or Aga Khanis constitute the Nizari branch of the Ismailis. Most were converted to the Ismaili fold by the Nizari missionaries who came from Iran. The Nizari missionaries used local religious idiom to convert Hindus to their fold. The Prophet and his successor Ali were projected by them as avatars of Krishna and Vishnu. The Khojas for this reason remained highly Hinduised for a long time. It was only during the period of the father of the present Aga Khan that they were encouraged to openly identify themselves with the Muslims in India. The Bohras on the other hand were a highly Islamised sect from the beginning of their conversion. Likewise, the Memons trace their origin to the 700 families, comprising of 6,178 persons belonging to the old and famous Lohana community of Sind in Pakistan. The Lohanas are found in the area where the clitoris is merely nicked.


Worldwide Campaign against FGM


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-csphZxVq77M/TsH01hoR8SI/AAAAAAAAEjo/xeSzjMUCUwY/s1600/Female+Genital+Mutilation-Source-fightagainstfgm.yolasite.com2.jpgFor almost three decades now FGM has remained a top priority for United Nations agencies and NGOs worldwide. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights had adopted a resolution condemning the FGM practice in 1952. The Economic and Social Council invited the World Health Organization (WHO) to study the persistence of customs subjecting girls to FGM ritual operations in 1958. Three years later the call was again repeated. The practice was denounced by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1979. Later, in 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child identified Female Genital Mutilation as a harmful traditional practice. The FGM affects 130 million women in 28 African countries as according to the Demographic and Health Surveys Program, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development to assist in undertaking medical and reproductive health surveys. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a joint statement with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) against the practice of FGM in 1997. The World Health Assembly passed a resolution (WHA61.16) in 2008 on the elimination of FGM, emphasizing the need for concerted action in all sectors - health, education, finance, justice and women's affairs. Even with wider United Nations support a new statement was issued in February 2008 to support increased advocacy for the abandonment of FGM. The 2008 statement documents new evidence collected over the past decade about the practice. It highlights the increased recognition of the human rights and legal dimensions of the problem and provides current data on the frequency and scope of FGM. It also summarizes research about why FGM continues, how to stop it, and its damaging effects on the health of women, girls and newborn babies.


The situation has rather become grim nowadays. Instead of diminishing even as countries continue to modernize, FGM is fast expanding. According to media reports recently (IRIN, September 1, 2011), guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) was issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health raising fears among medical experts and rights groups that this could well cause an increase in the FGM practice. Media reports quoted Jurnalis Uddin, doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University in Jakarta, as saying that this will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Ulamas' Council approves of it. "Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia's Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising "not to cut too much", and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure. By directing health professionals not to cut a girl's genitals but to "scrape the skin covering the clitoris, without injuring the clitoris", the Ministry of Health stands by the regulations, passed in June, as a medically safe form of FGM/C representing an effort to further regulate the illegal practice and protect women," media reports said.


Notwithstanding the Health Ministry's guidelines, dozens of Indonesian groups have questioned the move and raising their voices calling for revoking the guidelines. Frenia Nababan, spokeswoman for the Indonesian Family Planning Association, has vehemently protested the move saying that this gives a justification for health practitioners to damage women's bodies and feared that it will increase control of women's bodies by the state and religious groups. Even Amnesty International has strongly supported the rights groups calling for the guidelines to be revoked partially on the grounds of Indonesia's child protection laws, as well as the government's commitment to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), signed by Indonesia in 1984.


According to the World Health Organization, FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies. Immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue. Long-term consequences can include recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections; cysts; infertility; an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths; and the need for later surgeries. For example, the FGM procedure that seals or narrows a vaginal opening (type 3 above) needs to be cut open later to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth. Sometimes it is stitched again several times, including after childbirth, hence the woman goes through repeated opening and closing procedures, further increasing and repeated both immediate and long-term risks.


FGM as ever remains a controversial practice, whose origins continue to be as much debatable. Religious experts contend that FGM is a foreign cultural practice which is not sanctioned in any of Islam's religious texts. While, medical experts say that even a scratch or small cut on the clitoris is a dangerous procedure to perform on infants during FGM. The need of the hour is to spread mass awareness against this ghastly practice and strongly support Tasleem's Facebook campaign by signing online petition in large numbers so that adequate pressure is put on the Bohra High Priest His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin to ban FGM practice immediately. Such practices like FGM are highly condemnable and should be stopped forthwith.


[Danish Ahmad Khan is Founder-Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com or danish_a_khan@rediffmail.com]

----------------------------------- ADDITIONAL NOTES ----------------------


Thanks for the question: What if “Female circumcision” is performed in healthy legal way ensuring the safety of the woman? Can the practice continue?

First of all, it is not a requirement of any religion; it was the idea of impotent men to prevent their women from knowing the joys of sex, it was their insecurity of losing the woman to secret lovers who can satisfy their women making them feel worthless. Pharaoh was one such impotent man (My observation from the movie) and most men treated women as their chattel (Chastity Belt).

Secondly, FGM amounts to blatant deprivation of a woman’s nature. No one has that right to take away one’s source of pleasure within the structure of the given society.

Thirdly, any act that is done in privacy and secrecy tends to be evil. Be it the incest, rapes, theft, corruption and even “most” wars.

Fourthly, the FMG does not prevent pregnancy.

Finally, the male circumcision among Jews and Muslims is not the same as FGM, it is not done secretly to be evil and further more it is professionally done to ensure the safety of the circumcised. The following article was cited in cancelling the bill to ban circumcision in San Francisco and Santa Monica. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/circumcision-satire_b_872270.html


The practice is prevalent in Asian Nations

Indeed, some Bohras really believe that it was Sunnat, good brainwashing has been done for generations. I want to make sure we are not stereo typing any group, brainwashing is done with most people -Some Muslims still believe that sharia is a divine law directly from God, some Pakistanis have been brainwashed to believe that Ahamdiyya are not Muslims, "some" Indians believe that 20 Million Hindus were slaughtered during Aurangzeb’s time, some Americans believe that Muslims are here to make them dhimmis... the issue would be a problem when it becomes the psyche of a large number of people in a given demographic - in this case the Bohra.

The Syedna can do away with his magic farman, no one will question him and believe him. Most likely Syedna is not aware of what is going on around him - he lives too much of an insular life and his assistants have become a wall around him to protect him from listening to the issues - they probably paint a glorious picture for him. He needs to mix and mingle with the common public to be in tune with them.

Same goes with the Ismaili community, HH Aga Khan can change things, fortunately he has , he is up with both the Deen, Duniya and human rights and leading is community in the right direction with a balance. He is in tune with the needs and wants of the people and knows his religion very well. He strikes a good balance.

Among Shia, the Ayotallah can make sensible statements and the Shia will listen, so is with the Ahmadiyya, the Khalifa can share his wisdom and they will listen.

The Sunnis have no leadership, it is up for grabs and a lot of them grab it and abuse it.. like the Maudodis, the Banna's and others.

Thanks to the internet, Islam zinda hoga internet ke saath ( Islam will restore to its value with the openness to learning) like the old poem "Islam zinda hota hai her karbala ke baad" (Islam reivives after each conflict or serious discussion) the values of justice, just society and accountability of one's action in creating a harmonious world.

Mike Shared these additional comments at Face book discussions

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

PRESS RELEASE
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
MikeGhouse@aol.com

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797
mirza.a.beg@gmail.com

www.WorldMuslimCongress.com


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.






URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html



Thank you.

CIVIL DIALOGUE

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.