Nice article from a Pakistani journalist where he comes off as a very candid mind – and a surprise for me – I did not know that Yousuf Youhana – the star Pakistani cricket batsman had converted .. again!! I mean his family wasnt a Christian to start with a few generations ago .. so it is like jumping from one Island to another in search of an anchor that aint anywhere in those books or rituals…. funny the games mind plays .. even with the sportsmen! 🙂
Such a God is also supposed to represent justice and always be on the side of the righteous.
If that is to be believed literally then how come thousands of infants and young children die of leukaemia; why are young girls from poor families sold into prostitution; why do small boys start shining shoes or work in carpet factories where their hands are mutilated and rendered useless when they are still small, while other boys of the same age go to school and play cricket?
I am sure many of us pose this question many times in our lives and never find an answer. Are we all then to be hanged because we question dogma, even when we obey the laws of Pakistan, pay our taxes and never hurt or injure a fellow human being or a fellow Pakistani?
Now, the case of apostasy which I have in mind is not one that denies the existence of an all-powerful God, but one in which a change of religion has occurred in the search for the true God. I am referring to the conversion of the Afghan convert to Christianity, Abdul Rahman. According to available information Mr Rahman who is 41-year old converted to Christianity in 1990 when he was working for some Christian charity that delivered medical aid to Afghans. It is possible that he was disillusioned with the way the Taliban and other fanatics had brutalised Afghan society and upon reflection found the religion of Jesus (peace be upon him) closer to his heart and soul. What is particularly objectionable about that?
After all only recently the distinguished Pakistani cricketer Yusuf Youhanna converted to Islam and became Muhammad Yusuf. For Abdul Rahman Christianity apparently provided the moral anchor that a Talibanised Islam did not. Should he not have the same freedom as former Mr Youhanna?
It is the last few paras that really intrigued me with their forthrightness and candour!
The same article mentions that senior clerics in Afghanistan have already given the verdict that he should die. “We will not allow God to be humiliated”, Abdul Raouf a member of the Ulema Council, Afghanistan’s main clerical organisation, told Associated Press. “We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there’s nothing left.”
The problem is complicated because the Quran declares that there is no compulsion in religion. How should such an apparent contradiction be made to appear not a contradiction but a confirmation of the ulema’s view of apostasy? They argue that Islam does not force others to convert to Islam. Non-Muslims can retain their faith if they are a conquered people and agree to pay the jizya. However, if a Muslim abandons Islam it is an act of sedition since by adopting another religion he joins the enemy camp and is therefore a threat to the Islamic state and the Ummah.
Such twisted logic would make no sense to us who know that in the present world wars are not fought over beliefs but over strategic assets such as oil and natural gas. After all the most steadfast support for the most reactionary regime in the Muslim world, that of Saudi Arabia, was and is still provided by the USA. Similarly, Ayatollah Khomeini would not have returned safely to Iran had the French not provided him sanctuary and protection against the agents of Savak, the secret police of the late Shah of Iran. Similarly the Afghan reactionaries should feel some shame for rabidly turning against a convert to Christianity when the Christian USA helped them drive the Soviets out of their country.
I think the problem is not the silent majority of Muslims but the quiet minority of Muslim intellectuals who continue to confuse Islamism with anti-imperialism rather than see it as a Third World type of fascism.
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