22 July, 2009

World Day for Germany's 'hijab martyr'

The gruesome murder of a hijab-clad Egyptian woman by a German racist last week is continuing to send shockwaves among Muslims, while inspiring many to make a stand. A proposal put forward by one of IslamOnline.net's readers for a World Hijab Day to mark the death of Marwa Al-Sherbini drew immediate support from around the world."We are throwing our weight behind this proposal," says Abeer Pharaon, the chair of the Assembly for the Protection of Hijab."Sherbini is not only a hijab martyr but also a victim of Islamophobia, from which European Muslims are suffering," she stressed. "Her death deserves to be commemorated and marked as a World Hijab Day."Sherbini, 32, was stabbed to death by a 28-year German of Russian origin in a courtroom in the eastern city of Dresden on Wednesday, July 1.He stabbed her 18 times before the pregnant woman was to testify against him for insulting her for wearing hijab.Sherbini's husband, who was preparing to discuss his Masters next month, was also injured when he tried to intervene to protect her.The despicable crime sparked calls by IOL readers for action in defense of Hijab, an obligatory code of dress that every Muslim woman must wear.One reader suggested marking the tragic death of the young woman with a special day on which Muslim women across the world would take to the streets to defend their dress code."We are supporting the proposal," Rawa Al-Abed, an official in the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, told IOL."We are also calling for organizing more events to raise awareness about the rights of Muslim women in Europe, including wearing hijab."Many Muslims marks the International Hijab Solidarity Day in the first week of September.The day was launched by the London-based Assembly for the Protection of Hijab (Protect Hijab) in 2004 to protest a French law banning hijab in state schools.IslamophobiaMuslim leaders say Sherbini's murder is a reminder of the prevailing Islamophobia in the West. "What happened to her is very dangerous," Sami Dabbah, spokesman for the Coalition Against Islamophobia, told IOL.He said the Paris-based Coalition has repeatedly wounded the alarm over growing anti-hijab sentiments in the West."We had warned that one day we will see a Muslim woman being killed because of her hijab."Amina Nusser, professor of theology and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, supports the World Hijab Day proposal."It will be a practical response to unjustified enmity to hijab," she told IOL."It will be an opportunity to remind the West of their injustice to Muslim women and will also be a chance to show the West that Islam calls for pluralism."Nusser insisted that the requirement for Muslim women to wear modestly is no different from other faiths."Christian Orthodox women still wear a veil and modest clothes before entering churches."Mohamed Al-Bazzawi, the chairman of the Muslim Association of Denmark, agrees."A Hijab Day will remind Westerners that it is Muslim woman's right to wear what she likes just as non-Muslim women wear what they like," he told IOL."Those who only talk about women's rights in the West should realize that they should not deny Muslim women the right to wear hijab."

20 July, 2009

Sacrilege’ and the Nightmare of ‘Freedom’”

Most of us have esteemed religions and creeds; believing in a certain faith, prophet(s) and a holy book, praying to a unique God and struggling to behave in a way that please Him, or so we believe.
To followers of monotheistic religions including Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Islam, there is just one God supposed to be the owner and creator of the whole universe and its components. While believers might assign various names to this creator and possessor of everything, which is natural due to the cultural and linguistic differences, it does not make any difference in the nature, unity and almighty nature of the lord.
The thing is that we believe a single and unparalleled God has created us, assisted us and guided us through a firm path in his unity. Such a God who is able to design the construction of man’s mind with its endless capabilities, design the arrayed rotation of four seasons without any disorder and design millions of flower species with special smell for each of them would undoubtedly have no collaborator and needs no help to incarnate his privileges and powers; otherwise he would not be called as the “creator”.
We don’t attribute each of the natural resources and powers to a special god and don’t believe in a group of gods who co-work with each other to manage and maintain the incidents of the world. Such a belief is potentially unacceptable and rejected since all of us know well that the creation is not a nigh-patrol job to be shifted by reserve guardians.
Creation means making something appeared from “nothing”; endowing existence to something that was not existing before. By the exact means of the word, creation should be interpreted as an exclusive business which does not come from humankind.
Have you ever thought about the industrial or scientific inventions? What the innovators do? Do they create something new? Of course not! They just use previously existing materials, fix and mix them together, handle them in a different way and conclude a new production. I’ve to confess that their process of working is complicated too much; needing creativity and originality which most of ordinary people lack, but their work is not to produce things by using their own-made “materials” and “tools”.
Such a clear and realistic way of thinking is owed to the progressive doctrine of monotheistic religions that lead the mankind toward advanced scopes of thought. So you see, supposing numerous gods for the world and stating that rains, snows, days, nights, love, hate, childhood and adolescence are dominated by each of them indicates the shortsightedness and illiteracy of some of our ancestors in ancient civilizations.
But all of the illiteracy is not limited to those who believe in several gods. On the other hand, we have the irreligious who don’t assume any creator for the enormous cosmos which they are living in. They think that the world came into existence accidentally without any former plans or schedules and its inhabitants also “tumbled” on the earth suddenly rather than being “created”.
However, I am not going to criticize the viewpoints of non-believers, since, believing in nothing is somehow a type of belief itself.
In this brief debate, I have also nothing to bring to the table about with agonists, atheists, seculars or the others who believe that religion does not play any role in the daily life. Of course, they have not any concerns about “the other world”, not afraid of punishment as a consequence of their sins and unlawful acts, never minding about a superior observer who witnesses all of their deeds, rarely preventing themselves from “wining and dining”.
Sometimes, you may begrudge to them who live and commit liberally, having no restrictions, feeling responsible to nobody but to their desires and wishes, not bothering themselves to take part in prayers and rituals, apparently enjoying life.
This does not mean that a religious believer is deprived of material joys, but he tries to live a in a way pleasing to his God, meaning with little regard for superficial entertainment. He is confident that his exercises and mortifications would be granted luxuriously someday and somewhere.
All of the 6 billions living on the Earth have their particular religious, political and personal beliefs and nobody is allowed to convict and interrogate them because of “having” them. Honestly, the beliefs are mixed with the private territory of individuals and privacy is respectable, something that not to be threatened.
But the question is that, how these personal ideologies and beliefs sometimes violate the privacy of others. Others who have certain kinds of freedoms and rights like us.
It is an accepted fact everywhere in the world that “freedom of religion” must be respected. All of us are free to choose our beloved religions and act upon them without being offended by others.
The interesting matter is that some of the Western countries believe in this “freedom of religion” in a slightly distorted way; it has become “the freedom of no religion,” or even “the freedom of not being bothered by any religion.” They declare that people are free to having no religion and those who are irreligious are under absolute support and security.
If the purpose was the protection of all believers and non-believers in an equal way without discrimination, that would be OK, but evidently, the main goal of western states is not to advocate the freedom of religion, but to propagate atheism and irreligiousness, while it was rarely observed any efforts done by them to protect the believers of Abrahamic faiths. The European and Northern American countries are the only parts of the world in which mosques are destroyed and replaced by railroads.
Denmark is the only country of the world in which newspapers are allowed to publish insulting cartoons for a divine prophet under the pretext of media freedom. The United States is the only country of the world in which being Muslim could potentially be a serious threat and make everyone suspicious of you after any crime is committed.
American soldiers are the only soldiers of the world who could allow themselves to point their guns toward the Holy Quran and shoot it, because they come from the “beacon of freedom” and the other countries are “the axis of evil.”
France is the only country of the world in which the hijab-wearing female students could be banned from universities because of obeying the Islamic clothing and not dressing up in the strange western styles.
Britain is the only country of the world in which the writer of “Satanic verses” could be honored to receive the Knight title because of introducing some innovative ways of insulting Muslims and Islam.
The Netherlands is the only country of the world in which a parliament member could be called the “symbol of freedom” because of producing an affronting movie which insults all those who adhere to Islam, and practice it in their daily lives.
I don’t know exactly that what disasters would happen under the flag of “freedom” and “democracy” in the future, but it would be better to evacuate the entire world from that type of democracy which just deals with “insult”, “aspersion” and “outrage”.
I am wondering that whether this “Made in the West” democracy has other functions rather than spreading disagreement among people and exacerbating the atrocities.
As a non-aligned, independent and freelance journalist, I prefer to be “stupid”, “uninformed” or “unlettered” if blasphemy and insulting the values of billions of people is a sign of “intellectuality” and “freedom of speech.”

11 July, 2009

Iran takes up case of hijab martyr

The cruel murder of an Egyptian Muslim woman in Germany has come as a shock to the world, and especially the Islamic world, and Iran has denounced the killing which was inspired by prejudice against Muslims.

Marwa al-Sherbini, a 32-year-old Egyptian who was about four months pregnant and wore the hijab, had pressed charges against her neighbor for calling her a terrorist and was set to testify against him when he stabbed her 18 times inside a courtroom in front of her 3-year-old son on July 1 in Dresden. Al-Sherbini’s husband came to her aid and was also stabbed by the assailant and shot in the leg by a security guard who mistook him for the attacker, German prosecutors said. He is now in critical condition in a German hospital, according to al-Sherbini's brother. Iranians have been greatly saddened by the murder. Tehran citizens held a symbolic funeral for the woman. Students also plan to hold a protest rally in front of the German Embassy in Tehran. The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the German and Italian ambassadors to Tehran on Friday to protest about the Group of Eight leaders’ inaction over the murder of the young woman. In his meeting with German Ambassador Herbert Honsowitz, the director of the Western Europe Department of the Foreign Ministry criticized the German government for its slow response to the shocking crime and stated that Germany is responsible for ensuring the security of minorities living in the country, including Muslim residents. The crime was another example of Islamophobia in the West and the fact that Western media outlets downplayed the story once again showed the West’s selective approach toward human rights, he noted. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Italian ambassador because his country hosted the Group of Eight summit in L’Aquila. The handling of the case was “a clear example of the West’s double standards toward human rights issues,” the Foreign Ministry official told Italian Ambassador Alberto Bradanini. It is said that the assailant originally began to verbally insult the victim because she wore the Islamic headscarf, the hijab. Al-Sherbini filed charges against the man for the verbal insults. In the Islamic world, she is called the hijab martyr.

Iran urges OIC to respond to murder

Iran has asked the Organization of the Islamic Conference to establish a committee to investigate such “inhumane acts” and to take measures to prevent such acts from recurring. The murder of the woman before the eyes of police in the courtroom shed light on the “degree of insecurity and the increasing wave of hatred directed at refugees and religious minorities in Germany,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday. The “intentional double-standard” approach toward human rights has provided the ground for the “spread of racism and disrespect” for refugees and Muslim minorities in Western countries, the statement added. Many in Egypt were outraged by the attack and saw the low-key response in Germany as an example of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment. The 32-year-old pharmacist moved to Germany four years ago to be with her husband, who was granted a fellowship to study genetic engineering at the Max Planck Institute. Thousands attended al-Sherbini’s funeral in her hometown of Alexandria just a few hours after her body arrived in Egypt on Monday morning, the Los Angeles Times said in a report on its website. Mourners carried banners condemning racism and criticized both German and Egyptian authorities’ response to the crime. Although the Egyptian Foreign Ministry denounced the act and asked the German Foreign Ministry for an official response, Egyptians were upset at the way their government dealt with the matter. “The passive policy adopted by the Foreign Ministry will lead to similar incidents against other Egyptians and Muslims abroad,” said al-Sherbini’s brother Tarek. “Now we as Muslims and Arabs have a chance to show the whole world that real terrorism takes place in the West,” he added. “In the West, they don’t recognize us. There is racism there.” The funeral, which was attended by a large number of Egyptian politicians and parliament members, was overwhelmed with chants such as “We need revenge”; “Where is our Foreign Ministry?”; “Down with Germany”; and “No to racism”. The Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany condemned the murder of the Egyptian woman and said the way Germany treats Muslims is unacceptable. The organization also called for serious efforts to ensure that such acts never occur again in Germany and to stamp out prejudice against Muslims in the European country.