Whoever you are, Stop this Nonsense

Another attempted bombing. Another arrest. Is this madness going to stop? Is there an end to this craziness in sight?

Who are these people? They cannot be sincere Muslims.

What is driving them? It cannot be Islam, by any stretch of the imagination.

Even if they succeed in their bombing plots, what are they going to gain? Hell in the Hereafter for killing innocent people! Guilt in this world for unjustly bringing a bad name to Islam and Muslims! Internal torture from their conscience (if they have any) for causing pain to humanity! Curses from the poor victims of their stupidity!

Whose interest are they serving? Obviously, not Islam’s nor Muslims’.

Who is behind them? Is it actually just really stupid Muslims? Or is it non-Muslims pulling the strings to make Muslims look bad?

Does it even matter?

Whoever is truly behind it, whatever their motives are, it does not matter. After all, it is the fault of those who play it out! How can these people be so stupid?

I am more than fed up. Shut off the TV! Throw away the Newspaper! I cannot take it.

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Unreasonable Denial of Freedom

A few days ago I went to visit an ophthalmologist. In order to save everyone from the spread of virus infections, they have a policy of providing their staff and patients with masks. Their staff at the counter, as well as on the floor, were wearing masks covering their noses, mouths and a significant portion of their faces.  Hardly any patient was wearing a mask. Their appearance reminded me of the controversy in Quebec about women covering their faces, with only their eyes uncovered.  I could hardly see any difference between the women behind the masks and the woman with a veil whose picture I saw in the newspapers. In either case, their facial features were mostly covered.

The Quebec government has introduced a bill which will force face-covering women to remove their cover if they want to be served by a government employee. The excuse they have used is that the covered face hampers communication and that it is disrespectful to the employees serving the woman. If communication is truly the issue, then the first ban should be on the mask because niqaab (the face cover) is a loose cloth hung over one’s face, as compared to the mask which covers the nose and mouth snugly, and thus, can hamper the communication more than a niqaab can. As for the disrespect, should I feel offended by the mask wearing women on the counter because they are implying that I am carrying viruses while, in fact, I am quite clean and healthy?

The point is that the excuses behind the proposed legislation are baseless and lame. The proposed legislation is, in reality, depriving people of their rights just because their views and practices are different from the majority.  The Canadian and Quebec human rights codes were enacted to protect minorities precisely from this kind of prejudicial railroading.

The proposed legislation is absolutely not a reasonable accommodation, but an unreasonable denial of freedom to a small helpless minority in violation of their fundamental human rights.

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Right to Bare and Cover vs. Bigotry and Hypocrisy

In 1991 a Guelph woman decided to bare her breasts in public and walked bare-breasted through the city streets. She was initially charged based on the complaint of a mother whose children watched her. She was convicted and fined. In 1992 five women and a teenager in Waterloo bared their breasts in public as a protest and several women did so in a similar protest in Ottawa. Later on, an appeal court acquitted her. Even in normal living, there are many women who walk around in ultra-mini skirts, giving the impression that their intention is to attract attention, and not to cover. In the business environment, there are many women who come to work with not only their cleavage but also quite a bit of their breasts on open display.

The arguments that are usually given in favour of exposure are that it is a personal right of people and that if you find it offensive or inappropriate, look the other way.

Then there are those women who want to cover themselves up, especially those who choose to cover their faces. Every now and then their niqaab, face veil, becomes a news item. What I do not understand is that if women have a right to reveal, why are they being deprived of the fundamental right to cover, especially when uncovering a woman’s face is not needed either for identification or security purposes or for whatever she is doing while covering her face? If people around them feel offended, why can’t they look the other way?

I have read some opinions saying that women should not do so because it is not a religious obligation. But whether the religion requires it or not is totally irrelevant to a person’s right to cover, if she wants to. In addition, why is anyone giving the niqaab-wearer a verdict on religious teachings? Have those ladies asked for anyone’s opinion on the matter? What right do others have to decide for them what their religious stance should be? The only opinion that matters is that of the niqaab-wearer and what SHE thinks her religious obligation is.

Some bigots have suggested that such women should not have come to live in Canada if they were going to live in that manner and that they should follow the customs and fashions of this society if they want to live here. Well, if newcomers to this land cannot bring new ideas, new practices and new ways and if that is a valid rule, then we should all change ourselves to conform to the Native lifestyle, fashions, and way of doing things as they were practised before Europeans arrived.

The bottom line is: if you are not a bigot or a hypocrite, leave those ladies alone, recognize their right to make a decision about what they want to cover and what they want to reveal. They will not bite you. If you do not like their looks, you are free to look the other way!

(In case you are wondering, none in my family wears niqaab. This comment is strictly from a civil liberties and human rights perspective. My personal views from a religious perspective are detailed in my booklet “Unveiling the commands – The Truth about Hijaab, Khimaar and Jilbaab”.)

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Thinking Out of the Box - Vancouver Olympics

People continue doing many things just because they have always been done them in the past, without ever stopping to think if:
  • They are still relevant to the needs and realities of today;
  • They serve any useful purpose;
  • They add any value or are sheer wastage of time, energy and resources.
They are conditioned to do those things in a traditional way and they continue without realizing how senseless what they are doing is. Their absurdity becomes obvious only when someone thinks outside the box. Thinking outside the box is what has brought progress and advancement to the society.

Successful business enterprises gain efficiencies and increase their wealth by reviewing their processes and procedures every now and then to eliminate wasteful activities that are not adding value towards the business objectives. But unfortunately, when it comes to social and political arena, no one dares to challenge the "traditions" regardless of how ridiculous and wasteful they are. Because of their "sentimental" value, they become the sacred cows of the society.

One such sacred cow is the Olympic flame which is ignited in Olympia, Greece, and carried all over the world through torch relays to the Olympic stadium where it is maintained 24/7 for the duration of the games. Pains are taken, backups maintained and multiple version of the original flame preserved in order to ensure that the flame in the stadium cauldron can trace a common lineage back to the Olympia lighting ceremony – all because of some pagan Greek superstition. Consider all the money, time and resources that are spent and damage to the environment and ecology done.

I thought we were living in a rational world in a scientific era.


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Devastation in Haiti

Haiti has been devastated by an earthquake.

Whenever there is a disaster and we see people suffer, many troubling questions come to mind. Those who do not believe in God challenge the existence of God on that basis and ask the question: If there were a God, would He cause all such suffering to His creation? Those who believe in God wonder: Why does the loving / merciful God make people suffer through such tragedies and devastations? Different people have different answers to this question. Many people think that these devastations are punishments from God / Allaah. Then the question arises, why are they punished? Why are poor people disproportionately affected by these devastations? Why are the rich and powerful culprits not punished? And the list of questions goes on. For answers to such questions from the proper Islamic perspective, please read my article “Natural Disasters and the Questions They Raise” which I wrote when disaster hit the Kashmir valley in Pakistan. It can be found here. A brief Urdu article that I wrote for Haiti is available here.

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