Source: Inside Nova
By Shehla Ahmad, a Stafford County resident, can be reached at email@example.com.
Over the last few weeks multiple news items made me wonder why hatred is mistakenly perceived to be linked with religion, whereas the realities are so different.
In April I read about the anti-Islam advertisement that started running on 84 SEPTA buses in Philadelphia. The ad made a false allegation which said, “Islamic-Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran”. This ad was to run for four weeks.
However, it is of some relief to learn that for the time being this ad is disallowed as the MTA banned all political, religious and opinion ads from the transit system.
It was heartening to see them realize the clear distinction between free speech and hate speech.
Some days later, there was another unfortunate incident. Two shooters attacked an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas. This event was organized by none other than the same Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), who is also behind the anti-Islam hate-based ads mentioned above. AFDI is an anti-Islamic organization that is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
What was common in all three programs initiated by this AFDI? It is the propagation of anti-Islam sentiment and hate speech, done under the guise of free speech.
Without question, the violence at Garland, Texas, was condemned by all, including Muslims.
“Violence is never an acceptable response to hate speech, no matter how inflammatory and uncivilized that speech is,” said Nasim Rehmatullah, national vice president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA.
The press release continues:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA, recognizes the legal right to free speech. The community additionally implores all individuals to elevate their personal morality in speech, and to maintain civility and justice in all affairs.”
I kept thinking that the Holy Quran repeatedly teaches Muslims that all religions were originally from God and they all taught a two-fold message: love for God and love for the creation. Then how is it possible to imagine that the Holy Quran asks Muslims to hate people of other religions?
There is a prayer in the Holy Quran which each Muslim repeats tens of times in a single day when he offers his five daily Prayers, and it reads: “All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
This verse has a clear message for every Muslim. Allah is Lord of all the worlds, not just of Muslims, not just of people of faiths but also of those with no faith. How can a Muslim who repeats this prayer many times in a day ignore or forget that God loves all people as He belongs to all? If a Muslim claims to love God or wants to please Him, how can he even imagine doing it by hurting those whom God loves?
The life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was a true depiction of the Holy Quran. Once he was sitting with his companions while a funeral procession passed by. He stood up in respect of the funeral. Seeing this, one of his companions said: “This is the funeral procession of a Jewish person.”
On hearing this he gave a response which is a perfect manifestation of the Quran’s message of love for all. He said, “Was he not a human? Respect for all humans is obligatory.”
There is one question which I think is for all of us to ponder. Is exercise of such of our rights which are aimed at hurting emotions of others more important to us than mutual respect, care and concern?
Perfect response to hatred is love. So finally I came across something which promotes love. I read about the wonderful initiative in which we all can appreciate.
#FreeIceCream for kids and seniors is an initiative by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Baltimore. According to the reports in social media, more than 1,000 free ice creams have been shared. It has the message of #LoveForAll.
Although this initiative was in response to the Baltimore protests, this message of love and messages like these deserve to be spread far and wide rather than hate speech under guise of free speech.
It is simply more American. It is more human. This is a true Muslim’s voice. This is the message of all faiths. Hatred is not the message of the Quran. God will not teach hatred.
Shehla Ahmad, a Stafford County resident, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.