Sectarianism: The Yoke in Every Muslim’s Neck?

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Three years after a record 1.3 million migrants sought asylum in Europe, a majority of people in several European countries say they support taking in refugees who are fleeing violence and war, according to a Pew Research Center survey. However, most people in these countries disapprove of the way the European Union has dealt with the refugee issue.

Majorities in several EU countries support taking in refugeesAbout three-quarters or more of adults in Spain, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom support taking in refugees from countries where people are fleeing violence and war, according to a global survey conducted in the spring of 2018 that included 10 EU countries. Similar shares in Germany and Sweden – which saw large influxes of migrants seeking refugee status in 2015 and 2016 – back taking in refugees.

While Europe is once again rising to the contemporary challenges and is not being parochial or mean spirited and willing to save many of the Muslims from war torn countries, the Muslims are once again taking the low road and behaving in extreme parochial fashion in countries where they are in power.  Just yesterday, I read in Wall Street Journal that President Joko Widodo’s choice of Ma’ruf Amin, a 75-year-old cleric, as his running mate in next year’s election marks an ugly turn for Indonesian politics.

Mr. Amin has a history of intolerance. He signed a fatwa that put a Widodo ally, Jakarta’s former Gov. Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama, in jail on blasphemy charges. Ahok, who is Christian and ethnically Chinese, was a symbol of Indonesia’s diversity, and as a popular governor was expected to be re-elected. Instead he lost after rivals told Muslims not to vote for a non-Muslim.

Mr. Amin also signed the anti-Ahmadiyya fatwa in 2005, which led to severe restrictions and violence against the Ahmadiyya, an Islamic sect some Muslims regard as heretical. I met recently with Ahmadis in Depok, a Jakarta suburb, where their mosque is closed. The previous week they were visited by 15 local officials ordering them to stop all activities.

Mr. Amin has been behind other repressive measures, including restrictions on the construction of places of worship, proposals to criminalize homosexuality, support for female genital mutilation and local Shariah laws.

I have always wondered why the Muslims continue to regress after several centuries of humiliation at the hands of the West?

I think, I am finally beginning to figure out that the Muslims are condemned to this humiliation because of our sectarian reality.  The established order in each sect wants to promote a divided reality, to promote their hierarchy in the social order and the Muslim masses in their religious zeal, are very vulnerable for that unless they can be gradually deconditioned after centuries of conditioning, at the hands of the religious leaders of past and present.

The Muslim masses need to hear again and again and again from all pulpits that the best teachings of interfaith tolerance and universal brotherhood and sisterhood are real Islam and the parochial mantras of the Mullahs are pseudo-Islam. The 30 Articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are the real Islam and the Indonesian success in vilifying a successful Christian Governor and Pakistan’s success in forced step down of an Ahmadi economist are only political Islam that has kept the Muslims from progressing for the last so many centuries.

If we can be for human rights rather than for Islam in our public life the flood gates of progress for all Muslims in the global village will open up.  The centuries for sectarianism have long passed.

Suggested reading

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Punjabi Video: Comedy About PM Imran Khan and Atif Mian’s Fiasco

The Muslim Times Finally Has the Recipe to Unite All Muslims

Non-Sectarian Islam: The Proportionate Faith

Hajj and Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood

A New Commentary of the Holy Quran Emphasizing Compassion, Justice and Human Rights Launched

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

Forty Hadiths or Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad about Compassionate Living

We Will be Judged by Our Compassion and Deeds and Not Our Dogma

In the Wake of Sectarian Debate in Social Media, Rising Out of Pakistan Politics — Urgent Need for a New Paradigm

 

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