Op-ed by Dr Qari Muhammad Asim MBE
As the New Year starts, we remember all those magical moments when we achieved something; we cherish the memories of our accomplishments, or those of our loved ones. End of a year also provides an opportunity to reflect upon the events of the past year. Unfortunately for Muslims, the year 2014 has been regularly punctuated by tragic deaths and brutal violence that has been committed in the name of a religion. Such brutal and horrific events include:
· Boko Haram’s abduction of school girls in Nigeria and violence against communities
· Continued violence in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Myanmar and displacement of people
· The rise of ISIS /ISIL/ Daesh and the capturing, kidnapping, and killing of thousands of people, including public executions
· Taliban massacring school children in Peshawar, Pakistan.
There is no magic wand that can be waived to solve all the problems of the Muslim community. What is desperately needed is a creative, inclusive and robust action plan to revive the Muslim community (Ummah).
Suggestions To Revive The Muslim Community
Start of a new year is usually a time when people make a resolution(s) to improve themselves, to re-gain control of their health and wealth etc, to get things back on track. We recommend that Muslims join in making a collective resolution in 2015 to revive the dignity, liberty and spirit of the Muslim community. The following are some practical suggestions that can lead us towards the right direction in reviving and sustaining our communities:
Only unity and solidarity can bring about sustainable peace in Muslim communities. Unity refers to agreement in beliefs; harmony in behaviour, and union in manners. Unity will only be achieved if there is creative cooperation.
2. Embracing Diversity
Muslims must learn to manage differences and embrace diversity in religious and political ideology; co-existence between different communities and schools of thought is part of the Divine plan. Muslim leadership must realise its responsibility to build castles of peace in people’s hearts and minds, and not caves of hate and detestation.
3. Eliminating Injustice
Muslim governments must address economic, political and social injustices and inequities that exist in their countries. This will also require re-thinking the extent of foreign influence in their internal policies. Poverty, lack of job opportunities, corruption, nepotism, loss of dignity, liberty, justice and equality are all contributing to violence and revenge in the world.
Injustice occurs in this world but taking up arms for what is right, does not make right the wrongs committed. Without a conciliatory mindset our world will forever remain full of pain and suffering, full of heartache and sorrow, because as one enemy is defeated another will sprout back in its place.
Dr Qari Muhammad Asim MBE is the Senior Imam at Makkah Masjid (UK.
Twitter: @QariAsim – Email: QMAsim@yahoo.co.uk