Friday, December 14, 2007

Who Is To Blame for Our Messed Up and Violent World?

By Ibrahim M. Abdil-Mu'id Ramey

For some time now, I've taken the position that we, as Muslims, must take collective responsibility for the actions of those who profess Islam. In my humble opinion, this is what our beloved Qur'an instructs us to do when we are told to be "witnesses for justice, even when we are witnesses against ourselves".

But some misguided people believe that this internal self-examination is tantamount to admitting that either (1) all Muslims are unjust, or (2) that Muslims are apologists for injustice, or (3) that Islam, itself, is the locus of evil in the modern world.

None of these things are true.

In response to one a recent blog critic otherwise known as 'Pundita', who slammed my essay on the "Teddy Bear" incident in Sudan, accusing me of not knowing "whay year we'in today" - I have written the following response.

For the record, I do, indeed, know what year it is, and what you mischaracterize as the "self-pity" of the title of my essay was actually meant to convey that Muslims should not "bear" the identification of involvement with injustice, which certainly characterized the actions of the Sudanese government in this issue.

Muslims do, indeed, need to collectively uphold human rights and democracy; as do the Chinese government, the ZANU-PF party of Robert Mugabe, Hindu fundamentalists, North Korean Stalinists, Burmese militarists, Russian nationalists, Christian fundamentalists (and their Israeli allies who have institutionalized the occupation and theft of Palestinian land), and many, many others.

This indictment doesn't even begin to examine the ongoing structural and environmental violence of an out-of-control system of consumption that drives the global poor into more poverty and desperation (Ghandi, I believe, taught us that poverty is the most extreme form of violence).

The world is full of injustice. Blood is on many, many hands.

Muslims are certainly guilty of our share of it, and we are certainly collectively responsible for overturning injustice and establishing a universal respect for human rights and individual dignity.

But not all of the unjust villains are Muslims, and I would suggest that you, yourself, look at what year it is, and how many other parties in our violent and divided world are complicit in the abominations and oppressions that you singularly heap on Muslims and "Islamists".

No comments: