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Books and Documents

Islam and Tolerance

Religious Extremism and Intolerance in Pakistan
Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Religious Extremism and Intolerance in Pakistan
Malik Muhammad Ashraf

Pakistan has become hostage to the self-proclaimed righteous guardians of the religious tenets as interpreted by them against the spirit of Islam, which believes in building social harmony, peace and protection of the minorities living in an Islamic country.….

 

At least in the popular imagination, Sindhi culture is seen as the last vestige of religious and cultural syncretism that was once spread all over Pakistan, including Jhang. For example, Jhule Lal, a deity of the Sindhi community, is revered by Muslims and Hindus alike. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar a Muslim mystic who tapped into Shaivistic asceticism and translated it into a Muslim ethos...

Indonesia’s plural legal system is similar to those of India, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium and Spain in providing a mixture of individual and collective forms of recognition. Indonesia’s mass Islamic organisations are similar to those of Senegal, Egypt, and Turkey as well as to mass Christian organisations in Northern Europe and Latin America….

 

The use of blasphemy laws is linked to rising religious intolerance. In recent years hard-line Islamists have become increasingly assertive, railing against deviants, heretics and their ilk. Muslim parties in parliament have pushed laws against alcohol, pornography and sexual minorities. Yet it is not at all clear that these moves have widespread support….

 

Our entire religious discourse revolves around worshiping the name of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) rather than following in his footprints. The whole life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was an epitome of tolerance, and that too with everyone including the non-believers. Not everyone embraced Islam neither was it required of the scheme of God when Islam was revealed. ....

The issue of whether ‘Alī or Abū Bakr should have succeeded the Prophet is completely historical and absolutely irrelevant to our world today. Any attempt to use it to take a view on today’s world is an attempt to manipulate history to serve present interests and/or to take the world 14 centuries back in time. In both cases, it is ultimately about exercising power and control. There is nothing godly or religious about playing out this difference of the past in today’s world......

Islam lays great emphasis on religious tolerance but currently, it is at its lowest in many Muslim societies. Islamic State’s (IS's) destruction of churches and massacre of members of the Shia faith has also tarnished the image of Islam. In Pakistan too, certain segments of society show a lack of tolerance towards other sects of Islam and other religious and ethnic minorities....

In Pakistan, stirring religious hatred is unlawful. The law clearly states that any act or speech which instigates sectarian odium, whether inadvertently or wilfully, can lead up to a possible prison sentence for nearly seven years. Yet, there are hundreds of these clerics on the loose, who incite hatred every day....

 
Bangladesh: Freedom and Death
S. Binodkumar Singh
Bangladesh: Freedom and Death
S. Binodkumar Singh

"Al-Qaeda in Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) is taking responsibility of killing Ananta Bijoy." AQIS, in another message posted on justpaste.it declared: "We want to say to atheist bloggers! We don't forget and we will not forget others who insult our beloved Prophet Muhammad and Allah. Another file closed! Stay tuned for next target....

 

Ananda Bijoy Das was killed just two days ago in Sylhet, Bangladesh for simply saying, writing and expressing his opinions. Bangladesh had a strong secular tradition which is now being eroded. I was always proud of the fact that Bangladesh hadn't fallen to the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism….

 

In the long and ongoing contest between an intolerant conception of Islam and a rationalist idea of what it means to be Bengali Muslim, the bloggers sadly are not the first victims. Sceptics, including prominent literary figures like Daud Haider in the 1970s and Taslima Nasreen in the 1990s, have faced strong Islamist backlash and have had to leave the country for good....

 

The group have been marked for death by Hefazat-e-Islam, quite an effective arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, the religious-political organisation that wants Bangladesh to become like Pakistan, the country it broke away from. Ananda Bijoy Das has been hacked to death, meeting the same fate. He was walking out of his home in Sylhet when four people chased him and clobbered his head with machetes....

 

She continued to condemn the mainstream media who continue to "severely criticize Muslims and their religion" and to use them as scapegoats. Ironically, during her time with PEGIDA, Oertel had condemned the media for not being critical enough of Islam, immigration and the rising numbers of asylum seekers in Germany....

In conversations with scholars, many pinpointed the frailty of institutions and economies compared to those of other world powers as the source of intolerance in the Arab world. “We are weak,” says Mohamed Farag, a journalist from a Muslim family who describes himself as agnostic. “We need something to protect ourselves from the outside world and Islam is the only option we have....

 
Religious Tolerance in Islam
Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi

The Prophet of Islam faced much difficulty and opposition in his own birth- place, the city of Mecca. He was eventually forced to migrate to Medina. But in spite of all the oppo­sition and even physical torture that his followers suffered in Mecca, Prophet Muhammad always approached the unbelievers of Mecca with tolerance....

 
Islam Does Not Preach Intolerance
Md. Asadullah Khan
Islam Does Not Preach Intolerance
Md. Asadullah Khan

Devout Muslims are always shocked to hear that the name of their faith, which means submission to Allah, can summon up such images of violence. Despite all the past visions of Saracens battling Crusaders, today's confrontations, as we see, is not a devotional conflict but a clash between perceptions of reality....

 

Bangladesh, historically a country of sedate Muslims who, more or less, believed, till recently, in peaceful coexistence of many faiths and many beliefs, has started losing the collective tolerance bit by bit....

 
Because I am a Pakistani
Sajeer Shaikh
Because I am a Pakistani
Sajeer Shaikh

Every religion preaches forgiveness, but there comes a time when forgiveness is no longer the answer. There is no room for forgiveness, as far as justice is concerned. The finger that pulls the trigger and the hand that throws the acid or grips the knife must be cut....

 
A Letter Concerning Muslim Toleration
Mustafa Akyol
A Letter Concerning Muslim Toleration
Mustafa Akyol

Over the past decade, headlines from the Middle East have reintroduced Westerners to terms from centuries past. “Heresy,” “blasphemy,” “apostasy” — these are some of the charges that the radical Salafist group known as the Islamic State invokes when it executes its enemies, sometimes by crucifying or burning them alive. Some Muslim governments, including United States allies, also mete out harsh punishments for similar offenses. The liberal blogger Raif Badawi was publicly flogged in Saudi Arabia last month on a charge of heresy, which he allegedly committed by criticizing the oppressive Saudi religious establishment.

Rising Intolerance in Indonesia
Ahmad Sueady
Rising Intolerance in Indonesia
Ahmad Sueady

Indonesia’s religion problem is part of a broader regional trend. In nearby Brunei, the government has banned at least eight “deviant” religions and fines schools for teaching any non-Islamic religious subjects. Similarly, Malaysia has banned 56 “deviant” interpretations of Islam, including Ahmaddiyah, Islamailiah, Shi'a, and Bahai. In Myanmar, the government has dealt harshly with Rohingya Muslims and Buddhist religious leaders……

 

In Islam, tolerance is to respect the religious difference though not approving it. Concretely, for instance it is like this that although Islam prohibits drinking for Muslims, it allows its non-Muslims community to consume it if their religion does not forbid doing so. Islam’s attitude towards non-Muslim is, “for you is your faith, and for me my faith” (109:6). Islam is completely against forced conversion. The Holy Quran states, “There is no compulsion in faith. The correct way has become distinct from erroneous”… (2:256). Islam even proscribes reviling the deities of other religions…..

 
Islam's Tolerance of Religious Minorities
Syed Farid Alatas
Islam's Tolerance of Religious Minorities
Syed Farid Alatas

The Ottoman Empire (1299-1023) went beyond tolerance and accepted non-Muslim minorities, granting them protection and religious freedoms. By the 16th century, the Ottomans established control over large parts of Europe, ruling over large Christian populations. Sultan Mehmed developed a system in which each religious community, or millet, elected its own leader and enforced its own religious laws. Orthodox Christians constituted a millet; the Jews another. A proper approach to the interpretation of Quranic texts, involving a correct contextual understanding of its meanings, and the study of Islamic history, will reveal that tolerance and acceptance of non-Muslim minorities were the norm…..

 

Like all the Abrahamic religions, Islam is founded on tolerance. So why are droves of Islamic militants able to practise such brutality, asks Ahmed Naguib Roushdy ... The division of Muslims into sects, Sunnis and Shias, and the division of the Sunnis into four sub-sects, adds to the misunderstanding of the real Sharia. In Egypt, the Sunni Hanafi sub-sect is the official one. But sects are not relevant to Sharia. In fact, I consider the Egyptian law requiring that all court judgments follow the Hanafi sub-sect an imposition on Muslims to follow one sub-sect, when the Quran says, “la ikraha fi eddeen” (there is no compulsion in religion).

 

Islam was not particularly intolerant, and it initially elevated the status of women. Anybody looking at the history even of the 20th century would not single out Islam as the bloodthirsty religion; it was Christian/Nazi/Communist Europe and Buddhist/Taoist/Hindu/atheist Asia that set records for mass slaughter......

The intense religious fanaticism that characterised the Spanish Inquisition was conspicuously absent in Muslim countries where Jews carried out their religious pursuits unhindered. Intellectually Islamic culture borrowed large-heartedly from Greek culture. Indeed, the Hellenistic tradition, on which Western culture is based, did not come directly from the Greeks but through the Muslims who preserved it, added to it and passed it on to Europe when it emerged from the ‘dark ages.’….

 
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