Archive for March 2010

‘Top’ Muslim cleric issues fatwa against violence

March 4, 2010

Mullah Tahir ul Qadri, who visits Chicago regularly, recently issued a 600 page fatwa (edict) condemning violence in the name of Islam for any reason. For this act, Muslim and non-Muslim media alike are hailing him as a revolutionary. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth. This praise for Mullah ul Qadri is misplaced and unjustified for several reasons.

First, for nearly a decade now some so called Muslims have actively engaged in suicide bombings and other atrocities. Why did it take Mullah ul Qadri a full decade to realize that perhaps violence in the name of Islam is wrong? Imagine the lives that could have been saved if he expressed this feature of Islam in 2000, instead of 2010.

Second, historically, Mullah ul Qadri has actively persecuted and spoken out against religious minorities, particularly Muslim minorities. How can a man who has no tolerance for a different religious point of be trusted to stop violence against them? Pakistan’s blasphemy laws were enacted in his time and with his knowledge and support, and as a result, thousands of religious minorities have been beaten up, harassed, and even murdered. Mullah ul Qadri has not offered even a single statement of concern or rebuke.

Third, Mullah ul Qadri believes the punishment for apostasy in Islam is death. Aside from the fact that this is not true, Mullah ul Qadri insists that a peaceful Islam can co-exist with an Islam that kills those who choose to accept a different faith. He is a prime example of a walking contradiction.

The last and most crucial point is that Imam Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of India declared over 100 years ago that violence has no place in Islam. Muslims who follow Mirza Ghulam Ahmad provide a 100 plus year history of absolute non-violence. Not a single example can be found to the contrary. Mullah ul Qadri considers Imam Ahmad a heretic for this peaceful interpretation of Jihad. Now, it seems that Mullah ul Qadri has boarded the wagon. How unfortunate that he does not give credit where it is due.

If Mullah Tahir ul Qadri is sincere about his beliefs in a peaceful Islam, let him truly act. To do this, he must first apologize for not issuing the fatwa sooner and allowing thousands to perish in the meantime. Next, he must actively work to revoke the blasphemy laws he endorsed either by action or with his silence. Third, he must acknowledge that his so called profound understanding of Jihad is in fact the very understanding for which he called Imam Ahmad a heretic.

Once Mullah ul Qadri can take these steps, he can be trusted. As long as he promotes his beliefs of death for apostasy and the suppression of the rights of non-Muslims, he should not be allowed in our nation, let alone our city. He is just another politician trying to get support by telling people what he thinks they want to hear.


What’s really behind female inequality in American?

March 3, 2010

Jessica Valenti has opened my eyes to a deeper insight. Ms. Valenti described female oppression in America through physical abuse, sexual abuse and sexism in the workplace. As a Muslim woman who proudly observes hijab and interacts with men on strictly professional levels, I have been protected from these oppressive acts. The day women stop serving men merely as a commodity that comes in different hairstyles and makeup, their dream of equality will materialize.

How ironic that my hijab is looked upon as a tool of female oppression.

Ayesha N. Rashid, Richmond

Appeared in Washington Post on 27 Feb 2010

French Parliament Continues to Amaze

March 3, 2010

Editor, Times-Dispatch: France does not cease to amaze. From French fashion to anti-Muslim laws, everything that is “made in France” is unique in nature. A shrewd French parliamentary committee has recommended a partial ban on veils, citing veils as a threat to the “values of the Republic.”

Is it possible that the mere 1,900 French Muslim women who choose the veil are a threat? This intrusive ban takes away their right of using public transportation, hospitals, schools, and government offices while wearing the niqab. In other words, it infringes on the basic human rights of those 1,900 women whose personal choice is to cover their faces.

A ban on the choice of clothing does not suit a place known as the fashion capital of the world. It seems French values prefer half-naked women on the catwalk to women who choose to cover themselves in the walk of life.

Ayesha N. Rashid.

Appeared in NY Times on January 29, 2010 and in Richmod Time-Despatch on February 10, 2010