Dear Sir or Madam,
We have been patient, waiting for ever so long, for you and your fellow travelers to rise up and be counted. (Indeed, to be willingly accepted into the family of human kind.) The print media, radio and television outlets from around the world, and world leaders have taken great pains (most notably our President) in trying to point out our ongoing war against terror was not going to be painted with a broad brush against what has been called â€œThe Religion of Peaceâ€. Rather it would be targeting the so called radical factions which have seemingly infected your faith.
Given this is the case. And that progress has been made both in Afghanistan and Iraq in bringing about a climate which is supposed to be more favorable in allowing a greater diversity of voices to be heard. Why havenâ€™t we heard from you, or seen you protest in the same numbers your more militant brethren produced when they felt slighted? Failing that, why havenâ€™t we really seen a new crop of legitimately moderate Muslim leaders come to the fore â€¦ being a real â€œvoice of the peopleâ€?
(Will it be totally safe to do so? No, due to the nature of your more fundamentalist factions, there will be some level of risk involved in speaking your mind, and in seeking to bring about legitimate change to your religion/countries. When our nation was conceived and forged in the fires of freedom and liberty, the great men who assumed the leadership of same, gave willingly of their fortunes, their lives, their sacred honor in order that this new nation would be given a chance to see the light of day. Are you saying by your silence you are not capable of doing the same?)
But, my vocally shy moderates, letâ€™s assume you are not in the midst of the turmoil going on in the Middle East (and elsewhere). Perhaps you have relocated to the safer shores of Europe, Canada, Australia, or the United States.
Here you can freely speak you peace. Comfortable in the knowledge we cherish freedom of speech above almost all else.
Here you can practice your faith without fear of a knock on the door because you are not following the proscribed religion of the State. Our most precious document and national disposition demand no one religion be held above all others.
Here, unless it is proven in our secular court system you have violated a given law, you may do what you will, wear what you will, think what you will, in your religious buildings and or in the privacy of your home.
Here you are free to disagree with your neighbor, your town, state, or the nation itself.
So my Muslim friend(s), residing in this country, why so mute?
Perhaps your voice would come more easy to you if we provided questions. So in the interest of helping you to become more vocal in expressing how and why you should be considered a â€œmoderateâ€ or even â€œprogressiveâ€ thinking Muslim, Over the next few days or as time allows I will posit you some questions. The first shall appear in this post. Others will follow as separate posts. All shall be referenced as much as possible so as not to be taken out of context. There are no right or wrong answers, your faith after all is a personal thing. But be advised, dear follower of Islam, I suspect there can be true or false answers. And a false answer or lying does nothing to advance your cause.
Though there are others whose thoughts and words are revered though out your faith, there is one who is preeminent, and that would be Muhammad. He is the one you acknowledge as being the one true prophet. Anointed by God to receive (and spread) â€œThe wordâ€œ. That the one supreme God of all is Allah, and in his perfection he selected Muhammad (1)(2) and gave the word to him.
If this premise is true, how could a perfect being (Allah) select a pedophile(3)(4)(5) as his prophet? And by extension allow for the marriage of youngsters (to be) supported by shara law(6)(7)(8) and tradition?
It could be argued this custom/tradition began when there was a lack of knowledge about the physiology of women, and that it was an attempt to bridge with accepted customs of those groups and (Arab) tribes Muhammad was seeking to convert. This does not excuse its present day continuation. In light of extensive medical and psychological documentation stating the obvious harm which comes from the (continued) practice of same. How can a thinking human being allow this sort of thing to continue in the name of their faith and proscribed religious â€œlawâ€, and not take serious offence to same – demanding it be no longer tolerated.
.There is , especially in America, a large reservoir of religious tolerance. This is evidenced by the many diverse religions and faiths which are able to be freely followed here. The largest single exception to the above is when any group or groups promote violence/harm to themselves or to others inside or outside their group, and or actively pursue same. Then all bets are off.
But you gentle and moderate Muslim would never be a part of that sort of thing, or by remaining silent, give tacit approval to same â€¦ would you?
YUSUFALI: Verily We have sent thee in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: But of thee no question shall be asked of the Companions of the Blazing Fire.
PICKTHAL: Lo! We have sent thee (O Muhammad) with the truth, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And thou wilt not be asked about the owners of hell-fire.
SHAKIR: Surely We have sent you with the truth as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and you shall not be called upon to answer for the companions of the flaming fire.
(2)USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Text, Ten Misconceptions About Islam, third para
Both the Qur’an and Sunnah were transmitted to us, humanity, via the Messenger of Allah: Muhammad bin Abdullah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (saas). The Messenger of Allah was nothing more and nothing less than a mortal messenger of the immortal Creator.
(3) The Columbia Electronic EncyclopediaÂ®
pedophilia, psychosexual disorder in which there is a preference for sexual activity with prepubertal children. Pedophiles are almost always males. The children are more often of the opposite sex (about twice as often) and are typically 13 years or age or younger; they may be within or outside the pedophile’s family. Sexual fantasies, looking, or fondling are more common than genital contact. Sexual offenses against children make up a significant proportion of reported criminal sex acts.
(4) The American HeritageÂ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
pedophile n. An adult who is sexually attracted to a child or children.
(5)Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 65:
That the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: I have been informed that â€˜Aisha remained with the Prophet for nine years (ie. Till his death)
(6)http://www.cfr.org/publication.html?id=8034 Council On Foreign Relations, Islam Governing Under Sharia-March 14, 2005-Subsection â€œMarriageâ€
Marriages can traditionally take place at young ages–in Iran, the age of consent is 13 for females and 15 for males, and younger with a court’s permission. In Yemen, the minimum marriage age is 15.
(7)Sandra Mackey, in “Saudis, Inside the Desert Kingdom” (ISBN: 0393324176)
writes on page 161: “Girls are considered marriageable from the time they reach puberty. The lower class marries very young. The ages for marriage and first pregnancy on Tarut Island, off the east coast, were published in a rare study on women that I unearthed from a library. In the group as a whole, the mean age for marriage was fourteen, with the first pregnancy occurring at sixteen. Out of 193 girls, 3 married as young as ten. Among the Bedouins and the rural poor, a girl can be the second of two wives, married to a man older than her father, the mother of several children, and suffering from severe depression by the age of eighteen.”
(8)Miriam Ali, in “Without Mercy”(ISBN: 075151635X) , pub. by Warner Books, 1995
Tells the story of her daughters being abducted and sold as wives in Yemen. Their names are Nadia and Zana. The girls were both in their early teens. Here are relevant excerpts:
page 123: Gowan (a man who purchased one of Miriam’s daughters) laughed in my face. “They are not your daughters Miriam, they are ours (because the men purchased the girls). Mine and Abdul Khada. I paid good money for Nadia to bear children for my son, as Abdul Khada paid for Zana….Muthana (Miriam’s husband) knows this. He knew this when we struck our deal. He has no problem with it………”Do you think I would allow this, the sale of my own daughters?” What is it to do with you Miriam? This is man’s business, nothing for a woman to concern herself with.”
page 300: I discovered that I wasn’t the only one to have suffered at the hands of a Shamiri. I now knew at least 5 other mothers who have had their children taken to Yemen. This had accounted for at least 10 other children, the majority of them female. I knew that there were many more like them.
Zana had met so many girls taken from the Midlands (England), taken by force who were now in Yemen. One was a petite blonde from Derby. She was 9 years old when she was taken and had already three miscarriages when she became pregnant a forth time. This time the child had been stillborn. The death of this little baby had taken the child-mother’s sanity. She was 12 years old. Another, also 12 years old, often chatted to Zana, telling her she could still count to 10 in English. She told Zana how desperate she was to go home to England. As they talked together, she suckled a child at her breast.