Extreme voices in the three religions that claim the monotheist heritage of Prophet Abraham--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--are busy sowing the seeds of confrontation and hate. They have recently taken the advantage of the politically rooted tensions between western and Middle Eastern countries to develop misunderstanding and mistrust among the followers of these religions.
Quoting selectively from Islamic sources, they have painted Islam as an intolerant religion that urges its followers to hate people of other faiths. This depiction belies both the historical record of Muslims dealing with the followers of other faiths, and, most importantly, the Qur'anic message itself.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Hijab, the head cover Muslim women wear in keeping with their religious traditions, has become in modern times a politically charged issue in several Muslim countries, and more recently in Europe. In the early eighties, Iran imposed hijab on its female citizens, while Syria banned it from schools during the same period. Syria gradually came to term with hijab, as the number of Syrian women who chose to wear it increased drastically during the nineties. Hijab is enforced today in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and banned in Tunisia and Turkey. France banned the hijab in 2004, and far right politicians and pundits are calling for similar ban in other European countries, and have already succeeded in doing so in the Belgium city of Antwerp.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Civil liberties are always precious for free people, but particularly so during times of turbulence when the future seems uncertain and society struggles to gain its balance and move in the right direction. These are, sadly, times when opportunists try to advance their fortune without regard to other people's rights, bigots hide behind the language of patriotism, and freedom is curtailed in the name of security. It is under such conditions that civil liberties and the right to dissent become exceedingly important, as free and open debate becomes essential for pursuing the best course of action.