Defending the faith the modern way

Muslims will continue to complain about how they and their religion are being insulted, but waging a war in retaliation is not a clever idea. The better option is for their imams and preachers to advise them to follow the Jews’ footsteps. You see, the Jews have been persecuted and hounded throughout history. If Muslims feel insulted and humiliated by the West, then Jews have surely suffered a hundred times more.

Yet they did not go on a rampage burning churches or beheading innocent Christians because they knew they could not win a killing game. Instead, they set up banks and financial institutions and quietly took control the media. They also established the best institutions of higher learning in the world, such as Harvard and Yale. They believed that the West could only be conquered by money and education, and now the Chinese are following the same formula successfully.

I am all for defeating the West and the infidels who are insulting us, but we Muslims must position ourselves better by building better economies and wealthier countries. We can defeat the infidels if we have more banks and more scientists than the Jews. We can even build a military complex bigger than the US has if we have the know-how and the resources to do this kind of thing. That will also be when Muslims can control world-class publishing houses and newspapers like the Washington Post and quietly influence writers and cartoonists to steer clear of insulting Islam. This is the better way to establish God’s kingdom on earth, not by killing and dying.

Defending the faith the modern way

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim

Muslim leaders here will sugarcoat their condemnation of the Paris killings by saying the victims were asking for it when they lampooned and insulted Islam and the Holy Prophet. None will condemn the acts unconditionally. Muslims generally feel that no one should insult or ridicule their religion, so any retaliation against such insults is fair dinkum.

The reason Muslims think this way is because their leaders and preachers do not tell them how to live with others on this planet in peace and harmony. The message is always about killing and defending their faith. This doctrine may have been relevant when Muslims only knew the world they ruled. It may even have been useful, considering that religious wars were common then.

We live in a different time now, in a world where we must live alongside others who rule their respective lands. Yet this doctrine and ideology of war has never been revisited or revised in the last 1,000 years. The preachers still tell Muslims they must defend their faith, and the only way they know how to do this is to take up the sword (today it’s the gun) and kill offenders and blasphemers. These Muslims will gladly die in the process because they are told that heaven awaits them.

If Islam’s leaders and imams were truly in tune with the world’s progress, they would tell Muslims to engage with those who are different from them. They would tell Muslims that non-Muslims are in control now, so they must be careful with their actions. Muslims must be told that the West has this crazy belief about freedom of expression and individual rights, so they must learn to remain calm whenever someone insults Islam. This is necessary so they do not commit more atrocities like the ones we have seen unfold in Paris, Africa and Pakistan.

Muslims must remember they live in a world that allows freedom of expression for individuals. In the West, they take personal freedom seriously, just as PAS leaders in Kelantan take hudud seriously. In this world where personal freedom is valued and protected by law in most countries, no one will be spared the occasional insult and ridicule from newspapers and cartoonists. Even God, His Prophets and the Pope will not be spared. Muslims have a choice: to respond to these insults the way Christians, Jews and people of other faiths do—which is to ignore them or to litigate—or they can follow Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram and go all out to kill and destroy.

Of course, Muslims can elect to follow their leaders’ outdated teachings and wage a holy war against the West and democracy. If this is to be their choice then the 1.5 billion Muslims, comprising the poorest of the world’s population, would be able to wreak havoc and cause the loss of innumerable lives—but they would not win. There are 6.2 billion infidels and they have in their possession the largest array of weapons and the most up-to-date technology. They also have more money. They will be the ones to win this war. Muslims may go to heaven but they will be dead and freedom of expression and personal liberty will prevail.

Muslims will continue to complain about how they and their religion are being insulted, but waging a war in retaliation is not a clever idea. The better option is for their imams and preachers to advise them to follow the Jews’ footsteps. You see, the Jews have been persecuted and hounded throughout history. If Muslims feel insulted and humiliated by the West, then Jews have surely suffered a hundred times more.

Yet they did not go on a rampage burning churches or beheading innocent Christians because they knew they could not win a killing game. Instead, they set up banks and financial institutions and quietly took control the media. They also established the best institutions of higher learning in the world, such as Harvard and Yale. They believed that the West could only be conquered by money and education, and now the Chinese are following the same formula successfully.

I am all for defeating the West and the infidels who are insulting us, but we Muslims must position ourselves better by building better economies and wealthier countries. We can defeat the infidels if we have more banks and more scientists than the Jews. We can even build a military complex bigger than the US has if we have the know-how and the resources to do this kind of thing. That will also be when Muslims can control world-class publishing houses and newspapers like the Washington Post and quietly influence writers and cartoonists to steer clear of insulting Islam. This is the better way to establish God’s kingdom on earth, not by killing and dying.

Muslims must learn to cope with the challenges of the modern world and modern values. I suggest Muslims in Malaysia and elsewhere be willing to grow up and learn to live with this imperfect world in harmony with others. These Muslims have to be willing to review and reflect on their religious doctrine to see if it suits modern times. But if anger and emotion are all they can offer, then there is no chance at all for Muslims to win this fight against the West. They can fight those who disagree with them with the Sedition Act and whatever laws they control, but unless Muslims are properly educated and have money and know-how, they will only know how to destroy but not to rebuild.

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