Monday, 20 August 2007

Response to Dutch daily, De Volkskrant, on an MP's call to ban Quran

By Thaj Aluva

Recently, Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, has written a letter in the daily, De Volkskrant, that calls for a ban on Quran. I am deeply saddened, not because of the ferocity of the comments made by Mr. Wilders, but at the horrific ignorance expressed by an MP in that modern and civilized nation about one of the greatest scripts ever in the history of mankind that has touched millions of lives. I am sure he has unleashed his fury against the divine book without taking a bit of his time to go through the same, at least once. Had he done that, I am sure, he would have a different opinion.

He says “Quran calls on people to kill non-believers and rape woman”. The first statement (to kill non-believers) is a gross misinformation while the second (to rape women) a blatant lie. I invite him to read this verse from the holy book: "If anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." (Holy Quran, Chapter: 5, Verse : 32)

Quran starts its every chapter with this verse: “In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Gracious….” Mercy, modesty, tolerance and forgiveness are some of the inherent qualities Quran teaches. The Arabic word for mercy is repeated more than 300 times in this script which calls its followers to show patience at the time of hardships, even when they are attacked by others. Likewise, the Arabic word for patience is repeated over 100 times. It says: "Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!" (Holy Quran, Chapter 41 Verses: 34, 35) Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, was sent as a mercy to mankind (Chapter 21, Verse: 107). The word Islam comes from the root word 'salaam' which means peace. It also means submitting one's will to Allah.

Having said this, it’s also true that Quran contains verses exhorting its followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. In Islam, force can only be used to promote peace and justice and that should be done by a government authorized by people (resisting foreign occupying powers is considered as an exception). If we study these verses, without any prejudice and with an intention to know the truth, we can understand that there is no open call for killing the non-believers. In fact, Quran explicitly says: "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error." (Chapter 2, Verse 256). It also says: "Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious." (Chapter 16, Verse: 125)

On the other hand, let's look at some of the killings that have taken place in the recent history of mankind and who were behind them. Who dropped those destructive atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Were they Muslims? Can anyone forget Hitler? Was he a Muslim? Who was behind the Vietnam War and the chemical weapons used to kill poor Vietnamese? Stalin who killed millions of people in Russia was not a Muslim! The killing fields in Cambodia were the creation of Paul Pot! The two destructive World Wars! How many millions of people died in these wars? Who fought these wars? The examples do not stop here but these are more than enough to know the hypocrisy of people who spread false information.