Posts Tagged ‘allah’

Just a couple of days ago there was a terrible knife attack at a Hostel in Queensland, Australia . The victim was Mia Ayliffe-Chung,  a 21 year old British National who was stabbed by a 29 year old French Backpacker Smail Ayad.  The tragic murder sparked suspicion of extremism because the attacker yelled “Allahu’Akbar” (God is Great) whilst attacking the victim and whist being arrested.

This immediately caused a media stir with all major media outlets hastening to call this a “terror attack” on Australian soil because of the attackers use of “extremist language”.Yet the Police have already cleared this crime as a Murder based on jealousy and not at all terror related, regardless of what he shouted out.

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French National Smail (inset) attacked and killed Mia in a small hostel community in Queensland while shouting “Allahu’Akbar”.

Despite the Police commissioner being very quick to clear this act from terrorism– claiming there is no evidence at all that this man was radicalized- we see that xenophobic politicians immediately used this case as a means to loudly call – yet again- for the banning of Muslim Immigration of Australia claiming that “terror” and “jihad” has hit our shores simply because a man is shouting “Allahu’Akbar“.

A lot of people don’t realize that the term “Allahu’Akbar” (“God is Great”) is widely used in the Muslim community for a huge array of reasons, yet there is a disturbing trend i am noticing about the statement. Both extremists and bigots are taking the statement from the general Muslim population and are turning it into a phrase that one should fear.

Just to remind you that hearing someone say “Allahu’Akbar” is not all doom and gloom- i will present to you 9 other examples where “Allahu’Akbar” has been used for something
besides violence, hatred and bloodshed.

1) “Allahu’Akbar” Used Whilst SAVING lives.
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In this video footage in Aleppo, Syria- filmed in January 2014 we see a bunch of men unearthing a child from the rubble of a destroyed building. After doing all they can they chant “Allahu’Akbar” (God is Great) whilst holding the child after the rescue.

In fact there are multiple videos online showing the phrase being chanted whilst people are SAVING lives (as opposed to taking them.)

2) “Allahu’Akbar” during the call to PRAYER.
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If you’ve traveled to any country in the Middle East you may have noticed mysterious and mesmerizing voices coming out of the minarets. This is called the Call To Prayer and the very first line is “Allahu’Akbar”. This call is to remind Muslims to stop what they are doing and go to prayer.

3) “Allahu’Akbar” used in Music (and Nasheeds).
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Popular Muslim artists such as Sami Yusuf use the popular phrase in many of his songs including the popular hit “Asma Allah” which has almost 14 million views on Youtube. The term is an expression that is popular in many “Nasheeds” or songs that glorify.

4) “Allahu’Akbar” used to support Sportsmen/Women.
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Marathon Runner Mo Farah did the United Kingdom proud during the Rio Olympics this year- yet during one of his practice Marathon Runs in London in 2014 spectators of his could be heard shouting “Allahu’Akbar” at him in support for him to win.

5) “Allahu’Akbar” used by a talkative Parrot.
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Nothing to see here – simply a Parrot that shouts out “Allahu’Akbar” whilst raising his foot, simulating a Muslim rising during prayer.

6) “Allahu’Akbar” used in Awe of Nature.
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Many times during extreme weather events, or witnessing natural marvels- including the one featured in this video-  you will hear Muslims shouting “Allahu’Akbar” to symbolize Gods strength and power.

7) “Allahu’Akbar” used to celebrate Success.
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Sonny Bill Williams is a very popular footballer in Australia who converted to Islam a few years ago. During one of his wins he publicly declared on live television “last but not least, Allahu’Akbar!” whilst pointing to the sky.

8) “Allahu’Akbar” used during last moments in life 😦
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Adam Air- an Indonesian Airline was plummeting to the sea at rapid speed in 2007 due to Mechanical failure and the Black Box in the Cockpit clearly records the flight crew praying in fear as they realize they are helpless against this crash- shouting “Allahu’Akbar” until their final second on Earth.

9) “Allahu’Akbar” used when one converts to Islam.
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People from around the World Convert to Islam and after one states the Shahada (testimony of faith) they are met with a smothering of hugs and the famous “Takbir” which is proclaiming “Allahu’Akbar” (God is Great) out loud.

So there you have it, that was 9 other times you may have heard the term “Allah’u Akbar.” Please do not be like the media and ONLY associate the phrase with violence, bloodshed and evil behaviour. The bottom line is this statement is made by Muslims on a daily basis and we do not want extremists AND the media to Hijack this word and use it as a mouthpiece for evil.

Salam Alaykum, PEACE! 🙂

 

Ramey, you cannot be half Muslim and half Christian, you can only be one“…These words echoed by my Religion teacher Mrs. Young at my former High School in 1998 had to have been one of the most earth shattering, mind boggling and mentally challenging words i had ever heard at the tender age of 15.

You see, i had a very interesting upbringing. I was raised in a household that was interfaith. My Mother of Croatian ancestry is a Christian whilst my father of Lebanese ancestry is a Muslim. Their marriage in the late 1970’s caused shock-waves through both communities and families from both sides couldn’t understand it, due to the supposed “taboo” of it all.

Not only two very different cultures but also two different religions. What about the children? would be the cry of concerned relatives from both ends of the spectrum, little did they knew this upbringing of mine was one of the most healthiest and happiest when it came to tolerance and understanding.

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My brother hugging me under our Christmas tree. 1983.

So what was it like growing up in a household where i was both exposed to Christian and Muslim elements? Let me be honest. Pretty amazing! I truly looked forward to every Christmas and decking out that tree, helping my Mother decorate it and turning it on every night ensuring it faced a window so our neighbours could get tree envy!

I remember the excitement of sitting under the Christmas tree with all of those amazing colours shining on the floor and my obsession with the Christmas tree Angel we used to have sitting on top with her glittery halo and roughed up blonde hair. There was something so euphoric, beautiful and heartfelt about this time of the year and my house felt like a sanctuary.

Then came the period of Ramadan, the month long Muslim Holy month where Muslims are told to fast, read the Quran, pray and give to charity. Growing up i always remember being in complete awe as to how my father could refrain from food and water for long periods of the day. The unifying factor was dinner time, come sunset- we would all converge over a delicious feast that my mother would make up and my father would listen to the radio waiting for the Adhan (call to prayer) to start before we’d enjoy our usually eccentric over the top dinner.

Then came the “Eid” festivities where all the family from my Dads side would dress up in their best attire, head over to cafes and restaurants and enjoy time with family and friends. The vibe of the streets in our area during Ramadan was buzzing with excitement and energy, it truly was a beautiful time of the year that i grew further fond of .

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My too cool for school parents 1970s’.

Yet then came that moment, when i was happily 50% Christian and 50% Muslim in my own eyes- where all of that fantasy came to a sudden crash. When my High School Religion teacher asked me what religion i was- i stared her right in the eyes with a big smile and said “I am half Christian and half Muslim” – assuming that was a perfectly acceptable answer. She glared at me and smiled telling me that indeed my “beliefs” are in pure conflict and that i cannot be both, i had to pick one. This was when my perception of religions and the religious changed, almost like a perversion entered my mind about the life that i was living and it was time to reflect. She had basically told me my religious expression was invalid.

During this time neither of my parents pushed their religions onto me, respectably. Even though both parents were observant to degrees in their religion, neither was completely compliant. Yet i always felt religiously free to think as i wanted to think and this was a blessing in disguise. After doing a brief study of the religions i decided that for the time being i was happy to simply be an Agnostic. A person that is unsure about the existence of God, yet someone who still holds appreciation and respect for what religion can do to people. During my Agnostic stage of my life (from 15 years of age until about 18) i did not express my beliefs to anybody. I felt no need to and even though i had a numb feeling for religion, there was a yearning inside me to find out more and continue to explore.

Then at about 18 years of age i decided to become a Unitarian. This religion was very interesting because it was very inclusive and it mirrored my thoughts exactly. The Christian branch of Unitarianism was even better because it saw Jesus as a role model but also rejected him as a God figure.

I felt proud of my decision to become a Unitarian and i would engage with other people on discussion boards about it. When i told my Mother i had identified myself as a Unitarian (Christian branch) she was ecstatic. She expressed that i was “chosen” and that God loved me.  (Suddenly?)

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Me in front of Zagreb Cathedral 2015

When i expressed to my father that i identified with the Unitarian movement in my late teens, he was not impressed. He concluded that i was lost and needed some guidance. Hell was potentially on the horizon. Either way it was interesting to see that the more i expressed myself when it came to my faith and beliefs the more it would irritate and irk my parents- at different times, for different reasons. As i become more profound in my beliefs the perversions of religion and the religious reared its ugly head again.

Years down the path, especially after all the horrible terror attacks committed by supposed Muslims i had decided to study Islam. I truly needed to know and find out if indeed my father held the same beliefs as these lunatics. I knew instantly that there is no way, my Father, whom i love dearly would actively engage himself in a religion that encourages Murder and terrorism. So i hit the books again in my Early 20’s and i really studied the faith and the Qur’an. I remember each night before bed i would open a copy of my Dads Quran and read it for 30 minutes.

It was a mesmerizing read at times, i often remember nodding my head, in agreement, at what i read because the God concept the Qur’an expressed was exactly the God concept i believed in and when it started talking about the Prophets, especially Jesus (pbuh) it really chimed intensely for me. By the time i hit 23 years of age i decided to “Upgrade” my beliefs from a Unitarian to a Muslim and this again was something i had not immediately shared.

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Me in front of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, 2014.

This time the tables turned and when i expressed my love and faith for Islam to my father he  was jubilant and happy, confidently asserting he knew i’d make the decision. Whereas my Mother was highly irritated, she saw it as some sort of betrayal and her Son was indeed lost in a Philosophical limbo.

Then it all became crystal clear to me. Even though my parents played it cool, deep down inside both of them had yearned for me to bat for their “team”. The bottom line is my spiritual journey is my own and i came to it without an indoctrinated mind. When i expected people to be happy that i, as a grown man, was taking observation and fleeting decisions about the World around me, i noticed it only increased their agitation and there was little support.

I remember my Father one day looking downcast and saying to me “I wish i taught you Islam when you were a kid“. I looked at him puzzled and asked why? Look at me today, i came to Islam all on my own, with a fresh mind that queried and alternated between different beliefs to come to my own “truth” or conclusion. I thanked him for not shoving religion down my throat as a kid.

I explained to him that kids that are forced into religion turn into Adults that don’t actually KNOW about their religion but instead repeat religious duties like chores. I also noticed that kids that were religiously forced into things in later years turned out to “rebel”.  I told him the fact that you both left me alone to take my own spiritual adventure was a blessing and that he has nothing to be ashamed of.

When i have children i will NOT force feed them my religious beliefs. My reasoning behind it is that i will explain to my children my beliefs and why i believe what i do, yet i will encourage them to research and embark on their journey through the path of curiosity and honesty. 

I had high hopes and expectations that my family would be proud of my spiritual journey from a lack of belief, to a Unifying belief to finally a belief of Submitting my will to the Almighty. Yet the way my Parents saw it was that i was playing with fire, quite literally! They’d selectively be happy for me if my journey stopped at their station of beliefs, yet then be upset and harsh if my beliefs went on to explore other stations.

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I will teach my kids to embark on their own spiritual journey and explain my own to them as well.

That is what i mean by the hypocrisy of religion and the religious. It is only about YOUR religion. Yet for me its about ALL religions and what you connect with the most. I want my children to find their way on their own, with their own senses, intuition and faith of which they naturally will develop. As opposed to me “corrupting” them at a young age and forcing them – out of their own will- to be a carbon copy of myself.

Today i can proudly say i am a Muslim, even if it annoys family, friends or strangers. Either side i am accused of being “brainwashed” into the religion or a “betrayer” for abandoning another. The bottom line is i have abandoned nobody or nothing. My upbringing under the Christmas lights and Crescent Moon of Ramadan really was the light of tolerance beaming down upon me and truly became the staple of my spiritual journey.

I wish my parents were more proud as to how they brought me up and held no regrets for their decisions in life. I believe because i truly believe, from the heart- as an Adult. Not a child that was forced to become an adult too soon and have their journey “cut short” because their ignorant parents don’t want them to face the reality of choice.

Peace, Salam Alaykum.
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This is the sound that sends shock-waves throughout the world of the internet – we already know the Theist/Atheist debate is one that is often drizzled with mockery, suspicion and tension. Yet common words we hear coming from the Atheistic band is that “Religion is the root of all evil” and that “Religion poisons everything” or furthermore “The world would be peaceful without religion”. Let me be the first to admit, that as a Muslim i am more than honest to admit that religion has played a very deep part in our history- both positive and negative– indeed it has been an entity that has brought the world some good and some evils.

The common idea is that religion is a harmful force and we often hear that atheism has never been the cause for any worldwide atrocities- this half baked assumption is a very weak argument. The fact is if the wrong man or woman is given power- despite their creed it is a recipe for disaster. Although it is fair to say that no Atheist can claim to have committed wrong doing based on “atheism” – simply the lack of a belief in a God. We tend to forget that a branch that stems from Atheism is ANTI-theism, and this cause has spread much mischief around the world throughout history and i will highlight some classic examples below.

A person that is Anti-Theist quiet literally has a strong opposition against religion, they find religion harmful to society and believe it should be eradicated. When you have this mindset and a person with such hardline ideas is given a position of power, then hall hath no fury- prepare for instability, discrimination, oppression, murder and social deterioration. These anti-theists clear hatred for religion impacted their decisions- their belief that religion should be wiped out could only come from a person who initially had atheistic roots- remember you must first be an Atheist (disbelieve in Gods) in order to become an ANTI-Theist and once an Anti-theist is given political presence then state atheism is a direct threat- just as much as any extreme religious elements are.

Let us look at some GENUINE historical Anti-Theist people and groups plus their terrible impact on our society- and hopefully we can be more observant before laying all claims of evil to the religious.

1) Plutarco Elías Calles (1877-1945)

An Atheist Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the Maximato. Calles is most noted for a fierce oppression of Catholics that led to the Cristero War (90,000 casualties) – a civil war between Catholic rebels and government forces. He was raised by his uncle who was devoutly atheist who raised Plutarco with a searing hatred of the Catholic Church. His Anti-Catholic actions included outlawing religious orders, depriving the Church of property rights and depriving the clergy of civil liberties, including their right to trial by jury (in cases involving anti-clerical laws) and the right to vote. Catholic antipathy towards Calles was enhanced because of his vocal atheism. 4,000 Priests were killed or expelled- Catholics were hung on powerline poles. He later apparently declared himself a “spiritualist” in his later life- and it is said he had some ties to the Freemasons.

People’s Socialist Republic Of Albania

Religion is banned post World War 2. The Agrarian Reform Law of August 1945 nationalized most property of religious institutions, including the estates of monasteries, orders, and dioceses. Many clergy and believers were tried, tortured, and executed. All foreign Roman Catholic priests, monks, and nuns were expelled in 1946. Campaign against religion peaked in the 1960’s and 70’s. All churches, mosques, monasteries, and other religious institutions were either closed down or converted into warehouses, gymnasiums, or workshops by the end of 1967. As the literary monthly Nendori reported the event, the youth had thus “created the first atheist nation in the world”. The clergy were publicly vilified and humiliated, their vestments taken and desecrated. More than 200 clerics of various faiths were imprisoned, others were forced to seek work in either industry or agriculture, and some were executed or starved to death. Officials tried to entrap practicing Christians and Muslims during religious fasts, such as Lent and Ramadan, by distributing dairy products and other forbidden foods in school and at work, and then publicly denouncing those who refused the food, and clergy who conducted secret services were incarcerated.Catholic priest Shtjefan Kurti had been executed for secretly baptizing a child in Shkoder in 1972.

The State recognizes no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people.”

-Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution of 1976.

The Soviet Union

State atheism in the Soviet Union was known as “Gosateizm” and was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism.

Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression,and, ultimately, the elimination of religion. Within about a year of the revolution the state took all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed (a much greater number was subjected to persecution).

From the late 1920s to the late 1930s, such organizations as the League Of The Militant Godless ridiculed all religions and harassed believers. Anti-religious and atheistic propaganda was implemented into every portion of soviet life, in schools, communist organizations (such as the Young Pioneer Oganization), and the media.

Khmer Rouge Rule Of Cambodia

The Khmer Rouge period(1975–1979) refers to the rule of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and the Khmer Rouge Communist Party over Cambodia.

Article 20 of the 1976 Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea guaranteed religious freedom, but it also declared that “all reactionary religions that are detrimental to Democratic Kampuchea and the Kampuchean People are strictly forbidden.” About 85 percent of the population follows the Theravada school of Buddhism. The country’s 40,000 to 60,000 Buddhist monks, regarded by the regime as social parasites, were defrocked and forced into labour brigades.

Many monks were executed; temples and pagodas were destroyed or turned into storehouses or gaols. Images of the Buddha were defaced and dumped into rivers and lakes. People who were discovered praying or expressing religious sentiments were often killed. The Christian and Muslim communities also were even more persecuted, as they were labelled as part of a pro-Western cosmopolitan sphere, hindering Cambodian culture and society. The Roman Catholic cathedral of Phnom Penh was completely razed. The Khmer Rouge forced Muslims to eat pork, which they regard as forbidden (haram). Many of those who refused were killed. Christian clergy and Muslim imams were executed.

Mongolian People’s Republic

In 1936, and especially after Japanese encroachments had given the Soviets enough reason to deploy Soviet troops in Mongolia in 1937, a whole-scale attack on the Buddhist Faith began. At the same time, Soviet Style Purges took place in the Communist Party and in the Mongolian army. Mongolia’s leader at that time was Khorloogiin Choibalsan , a follower of Joseph Stalin who emulated many of the policies Stalin had implemented in the Soviet Union. The purges led to the almost complete eradication of Tibetan Buddhism in the country, and cost an estimated 30,000–35,000 lives.

North Korea

North Korea’s government exercises virtual total control over society and imposes state sanctioned atheism, the cult of personality of  Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung, described as a Political Religion Although the North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted, free religious activities no longer exists in North Korea. A minor example was in the late 1940’s – 166 priests and religious people were kidnapped or murdered.

Ladies and Gentlemen these are only a few examples of the atrocities and horrors that were committed due to people who held Anti-theistic views. We know that peoples beliefs were not always the main and sole cause of these wars, yet the fact that these men in power and policies allowed the eradication, destruction of religions and the religious- allowing massacres and mass oppression is enough for us to realise that NO- religion is not the root of ALL EVIL. Evil is something incumbent on mankind- regardless of their religion- and just as a religious person can commit an atrocity and blame God- an anti-theist can commit an atrocity and blame religion- in the end let us open up to the fact that religion is not the root of all evil. There are many examples of how simple Atheism could feed Anti-Theism which in return when coupled with powerful positions and politics could  be just as catastrophic as any extremist organization running the show.

Trust nobody.

Peace, Salam Alaykum