Monday, April 20, 2015

Militant Extremists: Desecrating Islamic Dignity

Religious individuals exercise a human right ignited by their moral compass, personal inclination, and inner calling to believe in something greater than themselves.

Religion allows believers to express reverence, piety, devotion, hope, and charity. It is commonly understood as an established profession of faith involving liturgical practices, community, prayer, and a way of life.

The world religions allows believers to follow their understanding of a natural law that urges worship; a divine positive law revealed through sacred writings; and a fire within their hearts that inflames devotion.

For believers, goodness from the heart is essential to a life of faith. The heart must be the source of acts of charity, sacrifice, devotion, pilgrimages, vows, sanctifying experiences, and holydays.

Faith for believers is complemented by reason and is natural. Yet, they also believe that faith is inspired by divine revelation through sacred writings, and therefore it is supernatural.

A life of faith deserves the protection of every just society and respect from other faith-based communities.

Religion Honors Human Rights

Religion demands great respect for the freedom of all people and it is never authentic if it tries to force its teachings, values, or beliefs upon anyone.

Faith in any religion must always have freedom, tolerance for other faiths, (as well as for those who chose not to practice religion) and charity as core values if it is to be worthy of respect.

Every human being has the inalienable right to follow the dictates of their own conscience and to choose whatever persuasion they desire. The great religions of the world, notably Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, honor the dignity of other faiths and human rights.

Each of these religions commends piety, justice, fortitude, temperance, and self-control.

Yet, there can be grave contradictions to the dignity of religion expressed through blasphemy, hypocrisy, sacrilege, and desecration. These offenses have taken place in every faith from the beginning of time.

Islam: A Magnificent Faith

The religion taught by the prophet Muhammad, which has the Koran (Qu ‘ran) as its sacred book, is a magnificent faith deserving of respect not only from its followers but of every person who upholds freedom, dignity, and human rights.

As with every great faith, being a Muslim (a follower of Islam) is a personal experience that involves life-enriching virtues of piety, humility, self-surrender, kindness, gentleness, prayer, charity, love, bearing witness, fasting, service, and respect for life.

The Islamic faith has heart-warming ethics at its core, with values inspired by the Prophet Muhammad that includes justice, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, sincerity, truth, generosity, humility, tolerance, modesty, responsibility, and courage.

Militant Extremism: An Infectious Disease

As with other great faiths, Muslims abhor hypocrisy, cheating, envy, anger, divisiveness, and extremism.

Militant extremists are not faithful to Islam and desecrate its teaching. Recent headlines paint the picture of individuals dishonoring Islamic dignity including the following:

•April 20: Islamic State Shoots and Beheads 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya
•April 18: Christian migrants thrown overboard by Muslims ‘in dispute over prayer’
•April 16: Nothing Sacred: ISIS destroys Christian grave sites in Mosul
•April 12: Two Muslims Burn 14-Year-Old Christian Boy in Pakistan
•April 2: 147 Killed in Islamic Extremists Attack in Kenya College
•March 25: Muslims Slaughter Eighty-Two Christians as they Sleep in Nigeria

Final Reflections

The Muslim faith is one of great dignity deserving respect because of its belief in the sacredness of human life, charity, prayer, service, and the rights of all people.

Yet, there is an ongoing escalation of atrocities throughout the world by militant extremists dishonoring Islamic dignity through acts of hypocrisy, blasphemy, sacrilege, and desecration. These are contemptuous actions screaming to heaven for justice.

Along with every true Muslim believer, the world community must condemn these evils. Every step necessary must be taken to bring militant extremists to justice, and prevent the continual escalation of atrocities that dishonor not only the Islamic faith, but the human rights of people throughout the world.

Note Well:

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1. Thousands of the Indonesian Muslims congregate during Eid ul Fitr mass prayer in Istiqlac Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, located in Central Jakarta, Indonesia, August 31, 2011. (Gunawan Kartapranata)
2. People washing up to pray at Badshahi Mosque, June 10, 2004. (Pale blue dot)
3. The Blue Mosque at sunset, June 6, 2004. (Constantin Barbu)

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