Islam, we are often told, is a religion predicated on peace! Prophet Mohammed who founded the religion thousands of years back in Arabia was known and reputed to be a great man of peace though some critics associate jihadism with his Islamic exploits. Prophet Mohammed must be turning in his grave for the many dimensions his followers have ascribed to the face of Islam.
For some faithfuls Islam is another name for fundamentalism and for others violence and terrorism. And yet others occultism! Year in year out in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia millions and millions of prospective Alhajis and Alhajas congregate for the Hajj. Many had had to be brought back home in body bags due to stampedes and exhaustion occasioned by overcrowding.
Salman Rushdie, the originally Saudi scholar and controversial author, had sought through his highly controversial book “The Satanic Verses” to give a useful insight into how Islam has been hijacked by satanic forces and the need for it to be reformed. Because of this powerful position Rushdie lives in perpetual fear abroad having a “fatwa” pronounced on him by the Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeni.
Back home in Nigeria thousands of Christians had been murdered brutally in cold blood for no good reason other than intolerance of religious difference by their oppressors. From Kano to Kaduna, Zaria to Jos the story is the same: extremist Islamic elements running berserk at each little provocation beheading, marchetting and drawing blood of the innocents. In the northern Nigerian cities Islamic fundamentalism thrives even today though leaders play it down and say something otherwise.
Gideon Akaluka was beheaded in a prison in the north and his severed head hung in a stick by his killers who went around town with it singing “Allahu Akbar” in triumph! A Christian mother-teacher from Ogun State was butchered openly sometime last year by muslim extremist thugs masquerading as students. Her crime: flinging through the window books of a cheating student caught in the act in an exam hall. The poor woman disciplinarian never reckoned that the holy Koran was among the books she threw out. Before she could explain herself she was hacked to death!
For a newspaper cartoon controversy in far away Scandinavian haven of Denmark — a cartoonist drawing the cartoon of Prophet Mohammed in a disrespectful manner — hundreds of Nigerian Christians were massacred in the north when the irate youths protested as if a Southerner or a Nigerian newspaper did the drawing! Ditto an innocuous article authored by a female journalist in Nigeria who wrote about the beauty pageantry which led to her hiding away from those Muslim demons seeking her blood.
Personally I do not wholly see Islam as a “demonic religion” though many people do. Like in Islam not all Christians are good followers of Christ or tolerant of other religions. In Islam one finds decent gentlemen and ladies who tolerate other faiths and make friends without applying one’s religion as a yardstick. Still one must add here that Islam is brimming with youthful zealots and reprobates.
During the Easter vigil service on Saturday night preceding Easter Sunday a fortnight ago in Rome the Catholic Pontiff had baptised Moslem-born convert Magdi Allam, 55 years old, an outspoken journalist and fierce critic of Islamic extremism. The Egyptian-born Allam’s conversion to Christianity – ‘Christian’ was the name he chose for his baptism – was kept secret until the Vatican disclosed it in a statement less than an hour before the Easter eve service began.
Allam, a strong supporter of Israel, is under police protection following serious threats against him. Allam defended the Pope in 2006 when the 81-year old pontiff made a speech in Regensburg Germany that many Muslims perceived as depicting Islam as a violent faith. Allam, who has been living in Italy for 35 years did say he was never a very devout Muslim. Still, his conversion to Christianity was a surprise Easter package.
According to the statement from the Vatican: “For the Catholic Church, each person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a fully free choice and adequate preparation, has a right to receive it; all newcomers were equally important before God’s love and welcome in the community of the Church”.
God or Allah is one! Killing in His name is nothing short of evil. The middle east deep-rooted crisis between the state of Isreal and Palestinian or Arabic terrorists masking their identity with the liberation struggle depicts the clash of western ideology with islamic fundamentalism which has produced the infamous 9/11 and other mini 9/11s all around the world.
Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan. Flashpoints of terror and sheer bloodletting. The “Axis of Evil” speech by President Bush was apt: Iraq, Iran and North Korea rightly identified as harbingers of evil in our planet. America having conquered Saddam’s Iraq we are still left with the evil states of Iran and North Korea still constituting enough danger.
A religion whose history is steeped in blood and recurring violence, one whose leaders feed the youth daily with the nonsensical doctrine that equates imaginary paradise with glorified matrydom cannot be described rightly as one worthy of emulation. A religion whose Sharia law variant punishes prostitution severely only for its elite to go abroad to patronise prostitutes or marry as many wives as possible cannot be seen as a serious religion. And a religion whose Sharia law punishes ordinary thieves who steal pieces of yam or chicken out of hunger by applying amputation of limbs only for its thieving executive leaders and politicians to roam about freely is one to be condemned.
The world, our troubled world, would have become a safer and better place without Osama Bin Ladin and his Al Queda terrorists and suicide bombers; without Islam as a religion.
Between Islam and Allam the recent Rome conversion from Islam to Christianity of Magdi Allam had sent across a powerful message of religious abandonment and transition from one religion reputed for its violence and evil to another led by a Pope of hope.