Launch of Does the Holy Qur’an Encourage Violence? : Challenges met with kindness and reason | Sunday Observer

Launch of Does the Holy Qur’an Encourage Violence? : Challenges met with kindness and reason

“Islamaphobia is a large scale organized industry in the world,” President’s Counsel M.U.M.Ali Sabry said adding that however he will not give excuses to justify the horrific incidents attributed to Islamic extremism.

Sabry was speaking at the launch of Does the Holy Qur’an Encourage Violence?, a book by Usthaz Manzoor, a writer of International repute at the BMICH last week. The event was organized by Mishkath Research Institute to create awareness among the people of teachings in Al Qur’an.

He noted that non Muslims believe Islam preaches intolerance and violence so no one can live among them.

“But if we go back to before 1947, Muslims had no effect on the first world war and the second world war or any other mass scale battles,” Sabry said.

Due to what happened in Palestine, Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq, Muslims have concluded that they need to unleash violence against those who unleash violence against them. “However, among the 1.4 billion Muslims only about 20,000-30,000 have opted to walk this path,” he said.

“This is the truth, we will not justify their actions. But we cannot take it out of context. Iraq was invaded on the charge it had weapons of mass destruction but none was found. Two million people died in the Iraq war. We have been pushed to the extreme by the West. But I think the Muslims must not go for self imposed isolation. We should not live in denial of what happened,” he observed.

“Others should also not look at the Muslims in suspicion, the vast majority of them are not terrorists. After the April 21 attacks the Acting IGP said, 85% of complaints received against Muslims were false.”

In the Qur’an there are records of historical events, such things don’t happen again. It also has prophesies of things that could happen in the future and also rules to govern a Muslim life. “The 22 statements on war don’t fall under the rules and regulations a Muslim person should live by. This is the record of history. How they acted during dangerous wars during the time of the birth of Qur’an,” he explained.

“The extent of the negative stereotyping of Islam is such that after the Easter Sunday blasts, the Muslim community has been compelled to justify and elucidate the very core of their beliefs. It is very unfortunate and painful,” said President’s Counsel Faisz Musthapha.

Musthapha said the silver lining is that authors like Usthaz Mansoor were able to meet these challenges at an intellectual level and debate it with “kindness and reason”, just as they have learnt in the holy Qur’an.

He said,”We as Muslims are shocked and grieved that Islam should be even remotely associated with violence and terrorism, for Islam in essence means peace. So we are astounded that how we could be called upon to justify Islam in such a negative light in the background of violence and terrorism.”

He explained that the notion of tolerance had been found in the life of the holy prophet and Muslims have lived peacefully with civilizations of every genre, with Greeks, Arabs, Aryans and the Jews.

“The very first constitution of the prophet guaranteed the Christians of Nazareth the absolute right of worship, promised bishops no church will be pulled down and no statue will be vandalised.”

“The wholly Qur’an emphatically says without contradiction your religion to you and my religion to me. That is an absolute declaration of religious freedom.”

Unfortunately the seeds of extremism, can be traced to the time where countries were put together and national boundaries were formed without reference to the people who populate them. Then a national homeland was set up in Palestine, within these boundaries national movements began. At first it was due to dissatisfaction among people and later due to colonialism, starvation, poverty and illiteracy. That was the breeding ground for what is today termed extremism and terrorism.

He said the Arabs lived here in Sri Lanka during the time of Sinhala kings and even served in their armies standing in defence of their motherland.

Ven.Galkande Dhammananda Thera said, “I was happy to witness a part of Al Qur’an being recited by a female at the commencement of the program. That is something I have not observed in the forums such as these before.”

The Ven. Thera said it symbolized an effort by the Mishkath Research Institute to set an example of the positive things the Institute is trying to present society. “It is a major feat,” he said.

“I believe it is much better to talk of how religions treat women than discuss similarities or differences in our religions.”

 We cannot uproot a certain archeological piece of evidence from its original location and dwell into the history of it, learn about the people who lived at the time, who made the artifact and used it. Likewise, we cannot discuss about a particular issue in isolation, this is true to our religions as well.

“For instance Buddhism, came to be at a time of history where socio cultural changes were taking place in a rapid scale, people‘s beliefs and also the ruling systems were going through a transformation, trading was catching up and creating new townships. This influence is there in Buddhism.

“Christianity was introduced in Rome at a time when persecution of people by the then rulers was the order of the day. Likewise Islam was born in a dessert land at a time tribal fights for power were still existing. We need to look at all our religions in this perspective and practice it in a way to suit the present day needs.

“I believe, for the country to progress all our religions need to transform to suit today’s needs. The issues will not disappear just because we pretend that all the religions are good and we should live in harmony,” the Thera said.

The guests at the book launch at the outset stood up and prayed in remembrance of the victims of the Easter Sunday bombings. It was attended by members of the maha sangha and clergy of other faiths, former Minister Ferial Ashraff and members of parliament.

Emeritus Professor of Eastern University Sitralega Maunaguru spoke of the book in Tamil.

The book launch was organized to eliminate suspicion and hate aimed at the Muslim community following the brutal Easter Sunday bomb attacks. The organizers emphasized such brutal actions go against the teachings of Islam and Jihad is not a holy war to convert people of other faith into Islam.