The left of centre Catholic broadsheet Eureka Street has allowed some rays of light to shine through the cracks of the ideological walls. An article written by a Pakistani Muslim - Muhammad Izhar ul Haq – points out a few ironies of the Islamic world
First - Muhammad describes a protest in Pakistan:
They were furious. They were chanting slogans. They were swearing to crush the conspiracy being hatched against Islam. They were cursing the Western 'flawed' way of life. The rally was organised to condemn the banning of the burqa (full face veil) in France.
Muhammad Izar points out that ‘hardly any of the protesters had actually read the text of the French enactment banning…the full veil’ . He says he wonders if the rent a crowd knew anything at all about the French legislation because quite simply the widespread illiteracy among the general population:
In countries like Pakistan, the nucleus of present Muslim extremism, where literacy is not more than 15 to 20 per cent and centuries old feudalism has been successfully forestalling education, who'd bother to find out and go through the text of the legislation?
If about 80% of the general population is illiterate, then one could safely surmise that the percentage of illiteracy among women would be even greater. As Muhammad says, many Muslims lives on scraps of information which they turn into conspiracies and then just ‘follow the leader’. In reality what an insult to the poor people caught in this ideological warp, denied the chance to be educated, to read, to think. On AIM we have said these things often enough. Such views gain more power and salience as testimony coming from a Muslim.
A second irony is that wearing the burka has not been mandated in Islam. Muhammad says:
Every Muslim knows that wearing the burqa has never been irremissible in Islam. A considerable number of Islamic jurists do not support it.
So, why is this point not openly discussed by Muslims so the world can hear it? Could it be possible it has too much political capital in it, to portray Muslim women as ‘victims’ . In reality they are victims – but of Islam, not of any western country , to which they themselves have fled to escape their former Islamic country. Interestingly while France discusses, debates and then decides, there is no similar.
Process in Saudi Arabia. As Muhammad notes:
Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has made wearing of abaya (robes) mandatory for all women who visit that country or live there, irrespective of their religion.
A third irony which Muhammad points out is the fact that the wealthier Islamic countries do not take in Muslims refugees and migrants from other countries.
There are more than 50 Muslim countries, some of which (such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, Qatar) are fabulously wealthy. Why it is that not one of all these countries can accommodate Muslim immigrants? Statistics are mind-blowing. According to 2009 figures, 365,000 Muslims have made Australia their home, 281,000 live in Belgium, 657,000 in Canada, 3,554,000 in France, 4,026,000 in Germany, 946,000 in Netherlands, 650,000 in Spain, 1,647,000 in UK, and 2,454,000 in USA.
A fourth irony is that while western countries take in Muslim migrants and grant them rights and dignity – it is not so for foreign workers in Muslim lands.
A strange Kafalah (sponsorship) system is prevailing in oil rich Middle Eastern citadels of Islam. Every migrant worker needs, by law, a guarantor who must be a local citizen. The guarantor legally owns the business and all movable and immovable property of the migrant, and documents are held in his custody. Nothing belongs to the migrant, whether he is entrepreneur or employee, except his passport, which he must carry wherever he goes. (source)
Muhamad’s testimony is valuable and a rare insight into the way that some within the world of Islam see matters. They know full well that the democracy and human rights of the west are something unknown in Islam. Muhammad I invite you to leave Islam and to overlook the exaggerated negatives and come over and ponder, discuss and allow yourself to understand more deeply the good values of the west.