Feature

ayaan2.jpg

Ayaan Hirsi Ali har en oped i New York Times der hun tar utgangspunkt i tre saker i den muslimske verden som har vakt oppsikt den senere tid: I nyhetene kalles hun bare Jenta fra Qatif, en by i Saudi-Arabia. Hun ble voldtatt av sju menn, som nå er dømt, men jenta på 20 år fikk selv 60 piskeslag. Da hennes advokat anket og kritiserte at offeret skulle straffes, reagerte justismyndighetene med raseri, og jentas straff ble økt til 200 piskeslag og et halvt års fengsel. Sak nummer to gjelder Gillian Gibbons, den 54 år gamle britiske læreren i Sudan, kunne fått 40 piskeslag hvis det ikke var for all medieoppmerksomheten. Hun hadde latt elevene kalle en teddybjørn for Muhammed. Det var å krenke religionen. Tredje sak er forfatterinnen Taslima Nasreen som nå jages fra land til land: hun måtte flykte fra Bangladesh og nå vil muslimer i India ha henne ut. Hennes forbrytelse er hva hun skriver, offisielt, men handler i realiteten mer om at Nasreen er blitt et hatobjekt.

Ayaan åpner med skriftstedet i Koranen der det står hvordan man skal håndtere utroskap:

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Koran 24:2)
..
It is often said that Islam has been «hijacked» by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates.

But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted — and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?

Usually, Muslim groups like the Organization of the Islamic Conference are quick to defend any affront to the image of Islam. The organization, which represents 57 Muslim states, sent four ambassadors to the leader of my political party in the Netherlands asking him to expel me from Parliament after I gave a newspaper interview in 2003 noting that by Western standards some of the Prophet Muhammad’s behavior would be unconscionable. A few years later, Muslim ambassadors to Denmark protested the cartoons of Muhammad and demanded that their perpetrators be prosecuted.

But while the incidents in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and India have done more to damage the image of Islamic justice than a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the organizations that lined up to protest the hideous Danish offense to Islam are quiet now.

I wish there were more Islamic moderates. For example, I would welcome some guidance from that famous Muslim theologian of moderation, Tariq Ramadan. But when there is true suffering, real cruelty in the name of Islam, we hear, first, denial from all these organizations that are so concerned about Islam’s image. We hear that violence is not in the Koran, that Islam means peace, that this is a hijacking by extremists and a smear campaign and so on. But the evidence mounts up.

Islamic justice is a proud institution, one to which more than a billion people subscribe, at least in theory, and in the heart of the Islamic world it is the law of the land. But take a look at the verse above: more compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.

If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?

When a «moderate» Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.

Det slår meg at Ayaan setter fingeren på det riktige punkt: medynk, medfølelse. Med de vergeløse, de som trampes ned, de forsvarsløse. Hvor er OIC, hvor er Tariq Ramadan?

Islam’s Silent Moderates

Feature

ayaan2.jpg

Ayaan Hirsi Ali har en oped i New York Times der hun tar utgangspunkt i tre saker i den muslimske verden som har vakt oppsikt den senere tid: I nyhetene kalles hun bare Jenta fra Qatif, en by i Saudi-Arabia. Hun ble voldtatt av sju menn, som nå er dømt, men jenta på 20 år fikk selv 60 piskeslag. Da hennes advokat anket og kritiserte at offeret skulle straffes, reagerte justismyndighetene med raseri, og jentas straff ble økt til 200 piskeslag og et halvt års fengsel. Sak nummer to gjelder Gillian Gibbons, den 54 år gamle britiske læreren i Sudan, kunne fått 40 piskeslag hvis det ikke var for all medieoppmerksomheten. Hun hadde latt elevene kalle en teddybjørn for Muhammed. Det var å krenke religionen. Tredje sak er forfatterinnen Taslima Nasreen som nå jages fra land til land: hun måtte flykte fra Bangladesh og nå vil muslimer i India ha henne ut. Hennes forbrytelse er hva hun skriver, offisielt, men handler i realiteten mer om at Nasreen er blitt et hatobjekt.

Ayaan åpner med skriftstedet i Koranen der det står hvordan man skal håndtere utroskap:

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Koran 24:2)
..
It is often said that Islam has been «hijacked» by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates.

But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted — and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?

Usually, Muslim groups like the Organization of the Islamic Conference are quick to defend any affront to the image of Islam. The organization, which represents 57 Muslim states, sent four ambassadors to the leader of my political party in the Netherlands asking him to expel me from Parliament after I gave a newspaper interview in 2003 noting that by Western standards some of the Prophet Muhammad’s behavior would be unconscionable. A few years later, Muslim ambassadors to Denmark protested the cartoons of Muhammad and demanded that their perpetrators be prosecuted.

But while the incidents in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and India have done more to damage the image of Islamic justice than a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the organizations that lined up to protest the hideous Danish offense to Islam are quiet now.

I wish there were more Islamic moderates. For example, I would welcome some guidance from that famous Muslim theologian of moderation, Tariq Ramadan. But when there is true suffering, real cruelty in the name of Islam, we hear, first, denial from all these organizations that are so concerned about Islam’s image. We hear that violence is not in the Koran, that Islam means peace, that this is a hijacking by extremists and a smear campaign and so on. But the evidence mounts up.

Islamic justice is a proud institution, one to which more than a billion people subscribe, at least in theory, and in the heart of the Islamic world it is the law of the land. But take a look at the verse above: more compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.

If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?

When a «moderate» Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.

Det slår meg at Ayaan setter fingeren på det riktige punkt: medynk, medfølelse. Med de vergeløse, de som trampes ned, de forsvarsløse. Hvor er OIC, hvor er Tariq Ramadan?

Islam’s Silent Moderates