The battle of the faiths (unanswered questions)?
By Chidi Emmanuel
KUWAIT: No Christmas greetings to infidels! No Valentine’s! No more churches! No, No, No…. But in the West, Muslims want their Sharia—they want to have their mosques, even in the White House and Buckingham Palace. “No one can stop us from practicing our religion,” one of my Muslim friends told me in Bahrain. Well, good and right. But is it the same as with other religious groups? “We can practice our religion everywhere, but you can’t practice yours in our land.” This is an implicit message to the non-Muslim nations. There is no country in this world that has no mosque, but why is the case different for Christians in Saudi Arabia and Qatar?
Muslims have mosques in almost every country as they go to their places of worship unperturbed. There are hundreds of mosques even in Protestant-dominated Britain, Hindu-dominated India, Catholic-dominated Rome and all over the world. Many airports even have mosques and places of worship for Muslims. In Europe and the US, they go unchecked with their religious practices. Many go as far as using their paid hours to perform their daily prayer rituals all in the name of rights.
What about the Christians and other religious groups in the Middle East? Even to open just one church in a country, (Qatar) is generating a brouhaha and triggering a bitter debate. Critics have even branded it as, ‘repulsive’. Many have vowed a capital ‘NO’ to that, while some moderate people are giving a hesitant nod with restrictions - (No cross should be raised in the skies of Qatar). But come to the ancient English city, Oxford, a battle of faith is being waged where the small Muslim community there wants to broadcast a recording of the call to prayer with loud speakers.
Muslims are planting mosques like trees in all countries of the world. In Toronto, Canada, they have created a city state called Al-Ahmadi neighborhood with the Paris suburb turning to a Mideast extension. We, and them – Dichotomy As the prophet’s (PBUH) cartoon uproar rages, Iran (of all nations) has shot a film about Jesus. Who cares? Only God will fight for the Christians in this part of the world. A Muslim lady teacher must wear her veil anywhere and anytime with or without law. But Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Nihilists etc., must not be caught eating during the holy month of Ramadan. You must fast or eat discreetly in your house whether you like it or not.
For them (Muslims), it is their rights but for others, (Non-Muslims) their Muslim law must be obeyed. We must fight for our religious rights. Yes! We must open mosques and say our five-times-a-day prayers anywhere, anytime even in the aircrafts. We can insult Western leaders, burn US, UK and Israeli flags but don’t dare insult our leaders nor burn our flag. The cartoonist and Denmark must be punished for printing the prophet’s cartoon but what about Iran and the Iranian film director Nadar Talebzadeh, who produced the ‘Islamic Jesus?’ Don’t shout and disturb your neighbors while praying, but we must call for prayers five times a day. (It is our religious right). Are we truly justified by our actions? Only time will vindicate the just.
By Chidi Emmanuel (Kuwait Times)