OPINION

Quran burning is sheer Islamophobia, bigotry

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‘Quran resides in millions of hearts’

By: Dr Sheikh Arshid Ahmad

The burning of the Quran in Sweden has sharply heightened tensions throughout the world with Turkey at its forefront showing aggressive approach as it expressed its strict condemnation over this unethical act.”We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book. Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression is completely unacceptable,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Atleast this kind of statement must be given by every Muslim nation and the world should also take necessary actions against the perpetrators.

Unfortunately, Islamophobia seems to be applauded and encouraged in the backdrop of global hate crimes anda huge bias against Muslims that has seen steep uprise in the recent past. Since a decade this vile act has happened in different corners of the world in the garb of freedom of expression and not much has been done about it.

The act of burning of Quran in Sweden triggered strong public reactions in Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine,Iran and other Muslim countries. This incident has the potential to cause disruption of international peace and harmony as it hurts the sentimental and religious values of followers of Islam who are in nearly all countries of the world.

In reaction to this act, UN impressed upon the international community to curb Islamophobia and maintained that these manifestations of hate and riots based on faith and religion need to be combated thoroughly. Islamophobia emerged as a global phenomenon during and after the so-called war on terror when the actions of violent actors, claiming to be fighting for the glory of Islam, resulted in ordinary Muslims having to face the consequences.

Efforts are needed to promote tolerance and pluralism. This includes allowing followers of all faiths to practise their beliefs freely, while Muslim states also have a responsibility to protect their minorities from extremists. Unfortunately, populists and rabble rousers always exploit the schisms. To counter their designs, states and conscientious citizens must resist this rising tide of hate by actively working towards a more tolerant world.

As Quran says: “Everyone’s God-given human dignity must be respected, regardless of his or her faith, race, ethnic origin, gender, or social status (17:70)”. Because everyone is created by Almighty Allah, the Maker of all, humans must treat one another with full honor, respect, and loving-kindness. This is preamble of the humanity and must be practised by everyone regardless of any schism.

We have to understand and educate ourselves that freedom of speech doesn’t means we are free to hit at the sentiments of followers of any religion. Such an act should never be used as a means to despise others, and allowing that is sheer bigotry.

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