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"My body is a book made of skin and bones, where a strong desire for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and democracy is carved into it."

Reader comment on item: Identifying Moderate Muslims
in response to reader comment: Moderate Muslims

Submitted by Rochelle E. Michaels (Canada), Jul 17, 2008 at 13:58

The following message (below) was sent to me as a private note, after I had posted a public message on a forum.

comment: For one brief moment, in this surreal corner of the Internet, I met a Muslim who I believe is a true "Light unto the Nations".

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REM wrote:

It's time the "moderate" Muslims stand up to those who, in the name of ALLAH are bombing ALL OVER THE WORLD.

It's time the "moderate" Muslims stop their brothers' and sisters' intolerance and hate of others.

It's time the "moderate" Muslims prove they are "moderate"

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Believe me, we do! It's a silent "war" ongoing from within. It costs lives, tears, split families, exile, injuries, and more. Let me give you a small anecdote: As a 14 years old young Shia Muslim lad brought up in a liberal, tolerant, and intellectual Shia Muslim family, I did stand up against tyranny in my county and I was beaten up and kicked out of the high school. I didn't give up! I did stand up again and again and again! I did that 4 years and the price was numerous mistreatment and injuries and changing high school 4 times. Does a young teenager deserve that? And still, I did not neglect my prayers to God (Allah) every day. I stayed as a Muslim.

My teenage years were not spend hanging around with friends, cinema, sport, chasing girls, backpacking around countries, and all fun stuff that a teenager should do. No! It was spent striving for freedom and reforms.

As a University student, I did stand up again during the 1st year and the same thing happened – they kicked me out from the University. Then I was requested to go doing the mandatory military service during 36 months, but I as I didn't want to have innocent blood on my hands, I deserted and went to exile. The court sentenced me – in my absence – to death penalty. They did all that to me in the name of God! I didn't give up my prayers and my Muslim believes anyway. I didn't turn my face from Islam, just because some morons took it as hostage to justify their acts.

I cried my eyes out for years seeing my young innocent countrymen being killed in various ways. I felt guilty living in Europe and not being there fighting back. But then I realized that fighting with my pen and words would maybe save and serve more than exchanging bullets.

Many years later, I got amnesty through my embassy and I went back "home". I was arrested on the spot when I arrived and I was in arrest for 3 months. No court. No lawyer. Nothing! In the end, I was released after 12 hard interrogation sessions with the security body.

I still have the big scars on my arms from all those beatings during my teenage years and later. In one of the beating sessions, they "accidentally" cut my vain on my right wrist, so they had to rush me to hospital due to excessive bleeding, so nobody would claim that I was killed under torture. I still have 3 broken bones in my neck not letting me turn my head to the left without feeling pain – broken bones from another "disciplinary session". I haven't been able to sit on the floor with my legs crossed in 26 years due to a malformed bone in my right foot causing severe pain if I sit like that, because the bone got broken when I was running away from militia guys chasing me after setting posters against the government on a wall. I couldn't go to the hospital to treat the bone because I was afraid to be arrested, so the bone healed by itself, but incorrectly. I still get severe headache from time to time due to an old internal bleeding in my brain when they pushed me down a truck when I was arrested once – just as a 17 years old lad participating in demonstration against the government – whereby I hit my head on the pavement hardly causing internal bleeding when they pushed me down. I still have the scars after 2 bullets that drilled through my leg after a demonstration that was disturbed by government forces. I was lucky that the leg was not destroyed. All these injuries caused by my Muslim fellowmen/countrymen. And I am still proud of and conformable with being a Shia Muslim. My body is a book made of skin and bones, where a strong desire for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and democracy is carved into it.

And most important of all, I have a broken heart of seeing my people suffering from both sides – the "Muslim tyrants" and the world opinion about them.

What's my point, dear friend? My point is not to tell you that I am a hero, since I am far from it and haven't been able to contribute to any democracy in my country yet. There are thousand of guys like me, where some of them even have worst scars than me. My point is that we "liberal" Muslims are indeed fighting! But nobody sees us. There are millions of us, but when you face a gun pointed at you and you are not willing to shoot back to kill, then there is not much you can do, my friend. Then you don't just stand up and embrace a bullet in your chest – these things only happen in movies. Then you fight with other means.

It will take time. But we will win.

Bless you.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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