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Islam and inter-faith dialogue

Reader comment on item: Palestinians Taste a Dose of Their Own Medicine

Submitted by Hari Iyer (United States), Nov 22, 2005 at 00:37

Somewhere there was an article re interfaith dialogue. I had mentioned that muslims do not believe in interfaith dialogue if they are in majority but would seek interfaith dialogue where they are a minority in a secular democratic environment.

Here is proof.

Here is an article in Dailytimes.com.pk which is a newspaper in Pakistan and there is an article from a Khalid Ahmed about islamists appearing in a tv show not supporting interfaith dialogue.
Also funny is the show contents from other tv programs where islamic participants casually talk about killing infidels.

Here is the link.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005\11\22\story_22-11-2005_pg3_3

Here is the article in full.
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http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005\11\22\story_22-11-2005_pg3_3

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

SECOND OPINION: Don't invite us to an inter-faith dialogue! —Khaled Ahmed's TV Review
Why tell others that their faith is wrong? Why not simply defend your own against the savage meanings given to it by the orthodox clergy? What use is an unchanging interpretation of faith if it leads to usurpation of rights of women and non-Muslim subjects? Why be so aggressive in conversion?

In the West, inter-faith dialogue is the new trend. The main purpose is to make the Muslims look objectively at other religions and be less intolerant. Followers of other religions have already had the dialogue and are mutually tolerant. Will Muslims be able to tolerate other faiths?

ARY (October 19, 2005) Aneeq Ahmad discussed inter-faith dialogue with famous Bombay preacher Dr Zakir Naek and Karachi's Islamic scholar Dr Hussain Muhammad Ja'fari. Dr Naek said that there were similarities in all religions on the basis of which they could talk to each other. He said all religions believed in one God and one book. He said it was possible that Rama and Krishna were prophets of early antiquity. Ja'fari divided religions into Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic.

Aniq Ahmad said that all religions had to accept Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last Prophet. Dr Naek agreed and said Christians would have to set their faith right in the light of the Quran. There was no concept of trinity in the Bible, even though the Bible as book of God had been tampered with. Ja'fari said how could there be a dialogue with other religions if you were intent on telling them that Islam was the only true faith. Without paying respect and tolerating other religions, how could Muslims take part in inter-faith dialogue?

Dr Naek did not agree with this. He also did not accept the commonly understood message of the Quran that one should not criticise other religions. He said the Quran frequently said that Christians and Jews should be told that they were wrong. He said other religions had to be defeated.

Aneeq Ahmad had no business giving his own view. In a way he sabotaged the discussion. He keeps wiggling most annoyingly when the discussants are speaking. His other mannerisms, apart from a very stilted Urdu, are distracting too. Dr Hussain Muhammad Ja'fari was right when he said: how could there be a dialogue with other faiths if you don't respect other religions and are intent upon proving them wrong?

Dr Zakir Naek does his conversion bit on the Hindus, who have proved to be most tolerant of his evangelism in Mumbai. Why tell others that their faith is wrong? Why not simply defend your own against the savage meanings given to it by the orthodox clergy? What use is an unchanging interpretation of faith if it leads to usurpation of rights of women and non-Muslim subjects? Why be so aggressive in conversion? If we simply live a good life with noble ideals and a kind approach to others, we might stand a better chance of converting.

Muslim clerics make it a point to stay away from the contaminating touch of Christian and Jewish scriptures and religious traditions. Dr Naek is an exception, but he must develop sympathy for the church doctrines not contained in the Bible and Talmudic practices not contained in the Torah. As we are today, no one should invite us to an interfaith dialogue.

AAJ TV (October 26, 2005) Islamic scholar Javed Al Ghamidi in his teaching of the Quran stated that many passages of the Quran had been wrongly understood and hence their application to life was harmful and misleading. In Sura Baqara Allah told believers that He would surely test them with physical and material suffering. He said this could not apply to Muslims in all times. Allah did not test all believers. The truth was that the verse was meant for the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him). There was no doubt that Allah had put them through the trial of pain, but the verse was no longer applicable today.

The present was guided by other rules laid out in the Quran. He said in Sura Tauba Allah orders Muslims to kill all mushrikeen at sight. He said it was not meant for Muslims of all times to get ready to kill all non-believers at sight, as had been presumed. The verse was meant for a specific moment in history. He said similarly there was a common belief that any Muslim changing his religion would become an apostate who had to be killed. This too was derived from a time-bound command and was not applicable to all times.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi is an enlightened man in the midst of some very aggressive and intolerant scholars of Islam. His discourse is gradually weaning the audiences away from the hardline Islam other clerics are busy propagating. He is extremely articulate and will not accept later accretions to the understanding of the Quran. How can we live in this world if we think we have to hate Christians and Jews? No other nation thinks like that. That is an advantage in world affairs that we lack.

Prime TV (October 19, 2005) With Dr Moeed conducting the discussion, UK's Labour MP Keith Vaaz tried to defend his government on the proposed new law against terrorism. Masood Shahjareh said Muslims could not give up Sharia law, but Vaaz said that as the new law was being discussed, the Muslims in his constituency should have come to him to give their views on it but none had come forward. He said Tony Blair was not a dictator as he had come to power through popular vote.

Masood Shahjareh constantly interrupted him and kept on saying that Tony Blair was in denial on Iraq. He was opposed to the new law whatever it was.

The body language of Shahjareh like his name was most offensive. Dr Moeed did not intervene when he was interrupting Vaaz or speaking out of turn. The main aim of Shahjareh was to insult. One hopes that this was not the aim of Prime TV too. Defending the Pakistani and other Muslims in the UK doesn't mean insulting the moderates (which has been done) and non-Muslims who stray into the discussions.

Dr Moeed should be careful. His programme may be hit by refusal to attend from people who believe only in decent discussion. Getting up on your hind legs is not the objective. There must be cool-headed discussion and the UK Muslims must learn to behave in a civilised fashion. Shahjareh with his fake ‘denial' rhetoric is poison. Dr Moeed should not take it. *
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