Saturday, 11 September 2010

Thoughts On 9/11 And Burn A Quran Day

I still remember that on the faithful day of Sept 11, 2001, my parents and I congregated near the TV and spent the evening watching TV (of course, duh) and suddenly an urgent news report took the current show to a halt to announce that one of the WTC Towers was hit by a passenger plane (presumably massive), causing damage and a fire that was (also presumed) to not be of too significant a hazard. We thought that that was it, until the second plane came to hit the other tower, insinuating the event to not have actually been an accident. More than 3000 office-workers, who innocently went to work thinking that it would actually be another working day that would run and end normally, died as the towers that was a symbol of power and modern economy in general, crumbled. Being a 12-year-old boy at that time, I was pretty curious of what actually happened, but little did I know of the power it actually had in moulding the history of the Naughties as we know it.

Few events manages to compare to the crumbling of the towers when it comes to the implications it had to the global geopolitics. While Kristallnacht heralded full-fledged Holocaust in parts of Continental Europe, 9/11 brought along a sense of enmity towards Muslims, whose faith was alleged as an impediment to peace.

Let's face it; terrorism IS deplorable. Religions and holy scriptures of any kind, if interpreted properly, do not condone any act of atrocity, 9/11 included. Therefore, while the 'Burn A Quran Day' idea can be said to have stemmed from bigotry, insensitivity and evil intention, it also gives Muslims around the world a chance to reflect at what they have done wrong to the world to have given rise to such hatred and Islamophobia.

It's a shame that some Muslims use Islam to justify terrorism. They claim that it's what God, through His scripture, has ordered them to do. This certainly contradicts the Islamic principle of not using ends to justify the means. Since Islam strictly prohibits the killing of women and children and the destruction of the places of worship, livestock, properties and even trees, it can be said with intense surety and ease that the religion itself is not of any harm to mankind.

“…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” 6:151

So, where does the problem lie, actually?

While Islam, in its own right, advocates peace, it is disheartening to note that some, who proclaim themselves as Muslim, do not follow what the religion preaches. They defy their religious order and commit terror. It is even more disheartening for many to use the example of a this type of Muslims, who have clearly transgressed as they choose to spread violence, as indicative of what Islam is actually all about. It's like saying that the Mexicans are all involved in drug cartels and all South Africans, whose country has a relatively high homicide rate, are murderers. Generalization at its glory.

Therefore, since burning items always sends powerful message to the society (back then, smoke was used as a place-mark or something), let's burn something then. Something we rightfully deplore. Something that deserves to be deplored. Since obesity is such a problem in many parts of the world, especially in the land of KFCs and Drive-Thru's, let's mark 9/11 as a 'Burn-Your-Calorie Day'. Or if your house smells like open sewer, you can light some aromatherapy candles (and subsequently burn it out) to make your olfactory sense (and self) a wee bit happier. Or if you hate the tacky pop songs that currently inundate our pop radios, you can always have a ''Burn A Bieber CD Day". Something like that.

Even if you despise the Islamic teachings to the core, there's no point in burning a Quran on the day, either. To burn a Quran, you have to buy it first. The printed Qurans just don't fall straight from the sky. So yes, you have to go to a bookstore and spend your dollars getting a copy. By spending those dollars you are helping the Islamic publishing companies to be a few dollars more profitable, and the struggling ones will finally be kept afloat. Just imagine, if ten thousand people just feel the need to burn ten thousand copies of Quran, the publishing companies will end up earning at least USD100,000 extra (with the approximate profit of USD10 per copy). With the money, they can surely publish more quality Islamic materials and print more copies of Quran in the future. It's simple economics, people!

So, if you think that burning a Quran just makes you look plain stupid, or if you seek answers for some questions you think no other book seems capable of answering, just take your time and read Quran. And if you think that a dose of divine revelation doesn't hurt, have a peek at the following Quranic verses:

"And do not let ill-will towards any folk incite you so that you swerve from dealing justly. Be just; that is nearest to heedfulness" 5:8


And this:
“…if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” 5:32


Yes, 9/11's a tragedy. The towers that fell were not just simple edifice; they acted as a symbol of globalization and modern economic principles and values. The destruction of the towers not only drove thousands to their death. It also pulled millions into bigotry. The latter was what the terrorists wanted to achieve by any means. For with bigotry and hatred, the civilization will be led to ruination and people will never know peace.


Faizal Hamssin

1 comment:

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