Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

The Arabs’ Suddenly Sensitive Feelings

Like all young Muslim, I was brainwashed to believe that Islam is the perfect way of life. My mind was happy to accept everything that came in the Islamic package and carries the Islamic label. Without ever doubting their wisdom, I had no trouble in accepting the Islamic sharia law with all its absurdities like polygamy and wife-beating. However, I had real difficulty in accepting that part in sharia, which deals with corporal punishment (hudud) like cutting off hands and capital punishment for trivial offences such as leaving Islam or criticising Mohammed. During all my ‘Islamic years’, I deliberately attempted to dissuade such thoughts to intrude my mind, because the mere thought of those draconian Islamic provisions was too disturbing to my natural feelings. So it was a tremendous relief for me, after I left the circle of darkness, to be able to go by my natural human feelings and say a big no to ending anyone’s life, even for a proven criminal. After all, I thought, even notorious criminals and serial killers, once in captivity, become only as good as dead.

Saddam Hussein’s life, however, was in itself a threat to the lives of others, even though he was in captivity. The nature and scale of his atrocities made him a criminal in a class of his own. Decades of his brutal rule left the Iraqis with deep wounds and permanent scars of horror and anguish. I met Iraqis who genuinely believed that the butcher of Baghdad, as they liked to call him, was an alien who doesn’t belong to our human race or to our planet! That was their only explanation for his malicious conduct and remarkable ability to emerge unscathed after every crisis; they actually thought they could never get rid of him. Saddam in captivity was an inspirational icon to his loyal gangs of criminals, in as much as an icon of misery and hopelessness to his victims who lived in the fear of his coming back! In this sense, the mere existence of Saddam was an obstacle to Iraq’s stability and a threat to its national security.

Undoubtedly, the execution of Saddam was a painful blow to his Arab supporters and appeasers. The widespread outrage expressed by the Arabs was not confined to the pro-Saddam groups but spilled over to involve other Sunni Muslims regardless of their political affiliation. The initial reason for their outrage, as they put it, was the thoughtless timing of his execution. The execution was carried out on the first day of Eid, which has hurt their ‘sensitive feelings’. After the West’s criticism of the mobile phone’s footage, the Sunni Muslims found another reason for their outrage. The Arabic media described the behaviour of the Iraqi government as barbaric and a proof of being worse than Saddam. This is a rather surprising reaction from the Arabic media to the illicit mobile footage, when those media themselves use disturbing graphic images extensively to inflame the feelings of their Muslim audience.

One would expect Muslims to be the last people on earth to talk about fine values and use civilized expressions like ‘sensitive feelings’. The world is more familiar with the image of Muslims going to the streets dancing and celebrating the death of innocent civilians killed by fellow Muslims. The world is too accustomed watching the Muslims dragging the victims’ bodies in the streets, or setting fires on the churches or bombing mosques that belong to different sects of Islam. Muslims are better known as those who take children as hostages in schools and slaughter them, or kidnap whoever falls in their way and behead them just for the sake of making a point. Muslims are known to have never apologized spontaneously for any atrocity they had carried out; on the contrary they promise the continuation of more such mayhem. So how hypocritical it is that they dare talk about sensitive feelings!

The truth is that Sunni Muslims feel defeated and humiliated in Iraq, and they cannot come to terms with the reality that Iraq is now governed by a Shia dominated government, for the first time in its history. Sunni Muslims suddenly woke up to the painful truth of a rising Shia threat, but feel embarrassed to express their real feelings and prefer to turn their insult and anger on the Shia. The execution of Saddam was such an opportunity for them to appear civilized by highlighting the savage behaviour of their Shia rivals.

Muslims are known to use the issue of their ‘sensitive feelings’ whenever it suits their agenda. Their ‘sensitive feelings’ are selective, because they were never touched by all those killings and beheadings carried out by fellow Muslims around the world. Those sensitive feelings were muted over a year ago, when hundreds of innocent civilians were killed and injured by a suicide bomber on the first day of Eid in Kurdistan. The innocent victims were attending a special reception at the city hall to celebrate the first day of Eid. The bloody scenes of this massacre did not disturb these Muslims’ sensitive feelings. We did not see any tangible outrage and condemnations in the Muslim communities, as one would have expected. Some Islamic media thought it was not worth talking about that massacre and gave little coverage.

The outrage expressed by the Sunni Arab media in response to Saddam’s execution just completes the picture of a total Islamic disgrace. On one hand, the Sunni claim that the shia Iraqis tormented Saddam before his execution, and afterwards they followed what has now become a usual ‘Islamic ritual’ of dancing and chanting in the streets. This Islamic savage reaction to death is prescribed in the Quran in Surat Al tauba (Q.9:1414. Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers). While on the other hand, the Sunni Muslims have associated themselves with a convicted criminal whose only defence with regard to his crimes was: ‘they deserve it’! Those Sunni Muslims were also following an Islamic tradition established by Mohammed. During his rule in Medina, Mohammed never denied any of the assassinations of his political opponents or the genocides he had committed against the Jewish tribes in Arabia. His only defence was ‘they deserved it’, which also happens to be the only defence we hear from his followers today!

Saddam’s execution may have created a widening rift between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The public opinion of the Sunni Muslims is in a state of confusion when it comes to how to deal with the Shia Islam under the leadership of Iran. As recently as a few weeks ago, the Sunni Arabs were rallying behind Iran and its strong arm in Lebanon, Hizbuallah, offering them total support against Israel. Their excitement made them turn a blind eye to the rising Iranian nuclear threat or Hizbuallah’s recent show of force in the streets of Beirut. That love affair is now a thing of the past. Because of last week’s developments Sunni and Shia Muslims may actually be on a collision course. During the last week, we started seeing signs of a major shift in this delicate relationship between the two major Islamic sects. We now hear some Sunni Arabs describing Iran, not Israel, as their enemy number one. A high-ranking Saudi scholar issued a fatwa branding the Shia Muslims as non-Muslims or as infidels, therefore halal for complete annihilation!

Saddam, in his life and execution, was a disgrace to Muslims and Islam. He was a major dividing factor in the already divided Islamic world. He killed and raped and committed genocides just like Mohammed had done during his time. Saddam was an example for the man who can never be trusted, respected or believed by any sane person. However, there is no shortage of people who believed and admired the wicked tyrant, they happen to be the same kind of brain-dead people who also believed and admired Mohammed fourteen hundreds year ago.

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