- Traffic Laws in Saudi Arabia Between Infraction and Enforcement - 20 August 2016
- Bomb Mecca off the Face of the Earth - 11 January 2016
- I Am Muslim and I Am Angry – OpEd - 12 July 2015
Ramadan is a spiritually significant month for Muslims the world over. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. It is a time when Muslims repent, ask for forgiveness for sins and spend their time in intense worship. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, and do away with bad habits and bad feelings. Fasting, reading the Quran, increasing charitable deeds, cleansing one’s behaviour, and doing good deeds are some of the ways Muslims use to draw themselves closer to God. This is what true Muslims believe in and do.
About ten days ago, an explosion rocked a mosque in Kuwait, which killed 26 and wounded 227 worshippers. Worshippers had gathered for Friday prayers at the Al-Imam Al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City when a powerful bomb ripped through the courtyard of the heavily congested mosque causing much death and damage. The timing of the blast was significant as Friday noon prayers are generally the most crowded of the week, and attendance increases multi-fold during the holy month of Ramadan.
Investigations later revealed that the perpetrator was a Saudi male who along with some Kuwaiti sympathizers intended to stir up Sunni-Shia division and rifts with his murderous act. This bearded individual from a village in Saudi Arabia had actually flown into Kuwait from Riyadh the day of the bombings and left death and destruction among the faithful. He had stayed at a house owned by a fundamentalist who subscribed to ‘extremist and deviant ideology’ and was then driven to the mosque by an illegal resident to carry out this macabre plan.
On the same day, terror attacks in two different continents took place by supposed sympathizers to the extreme doctrine followed by the Saudi suicide bomber. In Tunisia, a gunman wandered onto a popular beach at a seaside hotel picked off guests with an automatic rifle. His death count was 37 people killed and 36 wounded according to Tunisian authorities. In France, a man with suspicious ties to violent groups blew up a factory injuring two people. Inside his van that was nearby was a decapitated body and a severed head was found a few feet away. ISIS, the growing global brand of terrorism, took immediate credit in the aftermath of these gruesome acts.
As a consolation to the violence it was somewhat refreshing to note that leading Islamic institutions immediately denounced such immoral activities. The leading Sunni Muslim institution based in Egypt, Al-Azhar, a, released a statement saying that “the heinous shooting at a Tunisian coastal resort which killed 28 people, mostly Europeans, was a violation of all religious and humanitarian norms.” It also condemned the suicide bombing at the Kuwaiti Shiite mosque and the suspected militant attack. In a publicized statement, in reference to ISIS, Al-Azhar “calls on the international community to defeat this terrorist group though all available means.”
A prominent Sunni cleric Yousuf Al-Qaradawi charged that the militants were worse than ‘beasts’. “Beasts don’t kill other animals except for what they need to eat, but some people never get their fill from murder and blood,” in a statement released on social media.
In Kuwait, the ruling Emir, the government, parliamentary and political groups and clerics have all said Friday’s attack on the Shia mosque was meant to stir up sectarian strife in the emirate. Terming the attack bluntly as one of ‘black terror’ a statement said that ‘the objectives of the criminal act have failed. We want to deliver a message to Daesh (ISIS) that we are united brothers among the Sunnis and Shiites, and they cannot divide us.”
I am angry. As a Muslim it maddens me when criminals use my religion to screen their immoral and murderous intentions. It infuriates me that I have to justify my religion and myself to the non-Muslim world in the wake of such barbarity by individuals with no obvious morals. It angers me that a terrorist like the Saudi who flew into Kuwait tarnishes my religion and my nationality with his vicious actions.
It angers me to see how a “peaceful religion” has been manipulated by some to be a tool of terror against their perceived adversaries. It angers me that such people follow ‘extreme and deviant ideology’ and yet call themselves Muslims. It angers me to know that some clerics with their hard-line views continue to promote sectarian divisions from both sides. It angers me to know that they are still being heard.
I am not a Sunni or Shia or an Ahmedi or a Khawani. I am a Muslim! I am not a Salafi or a Sufi, a Ja’afari or a Batini. I am a Muslim! I was raised by the Islamic tenets of peace and kindness. And by God I am angry that people in the name of Islam defile my religion.