Friday, 11 January 2013

Sara Ege: the Quran condemns murder

By murdering her seven year old son, Sara Ege germinated and brought to fruition three great tragedies.

Sara Ege was sentenced to life imprisonment at Cardiff Crown Court
by Khalil Yousuf

The first is the senseless dispatching of a bright, intelligent and innocent young boy who may well have grown up to be an impressive contributor to his family and community. The second is the great emptiness that now must be felt by a grieving family and a numbed and helpless Cardiff neighbourhood. The third is a tragedy for Islam’s reputation.

Yaseen Ege was killed by a 33 year mathematics graduate hell-bent (no, that is not an unfortunate choice of words) on using violence to teach Yaseen a peaceful book. That is a tragic irony given that the Quran explicitly states: "There is no compulsion in religion" and "whoever is as if he had slain mankind entirely and whoever saves one, it is as if he had saved mankind entirely."

Sara Ege’s perspectives reflects an absolutist view of Islam that is often expounded by a small minority of uneducated, extreme and politically motivated clerics who mislead their flock into believing all kinds of codswallop about Islam. In fact, any fair study of Islam will prove that it is a source of harmony and unity -not bombs, beatings or belligerence.

Islam and religion in general are sources of countless individual acts of humanity and charity; the work of the worldwide Muslim charity Humanity First as well as Red Cross, Red Crescent and The Salvation Army are obvious examples, none of which should be forgotten. Britain's Muslims are also doing their fair share. The UK’s 100 year-old Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is making a real attempt to educate people about the true peaceful message of Islam and its decades old motto of “Love for all Hatred for None” is finding increasing resonance among those who seek a moderate and properly understood teaching. That is precisely the message we need.

As a British Muslim and loyal citizen of the United Kingdom, I am convinced that we need a grown up debate about Islam and its place in Britain. We must as a society challenge harmful religious and non-religious extremist ideologies without fearing the labels of racism, Islamophobia or intolerance, but we must do so constructively and responsibly. Equally, where Islam, other religions or non-faith communities offer positive contributions to Britain, we should shout about them from the rooftops, because those individual and collective contributions serve to make our society even better.

One way or the other, to allow religious, political or secular extremism to ferment because of some misguided loyalty to political correctness is to inflict upon society and innocents like Yaseen an incalculable harm, a harm we cannot and should not be asked to bear. Winston Churchill once said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Looks like it’s time for us all to get dressed. @KhalilYousuf

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