Wednesday, November 23, 2005
One mosque we should consider?
I wrote about this a while back here, and the saga is continuing.
Because I like to have my say, I emailed one of the local councillors about this.
Sent: Fri 11/11/2005 11:12 PM
To: Cr Roland Abraham
Subject: Regarding Building applicaition by the Ahmadiyya Association
Dear Mr. Abraham,
It is with interest that I have been following in the local papers the progress of the application by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (Vic branch).
First of all, I am not a Muslim - as a catholic, I'm a long way from part of the religious spectrum.
I have recently moved into the City of Casey, and I know that this is an area with a large diversity of peoples, both racially and religiously.
And, of course, with the arrests over the last few days of people (Islamists) suspected of planning terror attacks, the thought of allowing a new mosque into the area is daunting.
That said, I am wondering if you were aware that the Ahmadiyya are considered heretical by larger, more vocal sects of Islam. A quick glance at Persecution.org will show the persecution suffered by the Ahmadi's at their fellow Muslims.
I am quite happy to go on record as saying that from my studies into Islam (I am currently reading the Qu'ran), I consider that it is discriminatory and does not instil confidence in me as to it's peaceful intentions. That is merely my opinion.
Closer investigation into the Ahmadiyya practices reveal them to be a more tolerant branch than those that are currently blowing up weddings in Jordan, or setting fires in France. Anything that fosters more peaceful relations between our respective religions and communities should be encouraged.
People talk about the Reformation of the Christian and Jewish traditions. They took hundreds of years.
People also say that the Islamic faith can never be reformed; Mohammed's (pbuh) words and deeds must remain the pinnacle of aspiration for now and forever.
I believe that the Ahmadi may just be the people needed to bring Islam into the 21st century, and for that consideration should be given.
Lest you think that I have some sort of agenda to push, I have never met a member of the Ahmadi community, and I have quite cheerfully accepted the epithet 'racist' before because of my views. My thoughts on these and other matters can be found at my blog, with a piece regarding this particular case at http://rightwingdeathbogan.blogspot.com/2005/10/knees-up-in-suburbia.html .
For further reading an the Amadiyya Muslims, I've a selection of links for you to browse if you have the time.
The Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Human Rights Watch report into discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya in Bangladesh.
Introduction to Islam. Note that the author/s of this site consider the Ahmadiyya to be a 'deviation' of Islam, rather than a part of it.
An article from the www.jihadwatch.org website detailing persecution in Pakistan. JihadWatch is considered anathema by many muslims due to it's reportage of activities carried out by Islamic jihadis.
Another article from JihadWatch, referring to discrimination in Indonesia.
Amnesty International on the treatment of the Ahmadi in Bangladesh.
Those are just a few of the websites available.
Here in Australia, we do have the freedom to believe (or not) as we choose. Ignorance is our greatest enemy, particularly in the So-Called War on Terror.
Perhaps if we were more educated about what is going on in the Land of Islam, then we would be better able to combat potential terrorist.
I don't expect that this will have any impact upon the building application, but that is okay.
I do hope that in future, the bigger picture will be taken into consideration with regards to the building of churches, mosques and synagogues.
Perhaps if the local community knew more about the different groups within Islam, there might be a bit less fear and more communication. After all, we know the differences between catholics and protestants!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
I have cc'd a copy to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association purely for their information, as they are a part of the community and this is regarding them.
I will also be posting a copy of this letter at a later stage on my blog, irrespective of whether I receive a reply from you. I am aware that you are busy, and at this time of the year the pace can only increase.
Again, thank you for your time,
I've spoken with Mr. Abraham about this application, and it was certainly an educational chat. Mr. Abraham is an Australian of Egyptian (christian) background, so would be well aware of the situations in places like Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
So what is the current situation here?
Well, the application has been passed, and the residents are not happy. There is stll an avenue for them; they can take it to VCAT. After arbitration and adjudication and other beauracratic stuff (excuse my ignorance here!), the application can still be overruled by the tribunal.
My opinion? Well, the more I learn, the more inclined I am to say "Mr Ahmadiyya, come on down!"
Do I agree with the fact that as a branch of Islam, segregation of the sexes is an intrinsic part of their practice? Not at all. In fact, I detest that particular idea.
However, we are living in uncertain times, and a quick read of RWDB sites will show a growing desire for people to take action while their governments are dithering and pandering to the PC crowd.
We know that terrorist problems are being driven by 'Islamic extremists'.
We know that whatever we do, the problems are not going away. It doesn't matter whether we throw money, or therapy, or warm fuzzies in their general direction, the extremist/fundamentalist/pick-your-ist Islamics are not going to go away.
They want what we have, they want it now, and while some are happy to bide their time, others are not.
They also want their war, and I fear it's not far off.
If there is a chance to head this off, then we need to support groups like the Ahmadiyya. These guys have even supplied the only mslim Nobel Prize for Physics which is great going. The competition in the hard sciences for the Nobel is pretty stiff.
The local community here could also use a bit of education - I hear that Mr Abraham has been told he's not welcome here, and should get back to where he came from. The Ahmadi's have also been copping some abuse. It's not been pleasant, but ignorance never is, and at the risk of sounding superior and pissing off the natives, we are in the lands of the Greater Eastern Bogan.
Change in Islam can only come from within, and the more assistance we can give to truly moderate and peaceful muslims, the faster it can occur.
posted by Nilknarf @ 8:53 PM