By Nishthar Idroos (Colombo Telegraph)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), said, “People will face a time of patience in which someone adhering to his religion (Islam) will be like holding on to hot and burning coal.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2260.
The above prophecy is coming to fruition and Muslims are consciously reconciling to it. I am reminded of the famous CNN news Anchor John King lighting up red states and blue states on the eve of American Presidential Elections. Flickering with high voltage load of red lights are Israel, USA, France, India, Burma, Sri Lanka and now China. Nations that continue to harass, torture and kill Muslims with relative impunity just for their faith.
Over the years the intolerance has grown and so has the victimization of Muslims. Of all countries the bastion and the so called epitome of freedom and liberty has failed big time and failed miserably to put a stop. Freedom of religion in the USA is challenged. It’s challenged allegedly by the right wing and sections of the establishment engendering tacit political succor. American Christians have demonstrated both a lack of charity and a denial of the right to religious liberty by engaging and doing many nasty things.
Burma and Sri Lanka have chipped in quite remarkably too. The megalomaniacal antiques of BBS General Secretary Venerable Galagoda Atte Gnanasara and guardian of the Burmese 999 movement Ashin Wirathu. Seemingly two democracies that have extended a virtual carte blanche to these two terrorists to further the mayhem and tarnish the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
Cover story of the 20 June 2013 issue of Time magazine called Ashin Wirathu “The Face of Buddhist Terror“. Non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. Buddhist Politicians in Sri Lanka have taken this to another level by donning milky white raiment’s and waxing eloquent on the media about the virtues of Buddhism.
Rohingya – a Muslim ethnic minority of about 1 million among Burma’s predominantly Buddhist 52 million people – have lived in Burma for generations. Most Burmese view them as foreign intruders from neighboring Bangladesh. They had faced discrimination and violence from the Buddhist majority in the country. Their plight and predicament gone unnoticed to the world at large.
In Sri Lanka monks have used hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs have left a trail of death and destruction. Burma and Sri Lanka are in the limelight today. Neither country is facing an Islamist militant threat. Muslims in both places are a generally an insignificant minority.
It hasn’t taken much time for the Chinese to get their act together. It seems they know a thing or two more than seducing third world leaders to a debt trap. Tantalizingly woven debt is a lethal weapon they are using to great effect.
In this blessed month of Ramadan Muslims around the world are somewhat troubled and angry to hear that the Chinese army are busy doing night patrols in the Muslim dominant western Xinjiang region to find out which Muslim house is lit up preparing meals for the traditional pre-dawn partaking ( suhoor). Those caught are severely warned and in some cases terribly tortured. It seems the Chinese government is getting a trifle paranoid about Islam and its rituals. It seems this is all a part of the Chinese policy of secularization and assimilation.
For the Muslim faithful Ramadan is a time for self-discipline, reflection, and deepening their relationship with God. But for the Chinese authorities in the Xinjiang autonomous ethnic region, the far-western Chinese province governed tightly by Beijing, the fast isn’t a devotion but an unmistakable political weapon.
In remarkable consistency, as in previous years, there are numerous reports that Muslims in Xinjiang have been forced to eat during the day. Restaurants have been forbidden from closing, mosques are closely monitored or shut, and government workers and students have been expressly banned from fasting. Not showing up to a midday college meal or village feast can get your name put on the kind of list you don’t want to be on. A practicing Muslim is labelled a terrorist just for practicing.
Most Uighurs are Muslim and Islam is an important part of their life and identity. They regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. China’s western Xinjiang region has had a long history of discord between China’s authorities and the indigenous Uighur ethnic minority.
Over the past decade, many prominent Uighurs have been imprisoned or have sought asylum abroad after being accused of terrorism. Mass immigration of Han Chinese to Xinjiang had made Uighurs a minority in Xinjiang. Beijing is accused of exaggerating the threat from Uighur separatists in order to justify repression in the region.
The Muslims will have to get used to holding on to hot burning coal if they sincerely want to practice their religion.