Archive for August, 2009

A New Dawn (extract)

August 30, 2009

The following is a short extract from the first two chapters of Craig’s new manuscript ‘A NEW DAWN’, on which he’s currently “working”

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A NEW DAWN

CHAPTER ONE: FATIMA

Fatima Mohamed (or Prasad) had always been concerned with human rights.  Her strong Islamic faith was all-encompassing in her life to guide her down his life’s journey. Religion was for people SEEKING the way to spiritual enlightenment.

“I believe in reaching out to others in seeking God.
My most important principles are human rights, a sense of righteousness, dignity of the person, justice, kindness and giving. And especially, peace between all peoples and nations, which greatly pleases Allah: ‘Whereby Allah guides him who seeks good pleasure unto paths of peace’ (5:16).
Jesus also once said that “you shall know people by the fruits that they bear” – fruits of faith, such as compassion, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation or peace.
So most Christians hold the same values as us.

I also value tolerance and harmony amongst diverse groups of peoples. So I reject “religious totalarism. And the Koran forbids transgression. The Holy Book promotes patience for the sake of peace.
It warns against initiating hostilities. ‘Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loves not agressors’ (2:190).

So you see we Muslims are often misunderstood by the Western media. We are expressly told in the Koran to avoid violence and refrain from initiating attacks. However, if confrontation is inevitable, the Koran gives instructions to fight back in self defense. The Holy Book promotes reconciliation, rather than vengeance; as it’s always better to forgive another’s transgressions.

The Koran preaches tolerance towards other religions. We are to seek peaceful co-existence among diverse groups of various regions. ‘Allah forbids you, not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drive you not out from your homes, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loves the just dealers’ ( 60:8). As a result, it is compulsory for every Muslim to be kind and just to his or her neighbouring non-Muslim.

As regards the principles of tolerance, Allah also says: ‘Unto each nation have We given sacred rites which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with you of the matter, but summon yourself unto your Lord. Lo! You indeed follow right guidance. And if they wrangle with you, say: Allah is best aware of what you do. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein you used to differ’ (22:67-69).
So the Koran makes it quite clear that we Muslims should let other groups practice their religion in peace.

In my life I am a person who always tries to avoid conflict, to be forgiving and indulgent towards other faiths, like
the Christians and Jews. Because God’s way sees the supreme goodness of God… and that’s the best way to live. By the personal grace of “being”. So every day I’m in touch with an infinite, personal God. I believe that everybody is made in the image of God and consequently that every person, no matter their standing in life has some level of dignity.

“It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside our international and partisan bickering and join to confront the danger that lies before us.”
– Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, in the ‘Wall Street Journal’.

Islam preaches tolerance towards other religions. Wahid says: Religious fanatics – either purposely or out of ignorance – pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike… Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view – further radicalising Muslims and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself…Our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”

‘Lo, Allah is able to do all things!'(2:109)”

(Based upon a speech by Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, as reported in the ‘Wall Street Journal’).

“We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.”
(2:136).
*

CHAPTER TWO: ISHMAIL

It was March in the year 2004. The Imam (elite scholar) started off my telling us that our strict duty as followers of Islam, our calling as young warriors was strict adherance to the teachings of the Koran and the Sunnah.

On the first anniversary of the American invasion of my beloved country Iraq, the ‘cradle of civilisation’, the Imam (elite scholar) declared that Jihad in battle was compulsory on every Muslim. The US and British occupation was an act of hostility against Muslim land, and the Imam explained to us that the duty of Muslims was to protect their land. We were being opressed by the invaders from the evil West, who are trying to spread Bush’s American Christian message to us Arabs in the Middle East.
A clear violent attack against us Muslims and our way of life, our entire culture has been under way for some time now.

The Imam (elite scholar) declared that “Jihad in battle was compulsory on every Muslim; because of the American invasion of his beloved Iraq, the ‘cradle of civilisation’.” “It’s hostility against Muslim land, and it is the duty of Muslims to protect their land.”

“So we will fight and defeat the enemy on the battlefield.
And of course, we are committing an act for which Allah will reward us greatly. I’ll go straight to Heaven as a martyr for killing members of the hated enemy with me. ‘Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil’ (4:76).

We ‘Mujahideen’ will fight to the death in the name of Jihad and kill all the infidels who have invaded our country. With Allah at our side we will be victorious in battle and the ‘shaheed’ will be abundantly rewarded in Heaven.
Because the Prophet Mohammed said that he who is killed for his religion is a martyr…and the Koran guarantees every martyr a place in Heaven.
The martyr’s soul flies straight to Heaven according to our Holy Book. It says: ‘Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead.  Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision’ (3:169). This promise by Allah that all ‘shaheeds’ go to Heaven strengthens the will of us soldiers in battle. We have no fear of death in combatting the enemy. Because I KNOW that if I should die, Allah will take my soul right up to Heaven.

‘And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter’ (verse 191).

So

We WILL fight the enemy back. We WILL slay the infidels on the battlefields.”

Information on the Koran extracted from ‘The Everything Koran Book’ by Duaa Anwar, Publisher Adams Media Avon Masachusetts (www.everything.com)

CHAPTER THREE: MOHAMED (or ISAAC)

Mohamed Prasad was a doctor, who felt his mission in life was to try and alleviate human suffering. Mohamed had always been concerned with human rights.  His strong Islamic faith was all-encompassing in his life to guide him down his life’s journey. Religion was for people SEEKING the way to spiritual enlightenment.

“I believe in reaching out to others in seeking God.
My most important principles are human rights, a sense of righteousness, dignity of the person, justice, kindness and giving. And especially, peace between all peoples and nations,  which greatly pleases Allah: ‘Whereby Allah guides him who seeks good pleasure unto paths of peace'(5:16).
Jesus also once said that “you shall know people by the fruits that they bear” – fruits of faith, such as compassion, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation or peace.
So most Christians hold the same values as us.

I also value tolerance and harmony amongst diverse groups of peoples. So I reject “religious totalaranism. And the Koran forbids transgression. The Holy Book promotes patience for the sake of peace.
It warns against initiating hostilities. ‘Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loves not agressors’ (2:190).

So you see we Muslims are often misunderstood by the Western media. We are expressly told in the Koran to avoid violence and refrain from initiating attacks. However, if confrontation is inevitable, the Koran gives instructions to fight back in self defense. The Holy Book promotes reconciliation, rather than vengeance; as it’s always better to forgive another’s transgressions.

The Koran preaches tolerance towards other religions. We are to seek peaceful co-existence among diverse groups of various regions. ‘Allah forbids you, not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drive you not out from your homes, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loves the just dealers’ (60:8). As a result, it is compulsory for every Muslim to be kind and just to his or her neighbouring non-Muslim.

As regards the principles of tolerance, Allah also says: ‘Unto each nation have We given sacred rites, which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with you of the matter; but summon yourself unto your Lord. Lo! You indeed follow right guidance. And if they wrangle with you, say: ‘Allah is best aware of what you do. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein you used to differ’ (22:67-69).
So the Koran makes it quite clear that we Muslims should let other groups practice their religion in peace.

In my life I am a person who always tries to avoid conflict, to be forgiving and indulgent towards other faiths, like
the Christians and Jews. Because God’s way sees the supreme goodness of God…and that’s the best way to live. By the personal grace of “being”. So every day I’m in touch with an infinite, personal God. I believe that everybody is made in the image of God and consequently that every person, no matter their standing in life has some level of dignity.

As Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, one said:”It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside our international and partisan bickering and join to confront the danger that lies before us.”
So Islam preaches tolerance towards other religions. Wahid also says: “Religious fanatics – either purposely or out of ignorance – pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike… Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view – further radicalising Muslims and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself…Therefore our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”

‘Lo, Allah is able to do all things!'(2:109)”

(Based upon a speech by Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, as reported in the ‘Wall Street Journal’).

*
Wearily Mohamed Prasad concluded his adress with these words: “We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.”
(2:136)

WESTERNISATION IS NOT THE WAY TO CLOSE GAPS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
by Ahmed Zewail

“Westerners should all build bridges of progress and peace with an attempt at understanding the profound role of pride and faith in the lives of us Muslims.

Incidentally, why can’t reason and faith co-exist with faith – an argument settled for Christians centuries ago; but a question which Islam has not fully begun adressing.

Vitally, the West’s and particularly the USA’s support of undemocratic regimes for the sake of securing resources and influence, and insensitivity to our culture and faith.

The West should chart a very different foreign policy with the aim of gaining the confidence and co-operation of Muslims for solving complex conflicts.

In the Middle East it is clear that peace will never be reached without solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – with a lasting solution. A two-state permanent solution must be found and enforced.

Force and isolation from western powers will not solve these problems in our part of the world. Instead we need a comprehensive policy of fairness and firmness, perhaps established in an international conference and enforced by the United Nations.

Foreign aid should be redirected towards economic development and direct aid towards building human capacity.

In an interdependent world, it is in the best interests of both the West and the Muslim world to communicate through dialogue and to achieve global stability and mutual benefits from technology, commerce, energy and cultures.

We must not permit the creation of barriers through rhetorical concepts such as ‘clash of civilisations’ or ‘conflict of religions’, which are of no value to the future of our world.”
The West and Islam need not be in conflict forever.”

Ahmed Zewail

from a report in ‘The Independent’ (from NZ Herald 23 October 2006)

Ahmed Zewail is the Linus Pauling Chair professor of chemistry and professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. He is the only Arab Muslim to be awarded the Nobel Prize in science, which he received in 1999

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The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.webng.com/writernz/index.html
http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html http://www.lulu.com/craiglock and http://www.myspace.com/writercraig


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