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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Love for all, hatred for none

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Isn’t that a beautiful device for one’s life? This is a device we all should try to live by, then we wouldn’t have conflicts, abuse or war anywhere. Hmm….you suddenly scratch your head and ponder: Don’t I recognize this device from somewhere? If you are an Ahmadi Muslim you don’t have to ask yourself that question, and if not – well, this is what we try to live by as Ahmadis. I know that some of you find us as strange characters, but we are not more ”strange” than anyone else. If you find it strange for someone to serve humanity and to live in peace ; ok, then we are strange.

If you ask people in the Western world, a lot of them find all Muslims as strange, even scary. They don’t know what to expect from us and the media has painted a narrative of Muslims in the darkest colours possible. There have been a lot of manifestations recently, to commemorate 9/11. In September 11, 2001, two hijacked airplanes hit the Twin Towers in New York, USA. This was a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the militant Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States of America. The towers were a symbol of power, they were at the time the highest buildings in the US. Both towers collapsed and it went quickly, it only took 1 hour, 40 minutes from the impact.

The planes hit the elevator shafts which made them act like huge chimneys and spread the fire from the 94:th floor, all the way down to the lobby and up again through the whole building. People tried to escape, some of them even jumped out from the windows from the 110:th floor. In their desperation they had the choice between getting burned to death or fall to their death. The number of victims was 2,977 plus 19 al-Qaeda members. After this horrendous act it felt like the whole world hated Muslims. The border controls became rigid and Muslims were not allowed to enter the US. The impact on the Twin Towers and the terrible consequences thereof lead to hate crime that echoes even today.

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The members of the terror organization al-Qaeda claimed, and still do, to be Muslims. Allahu Akbar has become a war cry, instead of a word of worship. Muslims fear to pray in the open, here in the Western world. Women are banned from wearing the hijab in some countries and life has become so much harder for all Muslims. If that is not enough, we are really good at making life harder for each other, as Muslims. The Holy Qur’an tells us to respect all religions and all prophets, but do we follow that? There is only one version of the Holy Qur’an, there is no follow-up or a light version for those who only believe a little. We can’t pick or choose the words of God, we can only choose to live by them or not.

The Gambia belongs to people who are more or less religious. What I miss so much, when I am back in Sweden, is the call for prayer from the mosques. I also miss the discussions about faith, no matter which faith you have. When I began to study Islam, some years before I converted, I found so many answers to all the questions I had before. I found the practicality in the demands, the wisdom behind the rules. I had also been filled with prejudice about Islam and Muslims, so I’m sure God had a good laugh when he finally had convinced me to convert. I read and I printed out more and more so I could continue studying whenever I had the time.

I have always loved to read and I have always loved to learn more. I have always been the type of person who was never satisfied with following the crowd, or settling with what others told me to believe. ”Why” , that was always my question and because others found that very annoying I thought there was something wrong with me. Not until I began to study Islam I realized that there was nothing wrong with me, I was acting as God told us to do according to the Holy Qur’an. It is telling us to question what we are taught by our parents, our elders and even our Imams. Not in a way to be offensive or rude, but because they might actually have learned things wrong. If you are more or less forced to learn something about a serious subject as your faith and that thing feels wrong – then question it!

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In a patriarchal society we are taught to be obedient and to accept whatever anyone older than us is saying. If that person has some kind of authority, like being an Imam, a politician or perhaps a business man then we fear to question them. There is a saying: ”Only dead fish follow the stream”. This can be interpreted in different ways, but for me it means that if your mind is not active then you follow the stream. The stream in this case is not literal, it is about following what others are doing and without a thought.

Ahmadis have been attacked, both verbally and physically, for a long time, and our only ”crime” is that we interpret Islam a bit differently from some others. Our mission is to serve the humanity, our motto is ”Love for all, hatred for none”. This is a motto we all should live by, we shouldn’t fight our brothers and sisters.

Yahya Jammeh hated us Ahmadis and commanded his Imams to preach in a hateful way against us. We were not the only objects for his outbursts, others who were targeted were tribes he disliked, people he believed were witches or political opponents. He didn’t have to explain, he just had to demand and others followed. The mentally dead fish followed the stream and caused others to drown. As well as the Holy Qur’an tells us to question matters about our faith, it is also telling us to use our brains to learn more and to question things that feel wrong. Yahya Jammeh believed that he was a devout Muslim. He had all the outer attributes, but did his actions show that he had the faith?

NPP and the political party Jammeh started, the APRC, have created an alliance. Our current president has betrayed you all by joining a political party that has encouraged all the atrocities made by the former president and his accomplices. What does the Holy Qur’an tell us about that? This alliance goes against everything that God is telling us and it is a mockery of all the victims and their families.

You need to react against this madness of alliance and question it. The Gambia is too small to be divided in parts that are fighting each other. We are brothers and sisters, citizens of the world, we should live in peace and not allowing anyone to disturb that peace. Love for all and hatred for none.

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