The Gambia Government vs Myanmar: The need for Muslim unity

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By Alieu Fatty

On the 22 July, the world welcomed a bold decision by the ICJ (International Criminal Court) in rejecting all the four preliminary objections by Myanmar to halt a case alleging the South Asian country committed genocide against its Rohingya minority Muslim citizens., thus, levelling the grass for testimonies and evidences of the most brutal and gruesome human right violation to be heard.

Back in November 2019, the Gambia, the smallest country in mainland West Africa, filed a case against the Myanmar military junta for genocidal crimes against the Rohingya Muslim minorities at the ICJ chambers in Hague, Netherland.

The Gambia accused Myanmar of “killing, causing serious bodily and mental harms, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers…. intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part.

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According to Independent newspaper outlets, more than 700,000 Muslims had to flee the  country for fear of their lives. The remaining Rohingyas in Myanmar continue to suffer vicious attacks from the military junta.

Although the representative of the military junta objected to the Gambia’s involvement in the case, the court ruled against the stand, stating that “All the States parties to the Genocide Convention had a common interest to ensure the prevention, suppression and punishment of genocide, by committing themselves to fulfilling the obligations contained in the convention.

Flipping through the pages of history, more than a century ago, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, and his successors have always reiterated the dire need for Muslim unity; and beckoned it as the lone conduit to engender the victory of Islam and the protection of Muslims around the world.

Unfortunately, this solemn call of the leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to fall on deaf ears of Muslim nations and their leaders.

Today, the plight of Muslims and Muslim nations in the contemporary world requires no elaboration. Muslim nations are consumed by sectarianism and internal discord which continues to wind-sweep them in the quest of Muslim unity.

The so-called scholars of Islam are busy declaring one another and innocent individuals as outside of the pale of Islam for political incentives, minority sects face constant harassment and violence, bomb blasts targeted at Shias in Afghanistan and the apartheid regime of Pakistan against Ahmadi Muslims exposes the lack of acceptance within Muslim countries.

Moreover, some Muslim nations are being used by the West to fight proxy wars in Muslim countries: Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine etc.

The years 1945-1948 stand crucial in the annals of Palestinians history, in the context of the creation of Israel by the West.  It is in this very juncture that the rumours of the West having series of conclave sittings regarding the formation of Israel as a new state trickled.

During that difficult moment of sympathy, grief and hardship for the Palestinian Muslim masses, the Second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Bashirudeen Mahmood Ahmadra sincerely urged Muslims to put all their internal conflicts aside and defend Islam from the attacks of the western nations. He stated:“ A very delicate time is coming for Islam, and Muslims need to be united in worldly and political matters. And each person should prioritise unity above all other matters because the salvation of Muslims lies in this [unity]. I advise each Ahmadi that they should call the attention of the Muslims in their respective circles that ‘your division will cause your destruction. At this juncture, you [Muslims] should forget yourselves, your thoughts and your parties and should strive to unite everyone who claims to be a Muslim for the protection of Islam, and should ignore all differences […]

I believe that even now, if the Muslims gather for unity, instead of emphasising the differences, then the future of Islam will not remain dark”. [Al Fazl, 28 August 1946, Page 3].

In this day and age, we are witnessing the same practice by the current world-wide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (atba), in warning the Muslim world of the crucial needs of unity in the Ummah.

The urgent and important need for Muslim unity was beautifully explained by His Holiness, when the president of France Emmanuel Macron uttered anti-Muslim rhetoric.

His Holinessaba stated: “In any case, it is clear that there is a lack of unity amongst Muslims and this is the very reason why all of this is occurring. Muslim countries are at odds with one another and increasing divisions display to the world that there is discord amongst Muslims. If the world knew that Muslims are united, that they believe in the same one God and His Messenger (saw) and are ever-ready to present sacrifices for their sake, then the non-Muslims world would never act in this way…” [ Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, Friday Sermon, 6 November 2020].

Furthermore, Muslim unity will continue to remain a daydream unless they accept the Imam of the age, whose advent and mission in the later days has been prophesied in the Holy Quran and foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw); which is to reunite the Muslims all around the world under one umbrella.

Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

“Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as he made successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.” [The Holy Quran 24:55]

His Holiness very gracefully elucidated the importance of Muslims acting upon the command of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) in accepting the Imam of the age; that will lead to the amalgamation of Muslims and the victory of Islam. He states:

‘Another objective of obedience towards the Holy Prophet (saw) is to become united, which cannot be achieved without the institution of Khilafat. Other Muslims may observe their prayers but, due to a lack of unity, their hearts are divided. Despite believing in the same essential doctrines, they have created divisions as a result of delving into the finer details of faith. In order to uphold their authority and fulfil their objectives-which now also include political objectives in the case of Pakistan – scholars constantly fight with one another. The same is the case of those who follow them.’ [Friday Sermon, 25 May 2018]

I pray that Allah the Almighty enable the Muslim Ummah to recognise and accept the Imam of the age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) and his successors, consequently the Ummah through the guidance of Caliph can be once and for all be united under the flag of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw); which is the panacea for the Muslim mayhem in the world.

Alieu Fatty is a student at the International Ahmadiyya University of Theology and Scholastic Sciences, Ghana.