Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mr. Osama Saeed, you are not helping

Mr. Osma Saeed (Spokeperson for Muslim Association of Britain reacting to PM Blair's call of more proactive help from Muslim community),

It is sad that you write such articles even after what has happened in last couple of weeks in London.
("Back to you, Mr Blair"; Saturday July 23, 2005 in The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1534690,00.html)

1. First and foremost, you must be able to separate the grievances and suffering of Muslim people all over the world and terrorist acts. These things cannot be related and it is immoral to relate them. As long as you relate them, in the eyes of common people you are not on right footing.
2. Next, you must realize that the menace of Terrorism is common for all. If it is not solved then people and children from other religions as well as Muslim will die. All religious, all other life style issues and any other cultural aspirations become secondary. As like other people, you owe to your children that you fight or help Government to fight terrorism. Otherwise you will help eventual annihilation of your own children too.
3. Many in USA do not like President Bush. Many here do think that Iraq war has weak link to Terrorism. Success in Iraq war still leaves the problem of Terrorism unanswered. So many in USA believe that in the War on Terrorism, Iraq war is unfortunate diversion. However, when it comes to backing your government and helping elected representatives in waging this war; everyone has to help and need to be with the government. Political differences should not be so divisive that you loose the sight of a larger goal. In that spirit it is required that all British citizens help Mr. Blair in his war on terrorism.
4. If Mr. Blair says that Muslim community must help him, it is counter productive to read that as signaling of Muslim community. It is very natural for Government to seek help from the leaders and intellegesia of a community. That is not like asking for additional steps from a specific community to prove it’s patriotism. It is just that in this specific crisis (since many of the terrorists are Muslims and attempt to take incorrect refuge in the name of religion), leadership of Muslim community can bring useful help on the table.
5. It is also imperative that in these times of war (remember, you and your children are also not spared from this war); we leave aside words and phrases which are specific to community and not of the larger lexicon; words like caliphate. Who cares for some obscure arrangement from a historical context? You have all the available phrases and words of a modern democracy. You have all the protection offered by the practicing and working laws of a modern society. Then why is this divisive insistence on some community specific arrangement and structures? You are going to help everyone by talking words and language which every common person understands in the contemporary world. What Mr. Blair is pointing is we should not attempt to bring back such ancient arrangements in today’s modern democracies where every citizen of every religion and community gets her basic rights and liberties.
6. Finally, about being inclusive in today’s world. How far I am going to be an agent of peace in today’s society if I keep on insisting that my philosophy is that everyone else who do not agree with me are on the path which I do not consider truthful. If I do not grant respect to other’s belief and keep on insisting that my goal is to convert their belief system; I am not a peace agent but effectively intruding in the privacy of others. Modern states of which I reap the benefits; demand that I respect privacy of others. I have no idea what views you or Muslim Association of Britain hold in this respect. My understanding is your views are such that you do not want to intrude into other’s belief system. Then it is responsibility of all of us to keep on holding this line, keep on preaching this view to all who come in our contact and keep on making attempts to dissuade potential terrorists from holding any intolerant views.

Thanks,

Umesh Patil
San Jose, CA
July 24, 2005.

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