By : Ali Farkhan Tsani, Senior Editor of MINA News Agency
A man, who was identified as Salwan Sabah Matti Momika (37 years), carried out an action to burn copies of the Qur’an outside the Great Mosque of Södermalm, in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. This action coincided with the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Wednesday (28/6/2023).
The Iraqi perpetrator, who was later demonstrated by the majority of Iraqis themselves, first tore up the pages of the Qur’an, then wiped it with his shoe, and burned some of the pages in front of public.
About 200 people gathered to watch, including the protesters. A man was detained after he tried to throw a rock.
The man who was said to be a Christian, and later an extremist atheist, wanted the Qur’an to be banned.
He is too narrow-minded, accusing Islam of being a threat to Swedish cultural values. This shows the existence of hate speech based on Islamophobia, hatred of Islam, wrapped in freedom of expression or opinions in public.
The burning of the Qur’an in Sweden has become a mainstay of right-wing extremists, which was initiated earlier by the Danish-Swedish right-wing politician, Rasmus Paludan, some time ago.
This provocative action that marks Islamophobia, suddenly angered Muslims around the world. Starting from state leaders, Islamic organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and Muslim leaders to Muslims in general.
The United Nations (UN) through the High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations (United Nations Alliance of Civilizations / UNAOC), recently issued a statement condemning the burning of the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims, anywhere, as an abominable act.
UNAOC states that it upholds freedom of expression as a human right. But the act of burning the Qur’an is an expression of hatred towards Muslims.
As in European countries in general, including in Sweden, the freedom to demonstrate is highly protected by the Constitution. This includes the freedom to organize and participate in demonstrations in public places.
Such freedom of expression, of course, also pays attention to other human rights, freedom of religion. This is because, as stated in the Swedish Constitution, as well as in other European countries which are said to be civilized, such a provocative action clearly carries a strong risk of disrupting public order and security.
Sweden and European countries in general, of course, understand very well, and often even call on other countries for tolerance and respect for the rights of minority groups. Certainly not only the rights of one-sided minorities of their religion. Minority Muslims in European countries also have the same right to be respected.
The Swedish government, politicians and police certainly know and understand that there is already a UN Resolution on the International Day on Combating Islamophobia.
Europeans certainly realize the potential number of Muslims around 1.9 billion, which represents 24.9% of the world’s population, can no longer be underestimated, easily insulted and humiliated.
The United Nations (UN) world body has defined Islamophobia as fear, prejudice and hatred towards Muslims that lead to provocation, hostility and intolerance by threatening, harassing, inciting and intimidating Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world.
Islamophobia is motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious animosities that go beyond structural and cultural racism, by targeting symbols and markers of a Muslim.
The United Nations also said that in minority countries, Muslims often experience discrimination in accessing goods and services, in finding jobs, and in education.
In some states, they are also denied citizenship or legal immigration status, due to the xenophobic perception that Muslims represent national security and are a threat to terrorism. Muslim women are disproportionately targeted in Islamophobic hate crimes.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that anti-Muslim bigotry is part of a larger trend of rising ethno-nationalism, neo-Nazism, stigma and hate speech targeting vulnerable populations, including Muslims, Jews and some minority Christian communities.
Guterres quoted the translation of Al-Qur’an Surah Al-Hujurat verse 13, he stated, “As the Qur’ran reminds us, nations and tribes were created to know each other. Diversity is a wealth, not a threat,” he added.
Islam Teaches Peace
The writer was interested in following the Dialogue with the United States Scholars, Dr. Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat at the Head Office of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Jakarta, Thursday (26/1/2023).
Dr. Bashar said, Western countries are actually thirsty for information about Islam.
The founder of the non-profit organization Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) in 2000, in the State of Maryland, USA, suggested the need for Islamic scholars, expected from Indonesia, to develop Islamic da’wah that is Rahmatan lil ‘alamin (Grace to the Universe) in Western countries.
According to him, Indonesia is a very important country in Southeast Asia and throughout the world. Not only is it a country with the largest number of Muslims in the world, but for him, Indonesia is a role model in respecting differences, a role model in moderation, and also a role model in rahmatan lil ‘alamin.
The theme of compassion, love and peace, from Indonesia is an issue that must be shared with people around the world.
The media also has an important role as the spearhead of the world of digital era propaganda. Islamic da’wah content is needed in international languages, especially English.
Art, culture, sport and humanity approaches are important for the Muslim community in Western countries to continue to make a positive contribution to the surrounding community. It has been proven that many European Muslim volunteers have actively provided financial, logistical, health assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic, the last two years.
The Egyptian footballer who plays for English club Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, is also an example of how Muslims actually become icons of great players, are social and really appreciate differences.
There are also many music, film, and literature artists who give color and peaceful values to their imaginative works. Their work has been well received in Western society, showing that Muslims are inclusive and understand their imagination.
May this be a record for all of us who promote Islamic da’wah, special wabil for Muslim leaders and figures, scholars and intellectuals. This is to continue to make a positive contribution to minimizing Islamophobia in Western society, by preaching the spread of Islamic values that are rahmatan lil ‘alamin.
As Allah says in the Al-Qur’an, Surah Al-Anbiya verse 107 which means, “We did not send you (Muhammad) but to be a mercy to the whole world”.
In interpreting the content of this verse, we should reflect on what was conveyed by Muhammad Al-Maturidi, an expert in the Science of Kalam from Samarkand (Uzbekistan region), who said that Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad Shalallahu alaihi wasallam and made him a blessing for all nature, which includes the universe in the form of living things, both the human realm, the angelic realm, the jinn realm, the animal realm and the plant realm. All of these realms have been blessed with the presence of the last Prophet, Muhammad Shalallahu alaihi wasallam with his Islamic teachings.
With the grace of Islamic teachings, human needs are fulfilled to achieve peace, tranquility, and recognition of their existence, human rights, talents and nature. All humans also receive protection, guidance and respect from Islam.
Even long before the European community was familiar with nature lovers, environmentalists and animal lovers, Rasulullah had taught the need to love animals, care for the environment, advocate for greening plants, and maintain a clean water system.
Therefore, there is no single reason to spread the issue of Islamophobia, hatred towards Islam, because Islam does not teach hatred. It even teaches compassion, peace and kindness to others. (T/RE1/P2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)