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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Texas Faith: Boko Haram, false prophets and phony messiahs
URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/05/texas-faith-boko-haram-false-prophets.html
Texas Faith: Boko Haram, false prophets and phony messiahs
By Rudolph Bush | email@example.com | 10:45 am on May 13, 2014 | Permalink
In Nigeria, a nation awaits the fate of 276 girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Like so many groups before it, this one is led by a man who claims direct contact with God. History is filled with false prophets and phony messiahs. Faith is twisted to justify the most horrible acts. What can believers in all parts of the world do to resist and challenge such people? And in our own part of the world, how do we separate the subtler difference between those who use faith for their own ends and those who are truly trying to bring us closer to God?
Mike Ghouse, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
Poor Religion has been an easy target of blame for the evils men do, as if it is a tangible being that can be beat up, butchered, buried and put to rest. Myths are manufactured about “other religions” without any substantiation; it is an old business of maligning others to have a variety of gains, but messing up the long term cohesiveness of the societies, thus each one of us.
Finding the truth is our own responsibility, as it brings relief to each one of us, and removes fears and prejudices towards the others. Indeed, that was the unwritten purpose of religion; to create societies where no one had to live in fear of the other. Isn’t that the bottom line of God’s will? As a society we have faltered in blaming the religion for the acts of individuals.
Does blaming a religion mitigate the conflicts or aggravate them? Do we separate the subtler difference between those who use faith for their own ends, and those who are trying to do the right thing?
A majority of people of faith shrink from the responsibility of speaking up, and instead flame the blame and mess up societal harmony even further. I will share two extreme examples of the brutes in a civilized society like ours and “developing societies like Nigeria” in this case.
In 2009, the words of Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas generated fear, anxieties hate and ill-will, it was him and not the reflection of his Church, even if the congregation sheepishly clapped and gave a standing ovation in the Church when the pastor said, “Islam is an evil evil religion and Quraan is a book written by a false prophet” with full passion. The religious clergy of different faiths in Dallas did the right thing, they spoke up and together we held a conference on Quran led by this panelist of Dallas Morning News, the story in video and print is captured at www.QuraanConference.com in its entirety.
Going to the “lower end of the civility” (per bigots) in Nigeria , Abubakar Shekau the Chief of Boko Haram shamelessly said that, “God instructed me to sell them (the 276 girls), they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.” Like Pastor Jeffress he has duped his congregation and the world to believe that it is his religion that made him do or say the the wrongs.
The Muslims around the world have avoided their responsibility in asking Mr. Shekau to have a conversation and acknowledge what God says in multiple verses in Quran including 4:19 (Asad translation), “O YOU who have attained to faith! It is not lawful for you to [try to] become heirs to your wives [by holding onto them] against their will; and neither shall you keep them under constraint with a view to taking away anything of what you may have given them, unless it be that they have become guilty, in an obvious man¬ner, of immoral conduct. …” These are innocent girls this man is holding against their will.
Muslims rightfully claim that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and he was the first law giver who liberated women from the clutches of men’s oppression, and declared that men and women are each other’s protectors, and a woman has a right to decide who she marries (1400 years ago, whereas she was considered a chattel in the west until a hundred years ago), and has the right to divorce and own her own property separately. Mr. Shekau is going against the prophet, and it needs to be called out.
The first word revealed to the Prophet was “Learn” and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had famously said, “Learn, even if you have to go to China to learn, do it, learning is important, “he further beefed it up by adding that a woman’s education is a must, as she must willingly sign the marriage or a business contract and that obviously required education. Mr. Shekau on the other hand believes education for girls is evil.
The more we push them, we essentially tell them to dig in. Dialogue opens up opportunities with least damage and least cost. On our part in the west, we have failed to communicate to the world that our education system is designed to deliver good for the society at large. It is necessary for us to learn and share about each other in a world of increasing conflicts to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. Pluralism is the way forward; that is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness.
To read the other panelists point of view, please go to Dallas Morning News at: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/05/texas-faith-boko-haram-false-prophets-and-phony-messiahs.html/#more-39000
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.