Thursday, August 11, 2005

Someone said give peace a chance. And, that's all that we're saying while we're sitting on the fence

I've just got home from work at the pub, doing a 4pm-9pm shift to get a bit of extra pocket money, and something really pissed me off today.

I was behind the bar and I wandered into a conversation several of the locals were having, well one of the locals was giving his view, and a couple of others were listening and nodding their heads. I normally think people are entitled to their views and if they say stuff I normally don't agree with then I usually let them have their say and think to myself that they're a bit ignorant but they're allowed their free speech.

This may sound a bit arrogant coming from me that I believe that my view is normally right, but in many instances I am! The subject of this conversation was Muslims in Britain. Quite topical I think you'll agree, and something that could provide a heated debate, but from a group of un-educated, Sun-reading, xenophobes I think you can guess what the primary arguments were.

They were going on about 'Muslims' on the dole and getting thousands in benefits, when many Brits were getting nothing. They argued that we shouldn't allow mosques to be built in England as Church's wouldn't be allowed to be built in the Middle-East (do they not remember where Christianity was founded?). And the final insult was that he said he'd like to go around with all people that felt the same as him, and blow up all the Muslims! I was shocked and appalled. IGNORANT LITTLE CUNTS! (pardon my French)

As I said previously, I'd normally allow them their views but in this case, on something close to my heart, I had to step in. I told them they couldn't just generalise all foreigners under the tile of 'Muslims', and that their views were completely wrong. Not all Muslims are suicide bombers, or benefit cheats, or pledge allegiance to Satan. They said that Muslims hated Christianity and would do anything to destroy 'our way of life'. I said that Muslims were nothing other than normal people who have a few different beliefs but generally believe in many of the same things as Christianity. This guy, we'll call him Frank (because that's his name), couldn't understand my point of view and told me in no lesser terms 'to fuck off if that's what you believe', what a tosser. In fact I was happy to and couldn't stand to be in his company anymore.

I have a BA in Study of Religions, an A-level in Religious Studies, and I'm also half Turkish-Cypriot and half English, meaning that I know a fair bit about Religion, both Christianity and Islam, along with many other religions, and the social aspects surrounding them and their history. In other words 'I know my shit' which means that I hate ignorant people that don't. Well actually I can understand some people's ignorance and where it stems from but when they won't accept there is another way, then it really gets my goat up.

For those of you who don't know much about Islam then here are six basic believes shared by all Muslims:
  1. Belief in God, the one and only one worthy of all worship (Just like Christianity)
  2. Belief in all the Prophets and Messengers (sent by God, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, not forgetting Muhammad).
  3. Belief in the Books sent by God.
  4. Belief in the Angels.
  5. Belief in the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah) and in the Resurrection.
  6. Belief in Destiny (Fate) (Qadaa and Qadar in Arabic). (Note that this does not mean one is predetermined to act or live a certain life. God has given the free will to do and make decisions.)
It doesn't sound too different for Christianity does it?

I believe that our multicultural Britain is a better place due to the immigrants in it, who have been arriving for many years. I love it that people want to come to our country.... we must be doing something right. I also love it that we have freedom to pursue anything we want to. Although I'm English I do feel an affinity with the 'Islamic' countries and I suppose my heritage has meant that I've tried to educate myself to learn more about the world and it's cultures and that all societies and lifestyles are equally valid as long as it's members and citizens are treated well and are free to purse other options if they want to.

I don't agree with suicide bombers, or terrorism, and have been stunned by recent wave of attacks in Britain by people who are trying to change 'our' way of life, a place I'm quite happy in. But is this any different from us invading a country and trying to force our way upon them? I know Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who didn't treat his people well and that many were abused by him and wished to overturn him, but does this mean that they should all want to live a way of life like ours, a life with democracy?

I can't answer that last question but to reiterate a previous point all lifestyles and societies are equally valid as long as it's members and citizens are treated well, are free to purse other options if they want to, and don't try to impose their way of life on other societies.

That's the end of my little rant, but please try to educate yourselves about your surroundings and the world you live in. It's a much smaller place than it used to be and you're bound to rub shoulders with groups you wouldn't normally meet.

3 comments:

SwissToni said...

great post mate - really thoughtful.

I wish Frank was an isolated example, but he definitely is not. It worries me that our news coverage only ever seems to focus on the negative sides of Islam, and so the only view lots of people ever from about muslims is that they are all extremists and suicide bombers. We very, very rarely see a more balanced view (although, to be fair, the muslim leaders who got together after the London bombings and delivered a message of support to Downing Street made the news).

If the extremists are all people see in the papers and on the telly, then they will tend to have these ignorant views because not everyone is as intellectually curious or well-rounded as you (and me, and I'm sure lots of other people reading this).

Tolerance has never been in great supply in the world --- but stocks definitely dwindling at the moment.

ST

Flash said...

I hear a lot of ignorance in my workplace, the usual stuff; And i always have to say something.

Usually it's something along the lines of: "I'm so proud that this country, MY country is a nation that actually cares enough about people to welcome them into our land in the hope that it makes their lives better."
That usually shuts 'em up for a bit.

adem said...

UPDATE: the next time I worked there Frank was very civil and polite but it goes to show that "A drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts"