Despite being thousands of miles away and being an atheist neither do I feel less guilty about the atrocities Muslims hand out to others in the name of religion nor can I detach myself from my mixed identity. Every other day something crops up to make me question the validity of the claim “Islam is the religion of peace.” I found no peace from it, and unfortunately, even though I am an apostate my name is still Muslim and hence the attached strings.
What is there to convince me about Islam being peaceful? The brutalities committed during the Gojra incident in Pakistan? Or the desecration of a museum church site in Macedonia by Albanian Muslims? Or the thought that my best friend’s brother was killed by a Shiite mob in Iraq, just because he was Christian and worked with the US army? Or better still, her disabled brother-in-law who was shot in the shoulder while he helplessly watched his cousin bleed to death? He was attacked after 2005 in Iraq by a mob of Muslim men shouting Allah-O-Akbar and death to the infidels. Interestingly, these Muslims (or as my friend said Shiite) people who attacked the Christians, were the ones who had been bemoaning about Saddam’s brutality.
My dear friend from Iraq, explained how things worsened for her and her family after 2005. It is important for one to remember she is an orthodox Christian and lived in Iraq all her life. But although she is as much an Iraqi as the next Mohammad Ali Basri, she is not welcome in her own country. Just like Asia bibi who not being a Muslim is being persecuted in Pakistan. Lest also not forget the Jews who were forced to leave Pakistan during the 1980’s.
In light of this hypocrisy, I find that the recent awakening of the Arab world will not have much affect against monarchy and dictatorial regimes. For many it may be wonderful and positive, for me it is nothing but opportunism. A mirage - that will evaporate soon enough. I perhaps am just a pessimist, who considers it a lost cause for Muslims to be awakened in reality and enlightened humanly.
Islam is still a religion of peace, indeed!