Monday, 18 July 2016

"Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful", SCMP Letters, July 17

LETTER TO SCMP (392 words):
Siddiq Bazarwala claims to speak "on behalf of ordinary Muslims" (Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, Letters, July 17) .  He also claims to speak on behalf of "Hong Kong people" who, he says, "broadly understand that recent events in the West are a consequence of its failed foreign policies in Muslim countries….". 
Well, excuse me, but Bazarwala does not speak on behalf of this Hong Kong person. 
I do not accept that Islamic terrorist barbarities are the result of failed foreign policies.  But that's a question for another day. 
I'll also pass by Bazarwala's comparisons of Islamic terrorist acts with drunk driving accidents or getting a speeding ticket.  These clearly trivialize terrorism. 
Rather, I'll focus on his assertion that "the vast majority (more than 99.9 per cent) of the world's Muslim population cannot be held responsible for the heinous actions of fringe groups like ISIS…". 
Harvard professor Niall Ferguson wrote in these pages (2 April 2016) that ISIS has  "... a minimum of 63 million supporters -- and that is based on opinion polls in just 11 countries." 
That number may well be 130 plus million if extrapolated.  (1,000 times more than Bazarwala claims).
Those 10% of the worlds' Muslims support the most extreme, the most barbaric, the most cruel, the most agressive manifestation of Islam. (and ISIS is not "nothing to do with Islam"). 
Other polls of Muslims around the world show shockingly high levels of bigotry.  70% of Muslim countries criminalise apostasy.  82% of Egyptian Muslims favour stoning to death for adultery and 84% want death for apostasy.  Pluralities of Muslims in the West want the imposition of Sharia law
Yet Bazarwala says "peace and harmony will prevail", if we just  "understand" that Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attacks.  Sure, Siddiq.  But that's not nearly enough. 
A more intellectually honest young Muslim, Omar Mahmood wrote in June:
"Their statement [about the latest jihadi attack] condemns the massacre, distances it from Muslims, and stresses that we must all live in harmony. That much is predictable, and commendable. But the statement fails to give American Islam what it needs most, and what is missing from the political and social media response: intellectual honesty." 
If Bazarwala believes he speaks on "behalf of ordinary Muslims", intellectual honesty demands they face these serious issues in Islamic ideology, beliefs which many millions on "ordinary Muslims" hold.
Peter Forsythe
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
9308 0799