It was an unusually sunny day in Antwerp yesterday. As is the tradition amongst the dwellers of concrete jungles, when the sun shines you come out to play. As expected the park was packed with people sun bathing, BBQing with friends, teams playing cricket, football and badminton. Near the play area were the usual suspects, where parents were sitting on anything possibly suitable for an adults butt and the children were playing on anything possibly suitable for kids to play on or with.
Antwerp is a very cosmopolitan city, where you get to see people from many back grounds. Like most cosmopolitan cities the park was segregated through racial lines. Scanning across the play area, the seating areas were divided amongst The Orthodox Jews, the Muslims mainly from Turkey or Morocco, the Indians, the Eastern Europeans and the local Belgians. There was an unwritten understanding about using that space and it was that we were all here because our kids need to play and stretch their legs after being cooped up in their concrete jungles. Everyone had learnt to share the space.
The kids did not display a great deal of difference in the play area. Although some interactions occurred when sharing a slide, swing or a monkey climbing frame mostly it was the Jewish kids playing with each other, Moroccans with each other, Turkish with each other and so on.
We decided to settle near the Monkey climbing area pictured above. I am not sure how it started but one kid began to hit another and soon enough they were both fighting. They both looked the same age at around 7 years. The one that got a little beating ran away. Soon enough the kid that received a little beating came with his older sister who looked a few years older to take revenge. Brother and sister began to climb the Monkey frame looking for the other kid. When they found the kid, brother and sister called out for further back up and by this time had surrounded the single kid on the Monkey frame. Everyone around knew there was a problem and most were looking around for the parents to intervene at any moment. After a couple of minutes it became clear that the parents were no where near. Although none of the kids got violent, the atmosphere was hostile and most people wanted to do something but were afraid of intervening because each kid belonged to a different tribe. No one wanted a reprisal from the other tribe. Soon after one of the parents came and took their child away and others went back their parents.
It was sad to see so many adults around including me who felt that they could not intervene immediately. For many parents allowing their kids to mediate in such hostile scenario was sufficient. The parents obviously feel comfortable for kids to mediate in such scenarios, enough so that they were no where near to be found. Surely children should be supervised at all times. Children should be taught right from wrong but under supervision. The survival of the fittest attitude that has been pushed in society at all levels was very evident in the park. A very cosmopolitan park was obviously divided amongst racial grounds. If there is a problem of parenting or racial segregation, is it not the job of the local and national governments to take action with sensitivity? Compartmentalizing communities is never the answer but creating positive experiences of each is. It is our individual and collective duty to ensure that we create these positive experiences to counter the rubbish being spout by the politicians to gain political points in the parliament.
If our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was alive today, what do you think he would be busy with? Would he (PBUH) be busy with celebrating his birthday? Would he (PBUH) be busy building schools? Would he (PBUH) be busy running for elections in a non-Islamic system? Would he (PBUH) be busy with building schools? Would he (PBUH) be busy with creating charities? Would he (PBUH) be busy with fighting waging Jihad on the world? Would he (PBUH) be regarded as a Saudi citizen? Would he (PBUH) give himself a Nationality and if so which nationality will he have? Would he lock himself in the Masjid? I could go on, so if Muhammad was alive today what would he busy himself with?
The headline above is not exactly how it was reported in the mainstream media. Apparently a ‘young raging son’ battered a naked man because the ‘naked man’ was having sex with his mother while his dad was away on work. No mention of his colour, ethnicity, religion or motivation. It was a simple case of young man who got angry. ‘The raging son’ is quoted as saying “what would you have done?” and “this guy was sleeping with my mother”. The ‘young angry son’ was clearly embarrassed by the situation and felt that his mother was behaving inappropriately.
An honour killing is the murder of an individual, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonour upon the family or community.
I am sure if this ‘young angry man’ was brown, Pakistani (Asian) or Muslim the headline an coverage of this horrific event would have been very different.
Report news, according to facts not according to your preconceived ideas of certain people or a community.
HSBC the money laundering bank, which according to some is ‘too big to jail’ closes accounts of some Muslim organisations and individuals without giving any of them prior notice of their grievances. The bank gave no reason for closing their accounts but explained that they are not in the mood for “risk appetite”.
HSBC was found guilty of money laundering for terrorist organisations and drug cartels. It was discovered that this was known at the highest level. However all walked away free and payed a fine which is the equivalent of slap on the wrist.
It is ironic that they would close the accounts of Muslims and Muslim organisations because they do not have the “risk appetite”, when these organisations have done nothing wrong under any legal system.
Hypocrisy will only alienate the section of the community that you need to assimilate.
The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, refers to the July 1995 killing, during the Bosnian War, of more than 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić. The mass murder was described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War.
Theodor Meron, the presiding judge of the Appeals Chamber, stated:
By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity.
In February 2007 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concurred with the ICTY judgement, stating:
The Court concludes that the acts committed at Srebrenica falling within Article II (a) and (b) of the Convention were committed with the specific intent to destroy in part the group of the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina as such; and accordingly that these were acts of genocide, committed by members of the VRS in and around Srebrenica from about 13 July 1995.
IS THIS FREE SPEECH? SUBSTITUTE the word Muslims with Blacks, Irish, Jews or Hindus and then see if this sign is really funny:
It is reported that at least 21 people were killed and over 70 were injured in a bomb blast which happened during a New Year’s Eve Mass at the al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria, Egypt.
Egyptian President Mubarak said it was the work of “foreign hands”.
US President Barack Obama condemned “this barbaric and heinous act” and said those behind it had to be brought to justice. “The perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshippers, and have no respect for human life and dignity,” he also said. “We are continuing to gather information regarding this terrible event, and are prepared to offer any necessary assistance to the government of Egypt in responding to it,”.
Well anyone who has lived in the Middle East and in particular Egypt, they would know that the Christians, Jews and Muslims have a long history of safety and harmony. This is why you still find jews in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Egypt. This is why 10% of Jordans population is Christian and almost 50% of Lebanese population is Christian and 10% of Egyptian population is Christian.
In the example of Egypt they amount to over 10 million people. Such a large minority will always be an assest for anyone to interfere with and destabilise Egypt for it’s own purpose. No one is sure who is really behind this attack but it can be certain that it is ‘foreign hands’.
However if I was an Egyptian I would be alarmed by the immediate help of the USA without even proper investigation who was behind these attacks; which only leads me to believe that America has an invested interest in Egypt in fighting it’s war around the world and is looking for further it’s support from regional mights as it did with Pakistan.