Climate of Protests

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The “Yellow Vests” had only just calmed down when the Hungarian public took to the streets last week protesting against a legislation termed “slave laws” by the protestors. The protestors find it hard to digest the number of hours that can be demanded as overtime by their employers and the delay that is allowed by the new laws in paying such wages. It will be interesting to see how the West now handles these allegations; enough with holding Islam accountable for harbouring slavery!

During the week, news reports could be heard and read regarding the rising challenge of religious intolerance and the associated extremism, the latter being a natural consequence. Such conditions, wherever they exist, are an outcome of prejudice, bias and vested interests for religious freedom and democracy are very closely connected, both fortifying one another.

News headlines showed during the past week countries being cautioned and added to watch lists due to extremist acts of violence against particular religious groups and races. One good (although bad would be a more appropriate word) example is that of Pakistan which has been added to the list of “countries of particular concern” (CPC) by America’s State Department.

The case of Asia Bibi who was jailed for 10 years in Pakistan, accused of blasphemy, is a recent example of religious extremism in Pakistan. Despite the fact that she was cleared from the death sentence by the Pakistan Supreme Court in October this year, she has been denied the right to leave the country until her case can be reexamined.

Owing to the abuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat have always been seen as an easy target. Using any Islamic term, verbally or in writing, like  Assalamo Alaikum  (peace be on you),  InshaAllah  (God willing),  Masha-Allah  (by the will of God) can potentially lead to Ahmadis being booked under the Pakistan Penal Code. Even invoking blessings on the Holy Prophetsa of Islam accounts to blasphemy, if uttered by an Ahmadi in Pakistan.

Then there are discussions on Obamacare, so important an issue that it has been heard by Judge Reed O’Connor, a federal judge appointed by George W Bush who ruled it to be unconstitutional. All this happens in a world where the majority of the human population does not even know what healthcare means, or what health means to be more precise (and a bit blunt). 

Then, during the past week, news had it that Canada’s national strategy for climate change is in danger. Canada’s goal was to reduce emissions to 30% below the 2005 levels by 2030 which means Alberta’s oil and gas production has to be reduced and that will have a knockdown effect on Canada’s economy. It would be unjust not to acknowledge how great an initiative this is.

These issues are undoubtedly important, but where they are placed on the priority list is the actual question.

While the developed world is busy holding seminars, conferences and experiments on such issues, who is there to feed the millions around the world that fall asleep dying with hunger and wake up, sadly, to find themselves in the same world of deprivation and poverty?

The worldwide head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa has addressed personally the higher officials of the world’s greatest nations including keynote addresses at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Houses of Parliament in London, Military Headquarters in Germany, European Parliament in Brussels and New Zealand’s national parliament. Having the bigger picture before him, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa elaborates that the requirements of justice are only fulfilled when all parties and all people are treated equally. He has always warned the world of the spiraling world crisis that could be the natural outcome  of unjust and inhumane financial and political policies that ceaselessly escalate tensions between peoples of the world. Huzooraa has spoken openly about the upheavals and catastrophes that are threatening the peace and security of the world, as he states in an address:

“In recent times, one of the issues that many politicians and intellectuals have debated and campaigned about, is climate change and specifically a reduction in carbon emissions. Certainly, striving to protect the environment and to look aft er our planet is an extremely precious and noble cause. Yet, at the same time, the developed world, and especially the world’s leaders, should also realise that there are other issues that must be tackled with the same urgency.

“People living in the world’s poorest nations do not concern themselves with the environment, or the latest figures on carbon emissions; rather, they wake up each day wondering if they will be able to feed their children.” (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, 15th National Peace Symposium, 17 March 2018, Baitul Futuh, London)

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