Extinguishing flames of discord

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The world watches America in horror. Injustices and racial discrimination have led to nationwide riots and protests on the soil of a “superpower”, often resulting in violence. Seeds of division and discrimination continue to grow a polarised society.

#JusticeForGeorge protests and riots throughout US cities echo the injustices American society breeds.

The First Amendment, manifestly, is not enough; true justice is yet to be established. The continuous murders of black Americans are causing unending disenfranchisement and racial discrimination – justice in “the land of liberty” is far from complete.

America’s eternal story of blatant discrimination – at times, supported by the very “institutions of freedom” – has been heart-wrenching to say the least. And this plea is now crossing the borders of America and reverberating across the world.

The Bill of Rights, which was meant to guarantee civil rights and liberties to every individual in America, is constantly dishonoured and ignored. The rise of the right-wing and white supremacists is another worry that haunts the country. Adding to this, undertones of support are given to these extreme groups by the current leadership of America, creating more division. Frustrations are piling.

The economic blow of Covid-19 on America, which has resulted in recession according to experts and record-hitting unemployment of 41 million people, leaves America extremely vulnerable to civil unrest.

The Washington Post recently titled a story:

“Gripped by disease, unemployment and outrage at the police, America plunges into crisis.”

American society is at the brink of civil war.

Four years ago, prior to the election of President Donald Trump, Peter Mansbridge was taken slightly aback during a CBC News interview when Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, the Fifth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community warned of “a big civil war” in America. He said that if Trump was elected and his (divisive) policies implemented, the threat of an American civil war would be imminent:

“… if he tries to implement whatever he is saying, then I fear that there’s going to be a big civil war.”

At this point, Mansbridge, with slight surprise, reconfirmed by asking, “Civil war?”

In response, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa confirmed:

“Yes, of course. They will rise against the government because if the government takes harsh measures just to try to deny all their rights in any way, then there are so many hundreds of people. You see, to create any disturbance or nonsense, a single man can even single-handedly do it … So they have to use sense.”

Earlier in the interview, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa warned of “chaos in the country” if divisive policies saw implementation. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa concluded by saying:

“I don’t think a president of America, if ever elected [as] president of America, will take any measure which is senseless.”

Peter Mansbridge responded, “You hope?”.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, with a hopeful smile, confirmed, “I hope”.

Since that interview, civil unrest has only grown in America. Though many of the policies were “senseless” enough, never to be implemented, the spirit and soul of such estranging policies, however, are spreading throughout America. Now, the idea of a civil war that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa emphatically warned of does not seem so far-fetched.

Solutions for civil unrest and the plaguing worry for international peace have been clearly described by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa. Whether in parliaments, meetings with politicians, speeches before think-tanks and academics, letters to world leaders, peace symposia or hundreds of addresses to the public, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa echoes the teachings of the Holy Quran: absolute justice, by both the government and populace.

In 2012, talking about establishing world peace, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa noted:

“The key requirement to fulfilling this primary goal is absolute justice and fairness in all matters. The Holy Quran, in chapter 4, verse 136, has given us a golden principle and lesson, guiding us about this. It states that as a means to fulfil the requirements of justice, even if you have to bear witness and testify against yourself, your parents or your closest relatives and friends, then you must do so. This is true justice where personal interests are set aside for the common good.”

He further said:

“… the representatives and ambassadors of each nation should come forward with sincerity and with a desire to support the principles of fairness and equality. We must eliminate all forms of bias and discrimination, as this is the only means to bring about peace.” (World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace, pp. 48-49)

At another instance, Huzooraa explained that the Promised Messiahas said that the Holy Quran highlights the need of acting fairly and with justice, even against enemies. It is hard to act justly towards those who kill your women and children, but the Holy Quran has demanded upholding the rights of enemies too. Huzooraa said that most people talk with kindness in front of enemies, but they do not uphold their rights. The Holy Quran does not merely mention love but talks of the level of love one should show. (Concluding address, Jalsa Salana UK 2019)

In fact, Islam goes further. It’s not just justice, but kindness we must show to all; to go out of one’s way and give to others from our own share. His Holiness has said that both the government and the public should act with justice, peace and kindness. Revolting on the streets and creating violent uprisings will not bring about lasting peace, rights or liberty, nor will oppression of civilians bring about peace.

A struggle against any inner evils, selfish desires, prejudices and wants must be waged. A revolution in our outlook on life based on the principles of absolute justice, equality and fairness will bring the change we are thirsty for. The origin to achieve this justice and peace, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa has constantly stressed, is returning to God.

In Holland, last year, during an address, he explained:

“In terms of religion, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, taught that developing true peace requires for mankind to turn towards God Almighty, Who is the source of peace, the Noble and the Pure, and to try to emulate His attributes. This means that human beings should set aside their personal interests in the pursuit of peace and ensure that their motivations are pure at all times.”

Therefore, not just America, but until the world realises and acts on these principles, the hope for lasting peace and civil liberty will be a stretch of the imagination.

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