After Paris: Promote true Islam and Codes of Tolerance

Posted in Tolerance | 15-Jan-15 | Author: Hubertus Hoffmann,

Speech about my new book in Arabic on the Codes of Tolerance at the Arab-German Relations conference in Doha. Moderator Nancy Elbassiouny had been at my first dinner speech speech about the Codes of Tolerance in Dubai in March 2008- where the project started on invitation of Sheikh Mabarak al Nahayan at the „Women as Global Leaders Conference“ in front of 1800 women including Jane Fonda.

The slaughter of 17 people in the past week in Paris marks a dark turning point in the relationship between Europeans and the Arab world – just as it were 14 years ago when the 9/11 terror struck the United States.

These terror attacks strike at the heart and soul of Europe.

They evoke many emotions.

This violence in the name of Islamic religion of penetrates the core of all European countries, the democratic parties, the governments and the general public: the freedom of the press and expression, religious freedom, cultural tolerance and respect towards each other.?? Ultimately, the world order of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights is shaken in its core as well.

Ironically, one of the first victims was a Muslim. 42 year old police officer Ahmed Merabed was executed at point-blank range in public view on the sidewalk outside of Charlie Hebdo. The shocking video is available on the internet.?? These murders and kidnappings were carried out by the perpetrators "in the name of Islam, with vengeance for the Prophet and because of attacks on Muslims." They triggered massive outrage as well as fear of Islam and Muslims worldwide.

They provide the radical nationalists - like the Front National in France – unprecedented breeding ground, more press coverage, more popularity.  In all EU countries the mood shifts. 

For many in the West, Islam has become a menace. The latest study of the German Bertelsmann Foundation of January 2015 reveals this sentiment. 

57% of Germans view Islam as a threat.

61% believe Islam does not fit within western societies.

What do we do now? 

This core question was already presented by Lenin at the end of each Politibuero gathering to focus on actions.

?What can we, the three core groups do: 

The 500 million Europeans in the EU, the 44 million Muslims in Europe and the 1.6 billion Muslims in the World? 

1. 

Our world has changed drastically in the last 20 years through globalization.

With it have come many new opportunities, but these opportunities don't come without risks and unrest. 

Although we band together, we do not know each other well or other religions well.

What world will we build? Will we choose for our children to live together in harmony?

What will we leave as a legacy to our children? 

Do we take our responsibility as leaders serious enough? Do we understand what it means to live together in harmony, in tolerance, in peaceful co-existence?

Or will we sit in desperate passivity and allow the world to crumble around us? 

Don't we desparately need a grand strategy, a fundamental understanding, a common soul that works through our shared humanity to establish a code of tolerance?

Without a unified front and power tools, we cannot confront the misguided goals of IS and al-Qaida.  

We must have the courage to rise up.

We need a fresh, active double strategy:

•   of the hard and soft factors of peace-making

•   including power and diplomacy.

•   with weaponry, police, state security, military, 

•     but equally with more dialogue and reconciliation and the will to promote tolerance on all sides

Let me focus on the soft factors including my Codes of Tolerance.

2. 

The world-wide concern about the far-reaching terrorist campaign „ in the name of Allah“ is not enough. We need actions.

Similarly, acknowledging that the violent acts do not represent the entire body of Islamic believers and its religion is not enough.

Violence in the name of the Prophet contradicts what is written in the Qur’an.

But the radicals - like in Paris-  always argue they defend the Prophet as representatives of the true religion, fighting for its victory. They cherry-pick some harsh words from the Qur’an which praise the fight against the unbelievers and see themselves as an elite fighting for Islam.

They are few in the West, but IS, al Qaida or Boko Haram make up thousands of misguided Muslims who fight what they view as „unbelievers", killing Christians and mostly Muslims alike in the name of Muhammad in a mistaken fanatical ideology. 

Therefore, it is the problem of Islam. It is the fight for its interpretation, the soul of the Holy Qur’an and the ownership of the religion.

This violent detour from the original tenants of Islam has now become a problem for the entire body of the Muslim people.  

Her Royal Highness Rania, The Queen of Jordan, put the finger into the wound on November 18, 2014 in Abu Dhabi:

„The attacks of radical Islamists are an attack on the values of Islam. But the moderate Muslims are equally to blame:

It is said that our silence speaks volumes.“ 

Egyptian President al-Sisi rightfully determined at the Al Azhar University on New Year's Day 2015:?? 

"It cannot be that the Islamic world is perceived as a haven of danger, of killing and destruction by the rest of the world.”??

„We need a religious revolution in Islam“, he declared.

I had the honor to meet the 17 year old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala in December 2014 in Oslo. I asked her about suggestions to promote tolerance.?? 

She impressed me deeply in how clearly she defended the true Islam including the right of girls to education.

??Malala speaks openly about risking her and the other girls' lives while the others remain silent.??

Is it not embarrassing and a shame that a young Muslim girl is braver than thousands of imams, generals, princes and politicians?

There are some Muslim heros like Lassana Bathily. This 24 year old Muslim was an employee in the Kosher supermarket in Paris. He risked his life to hide several jewish hostages in a walk-in freezer to spare their lives from the Muslim killer.?

The thundering silence in the Muslim world must end. The have to fight for the true peaceful Islam and speak out against the extremists. 

Nobody should blame the West or Israel, but defend the Prophet out of own interest and responsibility. 

Only those who stand up and fight for the true Islam, can win.??

He who is silent is lost. He leaves the Holy Book to murderers.

The roads to murder are always paved with the silence of the majorities.

He who is silent carries the guilt of others. But Islam is all about a joint responsibility.

I miss the fierce Islamic courage and noble bravery that the Prophet demands of his followers.

I call this bourgeois silence cowardice and convenience. Both are very dangerous.??

From some high-ranking representatives of the Muslims I also hear the argument:??

"If we distance ourselves from the killers or the IS, we're part of their their propaganda. We have nothing to do with them. We do not have to defend for ourselves."??

This unsetting justification is wrong and highly dangerous.

We Germans know why.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the German citizens lost step-by-step the power to define what a good German should do or not, what the German values and the German culture are. From Schiller and Goethe to Hitler, from Beethoven to Auschwitz in only a few years. From noble contributions to the world to its destruction. At the end Germany lost it all and lay in ashes.

The very few, yet steadily increasing number of radical Nazis defined what was German and what was not. Just like today where the silent majority of Muslims is about to loose moral control about the values of Islam. Now in Syria and Iraq, Yemen and tomorrow?

The majority of the bourgeoisie stayed silent and remained passive for too long until it was too late. After that anyone who opened his mouth or resisted, was promptly delivered to the concentration camps or killed?, like under the IS now.

Is this cowardice to be repeated in the Arab world now? Must history repeat itself ?

The Islamic world must reflect on and reclaim the roots of faith and fight for the true Quran and the peaceful wisdom of the prophet openly and actively.

The green banner of true Islam must overcome the black banner of the IS-terrorist and other extremists.??

Frank, courageous, everywhere.

This is the new Jihad of faith. 

Worldwide, probably less than half a percent of people who are prone to violence, misuse their religion as a mandate to confrontation towards believers of different faith. (Christians, Jews, depending on affiliation, but especially Shiites and Sunnis in Syria, Iraq or Pakistan). But put that number in action and this tiny minority becomes very loud and dangerous. They own the streets, they have the media’s attention. 

The 99% majority of Muslims stays silent, looks away, does not protest openly, leaving the few radicals too much space and thus the authority to interpret Islam. This silent majority does not understand the mechanisms of the seizure of power by resolute totalitarian leaders born out of the violent few at the beginning of their crusade.?

Official statements, so far, have been too short, superficial and luke-warm in the Arab world. They will not succeed in stopping the wave of ideological violence and misinterpretation.

One has to dig much deeper. They have to take to the streets and to the media. They have to fight for the true Islam.

We need an uprising of decent Muslims and their spiritual and political leaders in all Muslim countries against extremism and violence.??

All true Muslims are called together in the face of this crisis of the perception of Islam to defend their God, the Holy Book and their Prophet Muhammad against the violence and sins of the IS and their deadly tools and other terrorists.

It is not a choice, it is a Muslim duty.

This is the path to actively protect the true religion, to enlighten misguided youths, to contain the radicals and hinder the growth of distrust against Islam.

Islamic Extremism is principally a danger to Muslims. Must terrorists kill Muslims in Muslim countries?

The global media coverage about the terror in Paris somewhat overshadowed, that simultaneously 63 people in Iraq, 26 in Syria and 18 in Aghanistan were killed by extremists.

I thus also demand active reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites, just like the Lutheran Church reached agreement with the Cathlic Church after centuries of bitter warfare of faith.

We in the West must contain xenophobia, Islamophobia, and Neo-Nazis.

35.000 people demonstrated against xenophobia in Dresden on Sunday.

In Paris, 1,5 million Christians, Muslims and Jews took to the streets. And the Muslims rose on Tuesday at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin supported by the German President and Chancellor against violence in the name of Islam and for respect for the peaceful Muslims in Germany.

More of that is needed. Let us not stand still. Let this continue with numerous deeds worldwide.

Our fight for tolerance is your fight. Your fight for tolerance is our fight.

We can only save the world from hate and terror if we contain the different radicals together. 

3. 

We must educate towards more tolerance and respect for other religions, ethnic minorities and races globally. We need a Jihad for tolerance, in the Christian and in the Muslim world.

We have to spent hundreds of millions of dollars in grassroots projects, in the Muslim world and in the West. A global action plan is needed to promote the human codes of tolerance and respect and to contain the radicals.

We all do too little.

We have to maintain good human interaction as if it were a beautiful lawn. If we don't tend to our garden, the weeds will choke out the flowers. Promoting the soft factors of peace and tolerance is like seeding plants: they need daily watering and care.??

We need a credible policy of the values for the UN Charter to establish an honest global constitution without political rhetoric.??

We need a living soul, not just checkbooks or weapons.

This includes the steady promotion of the codes of tolerance towards minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised religions and races.

This includes the Holy Land, Israel and Palestine, as well, where a reconciliation policy is needed, benchmarked by the successful reconciliation between Germany, France and Poland. Needed is a prosperous Palestinian State with values, secure borders and human rights to brake free from hate and the promotion of violence. My independent World Security Network has published detailed proposals on our website for many years- read here.

Specific details of how to reach globally more respect and tolerance towards other religions and ethnic minorities are described in my most current book Codes of Tolerance.

It has been translated into Arabic and published by Al Arabi Publishing in Cairo (orders via [email protected]; www.alarabipublishing.com.eg, in German by Herder Verlag). 

4.

My  book,  Codes of Tolerance depicts a the real picture of the true peace-loving Islam with many facets and hence a positive message to all: Islam is peaceful in its roots and tolerant of Christians and Jews.??

The book explores 10 Golden Rules of tolerance in Islam:

The dominance of goodness and mercy of God in the first sura and all suras of the Qur'an.

The Muslim welcome address "Peace be with you”. 

The Prophet aimed at hilm, a new society of harmony and respect.

Punishment on judgment day and not on earth. 

The state role model through reconciliation after the conquest of Mecca 630 to 632. The Prophet did not enforce a totalitarian theocracy, but left the political system as it was, forced nobody to convert to Islam and and pardoned his enemies as well.

There are many references to the ancient sacred text of the Jews and the Christians, who share 14 prophets with the Muslims.??

At least 27 verses in the Qu’ran call on Muslims to practice tolerance and patience to Christians and Jews as other believers to the same God and children of Abraham.?

The clear restriction of the use of force in Jihad only in self-defense in the Quaran and only as long as the attacker poses an immediate danger.  Violence should never be practiced against innocent civilians.

The Prophet and later the first two caliphs signed 14 tolerance contracts with Christian communities for eternity, protecting the free exercise of religion.

There is a strong tolerance tradition with the Christians. Documented by the close alliances of the first 100 Muslims Mohammad sent from hostile Mecca in exile to the Christian Kingdom of the Negus in Abyssinia  615 to 622, as well as in the Golden Age of Islam in the 9th century.??

The obligation to comply with all rules of the UN Charter by Sura 17.34 as applicable law in Islamic countries. This is a new tolerance pact with the Christians.

The radical Muslims misunderstand or ignore these messages of tolerance and the model of Prophet Muhammad.  They cherry-pick only six sentences of the 6236 sentences of the Qu’ran and ignore 99.99 percent. Thus they put Islam upside down.

Opposite to the propaganda of extremists, the true message of the Qu’ran and the Prophet are of mercy, the virtue of serenity, harmony (hilm) and peace (salam). 

The position of women in Islam casts Islam in a light of mistrust and disdain in Western countries.

I have therefore highlighted the relationship between the Prophet and women in the chapter: "Muhammad: ’I am the best to women.?“?

Central to its comprehension is the description of Khadidjah bint Khuwaylid (ca. 555-620), the first wife of the Prophet.

She was an emancipated and very successful businesswoman in Mecca and employed the younger Muhammad and asked for marriage via a mediator.

Only one world religion was funded by a woman:  Islam. 

Not a man, but a woman was "the first Muslim."??

A woman was the most important counselor and supporter of the Prophet.

She supported him when he had massive doubts about continuing to promote Islam.

She should be the role model for all Muslim women, because God chose an emancipated business woman on purpose.

The extremists never heard of her importance and style, but they should. 

Khadidjah is the opposite of Muslim teaching today as is propagated by the IS and Boko Haram which restrict and abuse women. They neither go to school nor are they emancipated "in the name of the Prophet.”

The Prophet encouraged the emancipation of women in the tribal society of the 7th century.  This was a groundbreaking societal right for the female citizen.??

The rules of the Quar’an protected the women with not less but six more significant rights: Inheritance, personal property, consent to marriage, and prohibiting the killing of female offspring.

The Qu’ran never said: do not give them more rights. It does not limit women rights, but guides towards emancipation.

The Prophet fostered the emancipation of women. The tribal communities of the 7th century did not allow for more.

Hence, an important part of the Codes of Tolerance is the propagation of women in the Islamic world. 

I appeal to every responsible citizen to become personally involved in the development of this common global village. The codes of tolerance are our common ground, a global ethos we share. 

The Codes of Tolerance include 60 rules and paths towards a world policy of human kindness, combined with 79 best practices for the most important groups: All of us in general, parents, religious leaders, the media, politicians, sport and culture.??

We can successfully follow the path of tolerance with many good deeds.  The world can silence their haters and nurture their flowers within the spectrum of love for our children of all faiths.?

Peace and hilm through tolerance towards other religions, minorities and races is attainable.

5.

An active and fortified tolerance policy is not naïve.

It is not the dream of do-gooders. It is absolutely essential.??

Our world needs a positive vision.

A hawk alone cannot bring peace.

Only 0.01 percent of our security budgets are spent on reconciliation projects, but 99.99 percent is used for internal security and defense.

We need a readjustment and an active tolerance policy, which is financed with a least one percent of all expenditures for security.

We also need zero tolerance towards the intolerant. We must actively oppose the poison of hate.? In Europe as well as in the Muslim world.

In future, only those rebels and states should receive support, who abide by the global order rooted in the UN-Charta, include its resolutions and implement them.

This is true for any kind of support – currently as in Syria, Egypt, Gaza, Libya or Pakistan.

He who refuses must be isolated. No funding for extremists any more.

Let us not leave our world to the haters and evil.??

We cannot wait – we have to start now.  Local, creative, active.??

We all can start with our small puzzle piece of peace as the first stones in the mosaic of seven billion people.??

Together, as Europeans and as Arabs, we can create  a new harmonious world of togetherness with more respect and love of humanity in our global village.

Our children are our greatest commodity and their future is their right to inherit a state of peace and security.

Qatar could become the role model in the Islamic world for this new policy. 

With its creative and flexible foreign policy, Qatar should play a leading role in this policy and the promotion of codes of tolerance in finding projects funded by $1 billion dollars for many projects.??

This money may be well spent. It will change the Arabic countries and the world in a positive fashion – in accordance with the wishes of the Prophet.

The Qatari television station Al Jazeera and the Qatar Foundation should address these vital issues about promoting peace more now than ever before.

This country could lead the way as a very important role model in moral and political leadership for the Arab world.??

Qatar can silence its critics by shouldering the essential moral responsibility of spreading the word of peace from the Prophet.??

This country can fill a moral vacuum and fulfill the dreams of millions of young Arabs.

With an initiative to prompt the human codes of tolerance and respect globally, Qatar shines even brighter as a beacon of light. As a moral and Islamic lighthouse.

Speech at the Conference Arab-German Relations of the Forum for Arab and International Relations, Doha in Qatar January 14th, 2015

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