By Tariq Ramadan
29 November 2007–It would be possible, of course, to say that the media are always covering damaging stories about the Muslims and the Islamic majority countries. It would be possible, of course, to blame this ongoing campaign against Islam, its Book, its Prophet (s) and its values and practicesâ€¦ Of courseâ€¦and not everything is illegitimate in the feeling that there is a kind of campaign in the hands of some populist politicians and sensational mediasâ€¦Of course!
But there comes a time where one should look at the state of affairs of the legal system in the Islamic majority countries and draw some imperative (and constructive) conclusions. It is simply a shame! In the name of Islam, innocent, poor people and women are accused, jailed sometimes beaten and sometimes executed with no evidence and, moreover, no way to properly defend themselves. The honest and embarrassing judges are fired in Pakistan; a woman, victim of a rape, becomes the accused in Saudi Arabia and is asked to prove her innocence while a British teacher is jailed because her students decided to name a teddy bear â€œMuhammadâ€! Where are we heading?
While the judiciary and the legal system must remain neutral and protect justice and peopleâ€™s rights it is used in the Islamic majority countries for political reasons or so called religious concerns. The problem needs a profound reform, an imperative reassessment. Yet, a rape is a rape and while evidences have not been shownâ€“in one way or another-it remains unacceptable to start by blaming the woman. To use and instrumentalise the story of an innocent British teacher to show how much â€œwe care about Islamâ€ is pure nonsense and should be utterly rejected!
It is as if the teacher is becoming a vehicle through whom a government is showing its dedication towards Islam and for some Muslims to convey their anger towards the West. First, anger is not good in itself; second to send it through a wrong and unjust means must be condemned. Did not the Prophet Muhammad (s) say: â€œWhat is built on wrong foundation is wrong.â€
One must ask these Islamic majority societies to be more consistent with their own values and to stick to justice by refusing to abuse Islam. It means to protect the independence of the judicial system, to protect equally the innocent people, poor or rich, Muslims and non Muslims, men and women. We cannot remain silent. This story has nothing to do with Islam. It has to do with a political domestic-international nasty game aiming to mobilize peopleâ€™s emotions at the sacrificed cost of a womanâ€™s dignity and integrity.
Come back to Islam please, come back to justice, come back to reason!