Let’s take it to mind! [Archives:2005/881/Community]

September 29 2005

In the Yemen Times Online Forum, Mr Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Kohlani states, “After 25 years I have left Yemen. I could not live as a Muslim. I wanted to be Christian. First I went to Sweden – now I am in Finland. I have a good work – a nice home – and I can do what ever I want. I daon't have to be stoning women; I don't have to be afraid of PSO. I have a christian family and many friends.

Open your eyes and look around the world – see the good world. Look at the democratic countries.”

Mr Al-Kohlani's main problem is a result of an internal as well as social conflict. He has lived in Yemen and suffered anxiety and discomfort. He could not lead a good and comfortable life due to several factors; mainly social and political. He has come to realize that his life is being harassed. As he describes, he has lived in a society where women are treated wrongly and democracy is nowhere. He has decided to fly to western countries, where his rights can be granted in full.

His feeling of suffocation to live in his country, though sincere, has led him to pass a wrong judgment on the nature of Islam. What he has experienced can be logically attributed to the social traditions in Yemen. Depriving women of their basic rights, holding bad views against them, or even being violent against them can be rationally linked to the society, where illiteracy and tribal mindset govern its largest part. Islam is far off the views held by them. It never asks for deprivation or violence.

As for having a good work and a nice home, these can be gained with some efforts exerted. Once a person is given an opportunity to travel abroad, chances of leading a comforted life will be available. This obviously shows the simple fact that religion has nothing to do with failure in a person's practical career. Instead, it encourages everybody to do his best and try his luck anywhere. If the western countries offer facilities, they will be for Muslims, Christians, and even non-believers. So he can be treated well even if he is Muslim.

Furthermore, the political practices in Yemen or any other Islamic countries cannot be associated with the religious beliefs held by its people. Democracy or dictatorship are systems adopted by governments. The role of religions seems to be less influential in this regard. However, practicing no democracy does not imply invalidity of religions. It is up to the political systems followed. So, if it is possible to live in a democratic country, it is more likely to feel at ease with an Islamic Identity.

We cannot confirm that Islam has called for whatever is carried out by it members. It is only a vehicle to reach a specific destination, i.e. the ultimate truth of our existence. If some Muslims think bad or do wrong, they represent their personalities and mentalities. If a builder fails to construct a building according to the design drawn by an architect, we cannot infer that the design is not good. It is the builder's fault.

To conclude, I would like to extend Mr Al-Kohlani a piece of advice:

1. If you desire to change, then never defame your ex-religion.

2. Never judge by generalizations. Be just in your ideas and specific in your examples.

3. Think well and see that all what you seek and look for is already granted to Muslims abroad.