Mar 27, 2009

My Journey to Freedom

9/11 ကိစၥရွင္းပါရေစ။ 9/11 ျဖစ္စမွာ အေမရိကန္ေတြ ေသေက်လုိ႔ဆုိျပီး သူတုိ႔က အင္မတန္ကုိ ၀မ္းသာခဲ့ပါတယ္။ သူမ်ားေသတာကုိျမင္ရင္ ၀မ္းသာတဲ့ မြတ္ဆလင္ဘာသာ ဘယ္အဆင့္မွာရွိလဲ ေျပာဖုိ႔မလုိပါဘူး။ 9/11 ကုိ အေမရိကန္ အစုိးရ ေနာက္ကြယ္က ပတ္သက္ေနတယ္ဆုိတာ တစ္ႏွစ္အတြင္းမွာ ဗီဒီယုိေတြ ေဆာင္းပါးေတြ အမ်ားၾကီး အင္တာနက္မွ ပ်ံ့ႏွံ႔ေနပါျပီ။ ဒါေပမယ့္မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြက ဘင္လာဒင္အၾကမ္းဖက္လုိ႔ ေသသြားတဲ့ အေမရိကန္ေတြကုိ သနားသလုိလုိနဲ႔ ဘင္လာဒင္ကုိ တဖက္လွည့္ ခ်ီးက်ဴးခဲ့ပါတယ္။ ဘင္လာဒင္က သတ္တယ္လုိ႔ လူတုိင္းကုိ လုိက္ၾကြားပါတယ္။

ေနာက္ပုိင္းမွာ အေမရိကန္အစုိးရက မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြကုိ သတ္ျဖတ္တာ ပုိမုိဆုိးရြားလာပါတယ္။ ပလီေတြကုိလဲ ဖ်က္ဆီးခဲ့ပါတယ္။ ကမာၻ႔ႏုိင္ငံအသီးသီးက လူေတြကလဲ မြတ္ဆလင္ကုိ ျပင္းျပင္းထန္ထန္ ဆန္႔က်င္လာပါတယ္ (ျမန္မာေတြကေတာ့ ကုလားဖင္ရက္ေနဆဲပါ) အဲဒီေနာက္ပုိင္းမွာ ကုလားေတြက သူတုိ႔အတြက္ 9/11 ဘင္လာဒင္ကုိယ္တုိင္လုပ္တယ္လုိ႔ ေျပာဆုိခ်င္းက အက်ဳိးမရွိဘူးလုိ႔ျမင္လာပါတယ္။ ဒီေတာ့မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြက ဗ်ဴဟာေျပာင္းလုိက္ပါတယ္။ ဗ်ဴဟာအသစ္ကေတာ့ အေမရိကန္အစုိးရကုိယ္တုိင္ 9/11 ကိုလုပ္တယ္ဆုိတာကုိ ေထာက္ခံလုိက္ျခင္း ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ယုတ္ညံ့၊ ေကာက္က်စ္၊လိမ္ညာ၊ လူသတ္၊ မုိဒိမ္းက်င့္ စတဲ့နည္းလမ္းေပါင္းစုံနဲ႔ ရွင္သန္ေနရတာမြတ္ဆလင္ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ အဆင့္ရွိတဲ့သူတုိင္း မြတ္ဆလင္ဘာသာကေန ထြက္သင့္ပါျပီ။

When on the otherwise fine morning of 9/11, I switched on the TV and witnessed two planes hit the WTC with the building falling apart like a pack of card – I was amazed, stunned and delighted. A fitting response for the evil US foreign policy, especially towards Palestine. There was no doubt in my mind that this event must have been orchestrated by a Muslim group, most likely by Osama bin Laden but all that played in my mind was that it was all justified; it was necessary to teach America a lesson. Yet, I was never a fan of bin Laden - I would never have wanted his ideology take hold in my own country.

As the first reaction, I jumped up, out of delight, with a loud exclamatory noise. My housemate, a Hindu guy, came out to my shouting. He had already had a glimpse of event. He naturally did not enjoy my delight and glum faced he just went back to his room to get ready for rushing to work. He probably knew it was useless to talk with this folk. Probably he was too depressed to talk about this appalling event.

Next few weeks, I spent explaining to my mates and colleagues about how US has been killing the Palestinians, US's bad policies towards the Islamic world, US sanctions on Iraq, US troops bases in Saudi Arabia and what not.

This is what I was doing despite the fact that I was hardly a Muslim. Although born to religious parents in South Asia – I was never pressed to follow religious rituals and neither did I ever bother to engage myself in those stuffs. My only religious devotion was intermittent praying on Friday Juma and on the 2 yearly days of Eid. I would do fasting only on those days I would be invited for Iftar (fast-breaking) party by friend and relatives. Hindus have been my good friends, as exemplified my having a Hindu housemate. Yet, that's the kind of reaction I had of the 9/11 attack. I kind of celebrated the tragic event of killing so many innocent people who had nothing to do with Palestine or US foreign policy.

In a week after 9/11 attack, I called a childhood friend back home – who could not pass his 10th grade but was a pious person. I was in a goading mood while discussing the WTC attack with him. He was rather cold to my zeal. He was indeed concerned that US might start deporting the Muslims, as rumors were rife. He had depended on me for financial help from time to time. He knows that my family and a host of relatives and friends depend on me for money regularly. All he said, "I don't care whether Palestinians die or not. Palestinians are never going to come with money for your family or for me. Neither are we going to come to help the Palestinians even if they die of hunger. Your staying in the US is important for your family, relatives and friends. Make sure, you don't get into troubles."

I was rather disappointed with his cold response to my elation of the 9/11 event. I had already called my parents the day-after 9/11 and obviously had described the event with glee. They too were not so interested. They are not well-educated people. They don’t keep up with the world. They hardly bothered to know what’s happening in Palestine. They reminded me not to get into troubles - they depended on my staying in the US. Getting a check at the end of the month from me was the most important thing – what is happening to Palestinian hardly bore any importance to them. I was disappointed with the callous responses of my friend and my parents towards the Muslim brothers in Palestine.

I called my brothers and quite surprisingly they were as elated as I was. I felt very good talking to them. My brothers were well educated in science and well-respected people in the locality unlike my friend and my parents. I felt quite happy talking to them that my brothers at least cared for the undeserved suffering of people in Palestine. I thought they were educated – so they responded to the call of their conscience. Justice mattered for them. I felt proud – they have become truly educated and conscientious human being. I didn't talk to my friend for some times after that.

As I was looking for all sorts of news on the web, I stumbled on to this website www.faithfreedom.org (FFI) about a month after 9/11. First time, I came across such a site. I took a couple of days reading and I was extremely disappointed and angry with Dr. Ali Sina and other writers on the site. Quickly I took a few pennames and started writing all sorts of abusive comments against FFI and its writers.

Initially I would mainly write abusive comments without making any solid reference to the points raised by the Islam-bashers. But every time, they would come back with references from the Islamic sources, Koran and Hadiths to shut me up. I thought they were misinterpreting the Quran. I thought there is special meaning in those verses which human knowledge cannot comprehend although they may sound very unsavory; Allah is beyond human comprehension; human logic may not fit to Allah’s; and all such kind of things.

One thing I have to make clear that when I started writing abusing retorts to these Islam-bashers in FFI, I never had read the Koran, or the Hadiths. My knowledge of Islam was from hearsay. After doing this kind of tug of war with the Islam-bashers on FFI for about 6-7 months – I slowly started looking into the Koran and Hadiths. I found online Koran (in multiple English translations) and Hadiths. I slowly started cross-checking the references. Then I got a Koran in my mother tongue. All of the translations were mostly agreeable and also were almost agreeable to the interpretations of these Islam-bashers of FFI. I started becoming quiet on FFI. I kept reading more and more. I started questioning if I wanted to copy-cat Prophet Muhammad – who, I believed, was the most perfect man for all times for 40 years of my life. I started questioning if I want to be an ideal man and have 10-15 wives, a few concubines and wage numerous wars against the idolaters, Jews and Christians. Growing up amongst the Hindu majority of the subcontinent - I thought if I would model myself after Muhammad - I should've waged wars against the Hindus (idolaters) in my neighborhood. In stead, I found many good friends amongst the Hindus - who had been excellent friends, who had been nice and honest people. They have been hard-working people as compared to many Muslims peers. Question after question started striking my head. I was getting mad.

I started contemplating what the world will be like if every Muslim had modeled himself after Prophet Muhammad. I wondered how much blood of my Hindu neighbors would have flown had every Muslims had acted the same way like Prophet Muhammad and his closest of disciples (Sahabas) who are considered the finest bunch of people in Islam. I started visioning, in my mind, all sorts of gory pictures in the neighborhood I grew up in. My idolater Hindu neighbors – hard working, honest and affluent like the Jew and Christian tribes of Prophet Muhammad’s neighborhood of Medina. I started visioning how those sweet, nice and beautiful sisters of my Hindu friends are falling at the lustful hands of my Muslims peers. One day about one year after the 9/11, I called my Hindu friend to a restaurant and ordered pork. He was in a daze. Because of me, he never ever brought pork home although I always cooked beef which my Hindu friend never touched because of the prohibition of his religion. I did not know when I had left Islam but that day formalized and ascertained that I was not a Muslims any more.

1 comment:

Islam 101 said...

Welcome to freedom. Freedom of spirit, freedom of mind, freedom from bondage. Cherish life and appreciate it's gift. You deserve a big hug.