Careful Where You Stand – for those who wish to attack another

Fazel Muhamad, 48, holding pictures of family members who were killed in the attack. Photograph: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad; The Guardian

Fazel Muhamad, 48, holding pictures of family members who were killed in the attack. Photograph: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad; The Guardian

In the past two days I have had three “curious” replies to a post in matangmanok regarding Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist who had converted to Islam.  I have approved one of the replies to show that if there is genuine discussion needed on a subject I am willing to open the doors.  But the two other replies to the same post that are now pending my approval have forced me to wonder if there is a new anti-Muslim wave I am unaware of.

I would like to invite the two people who have swamped me with these strange correspondences to please understand, I prefer to keep this space open for all who wish to contribute their thoughts without attacking another person’s choice of faith.

Mr Fulgente Antonio, I permitted your initial reply to the article concerning reports by Yvonne Ridley.  Your follow-up is far too long and too similar to the other person who posted a reply on the same day, forcing me to wonder if you know each other in more ways than one.

Mr Jeffrey Lang, this is how your reply started:

It is really a pity that an educated British lady converts to Islam and fails to get to know the realty of Jesus, the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. I had earlier went through the same experience of being led astray by the PROPHET OF DOOM, Mohammad, but later I realized that was stepping into hell. I would like to list  a comparison between the Lord of Light, JESUS, and the Prophet of Doom, Mohammad, so that the message would be made clear to Yvonne Ridley and all misled Muslims. I would like also to note that I have returned safely to the Lord Jesus and abandoned the bleak image of Mohammad.
Jeffrey Lang (project@genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu).

The rest of it, I am sorry to say, will take up too much space on my blog.  I will gladly forward the rest of the lengthy text to anyone who kindly requests it.

I grew up in a now predominantly Catholic country.  Before the Spanish colonizers arrived it had been largely Muslim, but there were many other belief systems among the myriad tribes.  The Europeans stayed for over 300 years, and in that time countless lives were lost in the effort to convert the population to the lovely religion of Christianity.  Numerous rebellions took place, villagers took to the hills to avoid being forced to accept a foreign belief system.

If you look at the history of religions – not just Christianity – that tried to impose their belief systems on others, you might just find that weapons of destruction accompanied such flag-waving campaigns.  In the end the “triumphant” religion seems to have taken over the pre-existing one, but in fact it often gets changed as well in the process.

The “subsumed” religion, just like any organism, seeks ways of surviving in the most amazing ways.  I dare say that animism and ancestral worship continue to bleed through the bandages of the Christian faith – one has to know where to look.  Though that is a matter for another time.

For now these are the things I would like to mention.  It is easy to wave a flag and brand someone.  With that, the flag-waver and brander calls attention to him/herself.  What cause are you fighting for?  What box do you stand on?  Or is that a coffin?  Have you measured it?

Choosing a faith – or for that matter, rejecting one or all – is a very personal matter.  And so there is an arrogance that carries with it a terrible blindness when one decries a particular religion, condemning every single person who might be its follower.

A few steps away from that dangerous activity is the closing of doors to a common humanity.

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About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. View all posts by matangmanok

4 responses to “Careful Where You Stand – for those who wish to attack another

  • matangmanok

    Mr Fulgente Antonio sent me another comment regarding Yvonne Ridley. I am not posting the whole comment here because this is not a platform for religious extremism. Here is part of his comment and if you wish to read the rest, please leave a note here and I will gladly send you the whole thing. Thanks.

    —o—
    “Islam is a shame in the forehead of modern, liberal and free life.( Fulgente Antonio saviourjesus7@aol.com)”
    —o—

    Hmmm… forehead??????

  • Tom McMurray

    Jim, I have been reading with great interest the jingoistic absolutism
    some religionists preach. I just wrote this poem last night which fit
    right into the give and take between the Light of the World, Jesus,
    and everybody’s heavy the ungodly Mohammad. Here is the poem Jim. tom

    Shades Of Babel

    Religious truth once found will be profound
    When all religious human thought is bound
    Together as majestic tapestry;
    Man’s final grand transcendent artistry.

    This many layered truth was not contained
    Within a single concept man ordained.
    But threads of truth can make the many one;
    Then wait for man’s evolving to be done.

    Man first must learn to turn the other cheek,
    Relinquish pride, then meditate on meek.
    The prideful man is deaf to wisdom’s song,
    His vessel filled with vitriol too long.

    Confusion reigns when man should understand
    Like shades of Babel still upon the land;
    Man’s avarice and greed spreads through his seed
    So progeny no better sees man’s need.

    Rejoice in all beliefs with equal zeal
    For all is one, a truth you can reveal.
    As long as pride and incomplete belief
    Guide man to truth–mankind finds no relief.

    Take care Jim. tom

  • Secretlee

    WOW!
    I’ve been following this thread too, though I have yet to leave a comment, as I felt I really didnt have anything worthy to add. However, your poem Tom just floated my boat! “Rejoice in all beliefs with equal zeal,For all is one, a truth you can reveal.” I agree wholeheartedly. I love to mull over the interconnectedness of the universe…

    Personally, I prefer inclusion, not exclusion. I like to embrace and celebrate our different beliefs, for I believe there is no one true path, no one true message and no one true truth. We all have our own truth. I love truth. LOL… I even wrote a poem about it myself, which embarrassingly, can be found on Opium.. no .. Hooligan.. no, Hellium.. what was that site again? Anyway, here it is, in case you feel like reading…. Its called simply:

    Truth

    The mystical deep
    An abyss of our truth
    When my hand doesn’t end
    Where it finishes

    The spiritual deep
    Is a gossamer thread
    Ties my heart to my head
    And my smile is echoed in you

    The cosmic deep
    Is deepest of all
    Lies somewhere beneath
    The stars and your eyes
    I fall into both
    Into you

    The magical deep
    Is a whisper of touch
    When alchemy comes alive
    For the gold that is shining
    Through the light in your eyes

    Is a shimmering essence of truth.

    Secretlee

  • matangmanok

    Tom and Secretlee,

    Thank you so much for sharing your views on the matter. I wonder what the next chapter will be. 🙂

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