Ahmad al-Baghdadi Part Two. More courageous analysis from Kuwaiti secularist.
November 11, 2009
AHMAD AL-BAGHDADI [Part Two].
Al-Baghdadi relentlessly pursued his theme in an article published two days later, on 16 November 2004, in Al-Siyassa, [Memri, Special Dispatch 823] titled 'The Good in Secularism and the Bad in You,' and explained why the secular countries were successful and the Islamic countries manifest failures:
"There is no Islamic country in which a Christian or a Jew could reveal a cross or a skullcap, and get away with it peacefully. In addition, members of [other] human religions, like Buddhism and Hinduism, are prohibited from conducting their ceremonies in public, even with governmental approval, without people harming them, as happened at the Hindu place of worship in Kuwait. In contrast to this religious persecution [in Islamic countries,] ofwhich the [Islamic] religious stream boasts, there is no secular country that prohibits the construction of mosques, even in the event that the government does not finance them. Moreover, there is no secular country that prevents the Muslim from praying in public...
"There is no church in the secular Christian world in which a priest stands and curses anyone who disagrees with his religion or prays for trouble and disaster to befall them, as do the preachers in our Friday sermons. [Moreover,] our religious thought has no parallel to the message recently pronounced by the present Pope regarding the importance of peace for all. Contrary to the ease with which a mosque is built in secular Europe and America, the construction of a church [in a Muslim country] is carried out only with the approval of the country's president, [and even then] it is rare.
"There is no non-Muslim religious institute that teaches its students to hate the Other, claiming that he is considered an infidel, doomed to hell, regardless of whether he was of any use to mankind. This hatred is present in the curricula of the Islamic religion.
"Throughout [Muslim] history there has not been one Muslim judge who strived to attain justice for a non-Muslim who was wronged, whereas the U.S. and Europe have saved many peoples from oppression, while sacrificing human life and property in order to save other [peoples.] [In this context] one cannot but note the benevolence of the secular toward the Kuwaitis when they decided to liberate Kuwait and reinstate the honor of its government and its people.
"In the secular world the author, the intellectual, and the journalist are not sent to jail for their opinions - with the exception of the European laws concerning the denial of the Holocaust that annihilated the Jews of Europe, because this is a fact from which the European conscience still suffers. [Even in such a case, the Holocaust denier] is not imprisoned, but is merely fined. They do not consider him a murtadd [Arabic: apostate], and do not seek his death, try to assassinate him, harm his livelihood, or separate him from his wife and children. In contrast, the extremist Muslims and the Islamic clerics often adopt ideological terror, issuing calls for killing, and accusations of ridda [apostasy]...
"Those in the religious stream cannot avoid admitting that all the good is in the secular thought, and all the evil is in the religious thought, for they take advantage of religion in order to harm not only people but religion itself, to the point that Muslims no longer respect their religion, and they start to exploit it for financial gain by selling Islamic books and drink.
"Do you know why Allah helps the secular country? Because it is just. Why doesn't He help countries that build mosques every day? Because these countries are oppressive...
"The Muslim countries cannot adopt secularism for a simple reason: the principles of secularism contradict the outlook of these countries, which are based on tyranny, oppression, aggression, backwardness, and anarchy. Moreover, these countries exploit religious thought in order to impose their legitimacy.Thus you find that they are the most avid supporters of the religious groups, knowing that these groups include those who support terrorism and harm society. For the religious groups do not support rights and justice as much as they support oppression and tyranny, whereas secularism [acts] in the opposite manner."
One's first reaction to Al-Baghdadi's article is one of wonder at his courage in a much-needed act of self-criticism, something which is rare in the Islamic world. The second reaction is to worry for his safety. Unfortunately, one's worries were justified when one read that al-Baghdadi on March 21, 2005 published a request for political asylum in the West " in response to being sentenced by a Kuwaiti court to three years on probation on 2,000 dinars [$6800] bail, with violation punishable by a one-year prison sentence, on charges of contempt for Islam."
Here is the full text of al-Baghdadi's request [Memri Special Dispatch 889]:
"If you state your opinion about the teaching of a religious curriculum, and such action will lead to imprisonment and a ban from writing and a promise to pay bail to stop the prison sentence, which is the ruling that came out this week, then this means that the "knife had already reached the throat" even if it was done under the cover of law. Therefore, there is no escape from this problem, which was done under the cover of law, other than to request political asylum in one of the western countries.
"This is not only to protect my freedom, but also to protect "life" as well. What is it to gain by staying in a country that does not respect one's dignity? What is it to gain by staying in a country where you cannot be certain about the protection of your life? What is to gain by staying in a country when such action brings trouble to members of your own family and distract you from your profession? The writer Abdullateef Alduaij did the right thing when he emigrated from Kuwait and settled in the United States. He now writes from there, and hence he saved his dignity and the dignity of his family. He also protected his freedom of expression, and saved himself from the humiliation of prison, which is quite possible, given the laws in Kuwait.
"After this ruling, I am forced to request political asylum publicly, and through the internet, to a western country. This is not because I hate my country, but because I hate its tyrannical laws. Through those laws courts do not hesitate to imprison someone who stated an opinion that is not directly related to religion. This is so, because what I know is that Islam does not require a Muslim to memorize the Holy Qur'an. The proof is from the Holy Qur'an itself, when it says in what it means: "read what you can read from the Qur'an," and also a saying that "Alikhlaas" verse is equivalent to a third of the Qur'an, when a Muslim recites it.
"I did not research one day in the subject of political asylum, since I thought that my dignity is respected in my country, and my life is safe. But now it is different. It is clear that the goal of every enemy of mine (and they are many in this country) to place me in prison. Since I do not know the right way to request the asylum, I request from anyone who knows how to request such asylum to provide me with the necessary information by Fax at (965) 4721840, or by using e-mail at (email@example.com). I will be very thankful for the information.
"I have to admit that the religious movement has won in its battle against me. I congratulate them, and also congratulate our tyrannical country for this victory. Hence, I will stop writing about religious subjects. It is also important to note that the host country will not incur any expenses, since I can live on my retirement salary and on writing bonuses I receive from newspapers. Also, I would like to note that the first ruling in court regarding my case was "not guilty." ".