Ben Affleck defends Islam

Ben Affleck as Batman? This is a joke right? Affleck as the fighter of injustice? Well it seems like that casting may have been spot on. As per the video a visibly disgusted Affleck reigned in on Bill maher and Sam Harris’s ‘bigoted’ view on Islam.

He argued that the acts of a minority under so called religious pretences can not lead them to generalise all Muslims. As Affleck said: “how about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day.. ‘.

Fighter for justice indeed. It’s an interesting point that we seem to cross a lot. Do the act of a minority, lead us to a judgment on an entire group of people as a whole? Do the actions of Al Qaeda and ISIS lead people to believe that all Muslims hold similar values? Some of the other panelists on Maher’s show also made a valid point that there are Muslims who are doing great positive work – but where is the media coverage?

One poll which Maher mentioned was that in Egypt “90% believe death is the appropriate response to leaving the religion “. First of all Egypt does not speak for Islam, it speaks for Egyptians. Secondly the poll fact was incorrect and was actually 64%. Still a high percentage and in complete contradiction to the teachings of Islam.

In a world were the majority are not heard and the minority are sensionalised, it’s perhaps a sign of the times that sometimes it takes a Hollywood celebrity to defend Islam and be heard! And hats of, defend he did…we now know who we’l be supporting when Superman takes on Batman.

See the video below


Should we show more Loyalty to our country?

The Sun Newspaper this week launched its ‘United against IS’ campaign, showing The Union Jack draped in a hijab. This was seen to highlight how British Muslims are standing up and saying ‘no’ to -extremism.

Is this an image promoting solidarity against extremism or as Journalist Nesrine Malik in the Guardian suggests, the Sun’s way of saying your either with us or against us.

Nesrine says Muslims should condemn the Islamic State ‘but not have it demanded’ of them, at the risk of being seen as terrorist sympathisers. So as Muslims do we sometimes have to go out of our way to prove we are against IS or are we comfortable in our own skin to let people judge us by our words and actions?

A brother from the mosque shared an experience where his work colleague jokingly said to him don’t let us be the ones on the news saying ‘he was such a nice guy, we didn’t think he’d do something like that!’ Tongue and cheek comment on how British Muslim terrorists happen to be the last person friends suspect to turn out like that. A joke perhaps but with a tinge of paranoia and suggestion of ‘how well do we really know you’.

You may talk about the mosque activities your involved in but to them this could mean anything depending on what newspaper they read. With this in mind there is no harm in finding an appropriate time to explain that loyalty to one’s nation is in fact an Islamic principle. In doing so in the past I have experienced that undertone of ‘we wish all Muslims thought like this’.Not knowing that in fact most Muslims already do!

We have to accept that the general public do have a genuine confusion and fear of the unknown fuelled by media sensationalism. As Muslims citizens we may feel loyal to our country but what’s the harm in saying it or displaying it now and again. It may not change some of the stigma attached to us but will go a long way in attempting to teach the peaceful and tolerate message of Islam which is often misconstrued. …..now let me learn those words for the national anthem : )

Malala Yousafzai makes History

Today, Friday 10th October 2014 represents a significant landmark in the 57 year history of the state of Pakistan. For the 2nd time only, a Pakistani has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of just 17, Malala Yousafzai stands as the youngest ever recipient of the prize for her internationally renowned contribution to child education.

The overall literacy rate in Pakistan is 46 per cent, while only 26 per cent of girls are literate. Malala Yousafzai while living in Pakistan generated considerable attention for promoting the need of education for Pakistani girls. Having being blacklisted by the Taliban, she miraculously survived an assassination attempt, following a gunshot wound to her head.

Despite this, since arriving in England, Malala has continued to actively speak out against the extremist voices in Pakistan that go as far as calling female education ‘haram’. Her speech in July 2013 at the United Nations General Assembly brought international acclaim for her defiance in the face of death threats and attempts – to instead speak out for female education in a country emboldened by extremism through a hardline interpretation of Islam.

Malala’s path has not been an easy one. She encapsulates Malcolm X’s statement that “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” This is reflected in her own words, where Malala says “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced”. We at thevoicetoday, appreciate the power and value of this statement, where we believe everyone of us has an obligation to stand up and use our voices to create a better today so we can build a promising future for tomorrow.