When public figures utter words of evil and injustice, with no sign of embarrassment or shame, we Muslims cannot hold our peace. We must speak up.
The recent claim by the figurehead of the One Nation Party, Ms Hanson, that most Australian would not have voted for the 1967 Aboriginal Citizenship Referendum had they known what would happen, is a slur upon the character of the people who live in this country and an insult to all people of goodwill, including the Muslim community.
Aborigines were not counted in the Population Census prior to 1967 because they were not counted as citizens of Australia. The basis of British settlement of Australia had been the doctrine of Terra Nullius, the empty land in which no people lived. The Aborigines were officially invisible until 1967.
In her usual ignorant way, the One Nation figurehead appeared from her comments on the 1967 Referendum, to be prepared to contemplate taking away the vote from Aboriginal Australians. This is indeed a profoundly disturbing suggestion and indicates the fascist quality of One Nation thinking. Does One Nation also contemplate taking the vote from Asian and African immigrants and do they contemplate re-introducing religious tests? It was not until 1815 that Unitarians and the various non-Anglican Christian sects gained legal recognition in Britain. From One Nation's attitude of "full steam ahead to the 1700's", anything is possible, including public advocacy of the re-introduction of slavery.
The stand of Islam on the notion of justice is very clear. We are told in the holy Qur'an that all of the Apostles of Allah carried the message of justice.
"We sent aforetime apostles with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong) that men may stand forth in justice."
(Qur'an, Al-Hadid 57:25)
We are also told that we should not fear the power of those who perpetrate in justice. We must take a clear stand in witness to Islam.
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for injustice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the desires (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you (distort) injustice or decline to do justice, truly Allah is well acquainted with all that you do."
(Qur'an, An-Nisa' 4:135)
One of the great Islamic scholars of this century, Maulana Maududi in his work, Political Theory of Islam, delivered in Lahore Oct. 1939, writes of the mission of all the prophets of Allah.
"This was the radical reformation effected by the prophets in the life of humanity. They aimed at the demolition of man's supremacy over man. Their real mission was to deliver man from this injustice, this slavery to false gods, this tyranny of man over man, this exploitation of the weaker by the stronger. Their object was to thrust back to their proper limits those who had overstepped them and o raise to the proper level those who had been forced down from it. They endeavoured to evolve a social organisation based on human equality in which man should be neither the slave nor the master of his fellow-beings and in which all men should become the slaves of God."
It was the fearlessness of the Muslims of past generations in their defence of justice, which gave them, and thus Islam itself, great prestige in their societies. Always it has been the mark of a true Islamic scholar that he dares to speak the truth before a tyrant. We have in the One Nation Party the roots of tyranny and it is becoming clear that the politicians, fearful of the extent of racist support in the community, will not take them head-on.
In a recent article by Mohammad A Shaikh, published by Muslimedia International on 17 May 1998 the real danger of fascist parties is highlighted. The neo-Nazi DVU recently won 13% of the vote in a part of Bavaria. This indication of the rise of Hitler's children caused a shock throughout Germany. These new Nazis will not be able to win power in civilised communities but they can have a profoundly negative impact.
"Interestingly, the response of the mainstream political parties to the rise of the racists - particularly the DVU's poll success - is to become more racist themselves, explaining their behaviour in terms of a tactic designed to cut the anti-foreigners down to size rather than emulate them.
Less than a week after the DVU's electoral victory, the Bavarian authorities ordered the deportation of a Turkish couple who have lived in Germany for 30 years, because of the criminal record of their son, aged 13. The Turkish family has not been named but the authorities say that the son is a threat to public order."
If we do not take a stand for justice now, we may regret our foolishness in the future.
May Allah guide us on the right path.
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