Tajikistan’s de-radicalization program is counter productive

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This piece is a rebuttal to Tajikistan’s de-radicalization program by force shaving the beards and banning sales of Hijab items of the Tajikistani people. It is counterproductive, indeed, it will increase radicalization to defend their honor.  Link

January 23, 2016 – The Government of Jumhurii Tojikiston (Democratic nation of Tajikistan) has brutally imposed its way of life on her citizens by, “Shaving off 13,000 beards, shutting shops selling hijab: Tajikistan ‘fights radicalisation’ in Khatlon region of the country.  

Individuals who do not believe in genuine freedom,  and the arrogant ones who believe  that they know what is good for others are the ones going to rejoice this imposition.  Even in America, those who talk about liberty will become hypocrites in this case reflecting their bias towards Muslims.  We shall see how many politicians and how many talk show hosts will defend the liberties of the people, even though they do not agree with them.

I am saddened for Muslims; I remember a Hadith where Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had wished that his people had a book to follow like the other people, and I admire him for giving us the book. I wish he had also wished that we elected our leaders through the consent of the people and had instituted a system of democracy. 

I am saddened that throughout the Muslims history, with the exception of first 30 years of the rightly guided Caliphs, and the immediate past 70 years of democracies, we were deprived for a full 1300 years to give our input and our consent to the government.  Of course, that was the way with other nations too except the United States that had its democracy for 239 years. 

We still do not have the Muslim majority Governments that are run by the consent of the people with a few exceptions like Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia, Malaysia and now Pakistan.  Iran does hold elections, but it’s an oligarchy that runs the show without the consent of the people.  

I also appreciate the prophet for giving us the freedom to elect our leaders through the consent of the people rather than imposed from above.  If he had wished “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (From our immortal declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;”) we would have had mature democracies that would have brought free will in our practices and consent of the governed for the Government. This is what is missing in most of the Muslims societies and communities. 

We took the crap far too long and finally things are turning around, thank God for it. In the last 15 years, we have witnessed tremendous questioning, steps that will lead to fixing our problems like radicalization. This could not have been imagined 50 years ago, as the oppressors among us would have pointed their fatwa guns to shut you up. Thank God, the oppression from within is coming to an end. Finally, we are learning to honor 
the God-given freedom. 

We have questioned Sharia, broken it down to personal and public Sharia, while holding on to the personal Sharia, which is how we pray and fast, and whole heartedly accepting the civil and criminals laws enshrined in our constitution as our only public law.  We are questioning the Hadiths, which contradict the essence of Quran and many of the hadiths do not meet the criteria of “Rahmatul Aalameen”, Prophet Muhammad could not have said anything remotely close to some of the fake hadiths, that suit the right wingers among us but would not have met the requirements of common sense. 

What Tajikistan is doing is wrong – shaving beards does not unradicalize the men, and neither banning the Hijab will deradicalize women.  Humans can be suppressed with brutal power, but the pent up anger will explode one day.  Education stands a better chance of deradicalizing the individuals.

Extremism of any kind is bad; they swing the pendulum from one end to the other and never allow the stability and equilibrium in a given society.  We are generally familiar with religious extremists, now we see a new breed of secular extremists, who in the name of secularism have become tyrants, and want to impose their ideals on others.    

I am not sure swinging the pendulum to the other extreme will bring stability.  Unfortunately we have a bad example of Turkey, where Ataturk Mustafa Kemal Pasha forced people to be secular, which survived for nearly 80 years.  Will Turkey swing the other way? Time will tell.  

One of the few reasons for these problems is a loss of moderation – the prophet did not want us to be saints or completely materialistic, he wanted us to live a life of balance, i.e., enjoy the God given life while earning God’s grace, but never abandon present life for Akhira (life here after).  

I suggest the government of Tajikistan to abandon the impositions and bring prosperity to the people, and institute educational programs deradicalizing the individuals.  I will be happy to consult in building cohesive Islamic societies, where we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each one us; and if we do that conflicts fade and solutions will emerge for effectively functioning societies.

Mike Ghouse
www.MuslimSpeaker.com =Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in.

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