Samir Abu Hamza is a self appointed scholar. He runs an organisation in Melbourne and he apparently travels across Australia giving Islamic lectures. If he has ever come to Perth, I’ve never attended any of his lectures and didn’t hear about him till yesterday.
Apparently the above video was taped in 2003. Someone must have come across it on youtube and it was sent to the media.
The video was about 50 minutes long but the sound byte that created the uproar was possibly 2 minutes long. During the sound byte he is basically quoting Surah 4, Verse 34 in his own words.
“Men are (meant to be righteous and kind) guardians of women because God has favored some more than others and because they (i.e. men) spend out of their wealth. (In their turn) righteous women are (meant to be) devoted and to guard what God has (willed to be) guarded even though out of sight (of the husband). As for those (women) on whose part you fear ill-will and nasty conduct, admonish them (first), (next) separate them in beds (and last) beat them. But if they obey you, then seek nothing against them. Behold, God is most high and great. (4:34)
The second part he is saying that Women are not allowed to refuse their husbands sex and that if he comes to her while she is in the middle of making bread and wants sex, then the women must obey him. He goes on to say that in Australia and under Australian law if a husband wants to have sex with his wife and she refuses and he has sex with her anyway, it’s considered rape. How can there be rape in marriage?, was his question.
I was contacted by a local talk back radio to see if I would come on to talk about it. At this point I only heard the short clip. I agreed and googled it coming up with the entire 5o minute lecture. This man spoke about the rights of men and women and that they are equal, he spoke about the hadith citing that the best among us are those who treat their wives with kindness, he spoke about women being soft and that they should be treated with kindness and mercy all before he talked about this verse. When I listened to the whole lecture, the only thing I disagreed with was his comment about rape within marriage. Rape within marriage does happen and it is a crime. End of story.
On radio, I explained the verse to the best of my knowledge and I stated that Islam does not condone any form of violence. Islam does not condone violence in a marriage and Islam does not condone rape. I didn’t go on there to defend this man I don’t know, but I will not let Islam be blamed for domestic violence when that is not the case. I know the Radio Jock was not happy with what I had to say but truth is truth. I went on to say that it makes me wonder why a 6 year old video is making headlines now and that from where I was sitting it looked like another case of Muslim bashing. The jock obviously didn’t think so, he agreed with the Prime Minister that Abu Hamza should retract his words and apologise.
Later that night, it was all over the news and Muslim groups all over Australia were calling for him to apologise and retract his comments and were doing their best to distance themselves from him and his comments. My issue with that is the Verse that he quoted, is from the Quraan so in saying that his comments have no place in Islam is technically untrue. They are from Islam. ( Note that the talking point is what he is quoted as saying)
I just think that in Australia and perhaps in other parts of the world, we Muslims have become so apologetic that now, we are even apologising for what Islam says. I totally disagree with this attitude. I hate that we are expected to keep apologising for what people say or do in the name of Islam and I hate even more that we feel the need to take that on. I refuse to become an apologetic Muslim, who apologises for a suicide bomb half way across the world, I refuse to apologise because some Sheikh said that women are like uncovered meat, I refuse to apologise because Saudi doesn’t allow women to drive, I refuse to apologise for “terrorism” I REFUSE TO APOLOGIES FOR THE ACTIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE.
Not long ago Australia had the Cronulla riots where white Australians and Lebanese Australian boys went up against each other and things got pretty ugly. Muslims have been told to adopt Australian Values (whatever that is), We keep hearing about things that are Australian and un-Australian and we quite happily want to send people back to where they came from. A few people have gone as far as to say they should send Abu Hamza back to where he came from. I think it would be funny if he was born here like so many other Muslims.Every few months the Muslim bashing happens in the media and in general the media’s favourite pass time is Muslim bashing and the stats actually speak for themselves on this one. There is a political agenda to make us believe that Muslim Australians and non-Muslim Australians are different when in actual fact there is not much difference between us. There is an agenda that is trying hard to make us hate each other and add ignorance to this agenda and soon we going to have a problem spiralling out of control.
As a young Muslim living in Australia and as someone who is active in her community, I know that young people are feeling the pressure that is put on them by the media and the government to be “Australian”. The divide has been created and will continue to grow if attitude’s, media and policy does not change.
Someone made an interesting remark. He said with Australia day just around the corner, has someone intentionally dragged out that video, chose the part that suited their cause and managed to get the country riled up. It got me thinking about that “agenda” again. He said Australia day is the perfect opportunity for Cronulla to happen again.
We need to get some sense back into this world, we need to put things into perspective. It’s time we start treating each other like human beings first, and giving each other respect. We need to be able to stand up for what we believe in and state it firmly. One doesn’t need to force your belief onto someone else by standing up for your own belief. It’s ok to agree to disagree.