“All God’s creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God who doeth most good to God’s creatures.”
– Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) The Seal of The Prophets
Egyptian people, in particular young people, are tired of a system that treats them as second class citizens in their own country and denies them their basic human rights, right to life, property, freedom of speech and self expression. The Association of British Muslims calls upon the Egyptian and other governments in the region, to evolve more representative national governments, place emphasis on ensuring and safeguarding the basic human rights of all people, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexuality, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Tensions will naturally arise when people are denied these basic rights to which all human beings are entitled by birth and when the distribution of wealth between the rich and poor becomes so extreme, that the rich live like phoroahs while the poor lack even the basic essentials of life.
Egyptians are being killed; to date, more than 100 have sustained injuries and over 1,000 protesters have been placed under arrest. We at The Association of British Muslims call for increased ‘peaceful non-violent resistance’ against the provocations of the Egyptian Government, further we issue a direct appeal to the Egyptian Military, Intelligence and Police services – that the people who are demonstrating are your people, Egyptians just like you – they are your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Do not use violence against them, as the time for change has come. Instead, work together with the people for peaceful and positive solutions.
The demonstrations by the Egyptian people, which prompted Cairo to impose a curfew in the canal city of Suez on Wednesday, were indeed motivated by the recent popular revolution in Tunisia, which ended the 23-year-long rule of the country’s former president, Zine El Abidin Ben Ali. But there is something deeper to this, the self-sacrifice of Mohammed Bouazizi 26. As a dire consequence of the incredible frustration he felt, Bouazizi burned himself as a protest against the government of run-away dictator Ben Ali and the completely unfair distribution of wealth in his country. Like many states in the developing world, the rich live like pharoahs in the lap of luxury, while the poor lack even the basic essentials of life!
Even though a hard working university graduate, Bouazizi was unemployed, driven into the streets, forced to sell fruits and vegetables, yet even this poor means was denied to him, when his wheelbarrow was confiscated by government agents. Full of passionate anger and resilience, he delivered his message in the only way he felt he could; he set himself ablaze!
That was the start of what Tunisia is today; Dictator Ben Ali ran out of his country as people marched with Bouazizi’s spirit of sacrifice for change. That spark lit a flame in the hearts of people in not just Tunisia but the region – and the light of that sacrifice burns in Egypt today.
This is a critical time for the Egyptian people and their nation. This is the time to support the people of Egypt, in their desire for a more representative and just government, committed to basic human rights for all her citizens, without distinction of any kind.
The Egyptian people, like any other people on this planet, simply wish to live their lives in peace and practice responsibility for themselves, their families and have a say in their nation – they have a direct responsibility to see to it that the future of their children is bright, full of promise and opportunity – the hope of all nations beats within the hearts of their peoples.
An Appeal to Leaders in the Arab World:
The people are awakening and The Association of British Muslims appeals to you, to evolve and reform the people’s political systems, to make them more representative of the peoples’ desires.
High unemployment, the current economic crisis, misuse of religion and politics as well as terrorism, is creating anger and hurt in Muslim nations and the wider world.
Let us ask ourselves why the Arab or Muslim world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development or why scientific inquiry is nearly dead in the Islamic world.
Let us ask ourselves where is our Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Yale?
Let us not shy away from openness and transparency – let us free our peoples to explore their potentials as human beings, with full human rights and the dignity that the Last Prophet of Allah himself taught us.
People when they are enslaved by restrictions in their nations, become emboldened by any glimmer of hope and in Tunisia and now in Egypt – hope is being replaced by action by the people and this will increase pressure in other nations where people – especially young people feel they are being denied basic human rights and freedom of expression.
The knee-jerk response maybe to limit or ban the internet, as if that will control the flow of information. This will be resisted not just within the nations affected but by people everywhere – the people of Tunisia were not alone in their desire for more openness and neither are the Egyptian people.
Grassroots efforts of individuals and groups who desire a say in their futures, are growing in confidence and are attracting people from all backgrounds to their banners for change – most of these people have usually been averse to political outcry.
The Association of British Muslims is appealing to whoever this message reaches, whoever maybe reading this online on facebook, twitter or other sites – to spread the word and let’s wake up and take charge of our own destinies. The Future lies within our own hands – this is the 21st Century and we dare to live in the 21st Century!
We close this with a quote from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) The Seal of The Prophets:
“Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods but from a contented mind.”
Mohammed Abbasi, Director
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Director
Dan Littauer, Human Rights and Press Director
The Association of British Muslims