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Open letter to Shefflorn Ballantyne

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Fri Feb 20, 2015

Dear Mr. Ballantyne,

In the Opinion column of the February 13 edition of the Searchlight newspaper, you wrote an article entitled “Muslims must speak the truth.” You have chosen a formidable topic to introduce your views: TRUTH.{{more}}

You seemingly take offence at a lack of truth on the part of Muslims in this country (and apparently the world over) when presenting their positions, views and beliefs. Yet, at the very onset, you proceed to ascribe to the words of the Qu’ran a meaning that is not there and couldn’t even be remotely interpreted to mean what you imply. You pretend that Muslims are given the right to lie about their religion by “their” God himself and then mention a verse to attempt to support your point. The verse, which you mention, but don’t quote, reads as such: “Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief, – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is the Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty.” The reason given here for “lying” is “being compelled,” as in a situation where one’s life is in jeopardy, and it clearly states lying about BELIEVING in God, His Message and His Messenger, not about the CONTENT of the belief. Why would one be given permission to lie about WHAT Islam is when EVERYONE can get this information on their own?

Your assertion is not only a mischievous attempt at distortion, it would be quite simply ridiculous as a “tactic” to deceive. Which leads to the question of YOUR intentions, motives and/or ability to tread on such terrain? When a Richard Moray, (whom you quote and carelessly qualify as a “religious expert”) or the likes of him, embark on grandiose charades to save their dying civilization and hegemonic grip on the world, I can understand their motive, for they are transparent. Jesus (PBUH) had this to say to such type: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the TRUTH, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” But when I read you, not knowing you well, I’m left to ponder. Is this a case of intellectual laziness that prompted you to simply quote someone on the assumption that HE had done due diligence in his research? Is it a case of being in awe in front of apparent degrees of diverse schools that made you assume that what he writes is IN FACT true, truthful and (or at least) written in good faith? Or do you KNOWINGLY assist in this unsavoury attempt at perpetual hegemony on the darker people of the world in the hopes of garnering for yourself a place at the table of the rich man, just as the Lazarus of the parable did?

You conclude your letter by enjoining Vincentians to except Jesus as their Saviour. If by this you mean to have this “mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” then I am also with you and say, as John does, that those who worship God “must worship him in spirit and in TRUTH.” However, your disregard for the basic principles of academia, critical thinking and simple research are NOT an example of seeking to, or being concerned with, TELLING the truth. Repeating a lie and a misinformation, peddling a rumour or allegation can be easily overlooked coming from, say, high school students. Not so easily coming from professed people of the faith. You are right and exact on one point, however. The space is neither sufficient nor appropriate for an exhaustive articulation or rebuttal. So, if you have the conviction of your point of view greater than the minimum required for letter writing, I would be more than willing to pursue this out in the open, be it on radio, television or open forum, with you (and some colleagues of yours, if you would deem it necessary). That way, Vincentians may be able to benefit from the rest of your arguments; for surely you have something somewhere beside these scarecrow-boogieman tactics and fallacious rhetoric…right?

I hope and pray that this miserable attempt at defamation was simply an oversight on your part and not a means to demonstrate your ability to defend massa’s view. But if so, there’s no love lost; we`re still family. But the time is getting closer when there will be no more room at the family reunion for Uncle Tom!

Peace be unto you.

Mikail Yusuf Muhammad

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