Originally Published in Patheos
In 2016, we witnessed an unprecedented level of violence against citizens. Men and women who have sworn to defend the community during day and night as well as adverse weather conditions tragically lost their lives in the line of duty. At unprecedented rates, civilians with no training or possession of firearms lost their lives at the hands of some law enforcement personnel. These unfortunate developments set of chains of violent demonstrations across the country and soul searching especially, in the minority black community, which has tragically borne the brunt of some these incidences.
The vicious cycle of violence and mistrust between minority community and our law enforcement personnel are well documented. It begs the question as to whether there will be ever be a solution to this problem. The solution however lies in the true teachings of Islam. For instance, anarchy in society is particularly frowned upon and thus the Holy Quran chapter 4:60 categorically state that O ye who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger and those who are in authority among you. In addition, Prophet Mohammad demonstrated while in Mecca that no matter how small (130 believers) and how long (13 years of persecution) your predicament might last, obeying those in power and not retaliating is the best way to prevent anarchy in society. A minority group in the community might feel aggrieved against some actions of law enforcement agencies, however the beautiful teaching of Islam, when acted upon, will prevent someone from engaging in violent demonstrations or retaliations which often result in loss of lives and properties in the community.
The above Islamic teaching may sound strange or difficult to comprehend to some people but let’s cast our mind back to the era of Apartheid in South Africa some decades ago. Was it due to violent demonstration or the peaceful submission to authorities by Nelson Mandela that brought down the apartheid? What about the success of our own Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s? As we are about to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr day it is important that we reflect upon his nonviolent movement that resulted in civil right liberties we are currently enjoying to foster peace and harmony in our current mistrust society. We have a long way to go, yes, but Dr. King brought us a long way as well.
Readers should also take note of the fact that, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is facing religious persecution in places like Pakistan for more than 40 years. Yet the community has abided by the true Islamic teaching of nonviolence toward authorities. The result is that it has enabled the community to spread to more than 209 nations, has become a leading voice in speaking against terrorism in any form, and are fully engaged serving humanity through countless schools, hospitals, and social welfare programs per the true teaching of Islam.
What we witnessed last year across the country represents a dark spot in our nation’s history. It should not continue in this new year. The examples I have given should make us come to a realization that there are definitely solutions to this chronic problem if we recognize the proven model of peace that Prophet Muhammad showed to all humanity.