Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir says Prime Minister John Howard should become a Muslim if he wants to avoid going to hell.
The cleric was speaking after his release from a Jakarta prison where he had been serving a sentence related to the 2002 Bali bombings.
While holding a late night press conference in his Ngruki religious boarding school, Abu Bakar Bashir was asked by the ABC if he had a message for Mr Howard when the Prime Minister visits Indonesia later this month.
“I think John Howard should convert to Islam,” he said.
“If he wants to be saved from hell, he needs to convert to Islam and God willing, he will be forgiven by Allah.”
There speaks the voice of unreason.
Fortunately his voice is not all of Indonesian Islam, and I pray the Lord of the Universe turns Muslims away from voices like Bashir’s.
Look instead at The Wahid Institute just for a start. So too should Australian non-Muslims who may be seduced into an excess of Islamophobia by the likes of Bashir. The evil that he and his like engender far outweighs any good their fans can adduce in their favour. Bigots are like that — enemies of peace and of humanity, blind to the consequences of narrow fanaticism. And I mean ALL bigots including “Christian” ones, not just bigoted Muslims — or equally bigoted Jews or Hindus.
I suspect if there is a literal hell Bashir will find out what it is like from experience at some time in the future. And perhaps all he needs to do to avoid that is to become a rather better Muslim than he is at this point.
By their fruits you may know them.
I recommend to all, whatever your religious views, to temper your certainties — pathetic and inadequate as they always are — with a liberal dose of sites like Butterflies and Wheels, which I added to my links yesterday. See also almost any of the sites I include under Faith and Philosophy. The lust for certainty is the plague of our postmodern times. It is literally deadly. As Amin Maalouf so rightly argues.