I remembered something strange in the novel ‘The country of Blind’ by Herbert George Wells which I wrote about earlier when I listened to the propaganda of a preacher who severely criticized the West from the heart of Switzerland as if he was addressing the ignorant and the dumb and the deaf.
The poor preacher said he had read in one of the newspapers that the Swiss authorities had fined a person just because he said ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ (God is Greatest) while greeting one of his friends in the middle of a street. He added, this is evidence that there is a lack of freedom of religion in Western countries and at the same time ridiculed believers like us when we talked about tolerance and secularism of the West, coexistence of cultures and religions and all such rosy ideal dreams which are not there, according to his viewpoint.
Here, I say only the naïve, perhaps those who are stupid will believe in such preachers. How can we understand what he claims while he is standing in the middle of a street in the most important city, and shout Allah-u-Akbar several times while giving his speech, without fear of being punished, while he knows that there are four large mosques in Zurich alone, where God is Greatest is repeated many times a day.?
It was not surprising that one of the former fans of this preacher came out to answer the exaggerations of this “poor” preacher after he had read the news in the Swiss newspaper to discover that he was telling half the truth, and what he said was a lie.
The newspaper mentioned that an argument erupted between two people, both were shouting at the top of their voices in the middle of a street, which caused the inconvenience of others, so police fined one of them not because he mentioned ‘God is Greatest’.
The activist Abdullah Al-Hamdan continued saying: “The exaggeration of this poor preacher over the past 20 years that there is no freedom of belief in Europe contradicts all his actions. He is currently there to promote Islam and visits the universities to give lectures and advocate Islam. How does this agree with what he claims? Why has not he been subjected to any maltreatment if what he said is true that there is no freedom of religion? Al-Hamdan wondered what would happen, if an Arab Christian, for example, stood in the middle of The Avenues chanting slogans promoting Christianity, would he be left without being punished.
Al-Hamdan asked a direct question to the poor preacher about his position if a Christian scholar asked him to allow him to give a lecture at the University of Kuwait about the virtues of Christianity, will he allow him to do so.
It is strange that these people think that we are ignorant and live in the Country of the Blind, and do not see all these phenomena and manifestations that clearly indicate the extent of tolerance and humanity of the West, and deep faith in secularism, and here we speak in general, and we have nothing to do with the ridiculous individual acts of some parties.
The spirit of Western constitutions that guarantee human rights drives millions of immigrants, from different backgrounds and beliefs to do their best to reach the Western coasts which are safe havens.
Neither China nor India or all East Asian or South America or any other country can compete with the West when it comes to freedoms and subtle treatment of others. If this poor preacher was unaware of this fact and believed in it, he would not go to their homes to insult them and humiliate their beliefs, while he knows very well that he will return to his homeland safe.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf