State-run religious oppression – Saudi Arabia’s war against God

SHAFAQNA – If Saudi Arabia has long toed the line of religious oppression to placate an ever-more ‘demanding’ clergy, the kingdom’s campaign to disappear, that, which Islam holds dearest by way of memory, cultural, and religious heritage has gone unanswered for far too long.

Should we dare fall silent before the plundering of our collective patrimoine, should we allow for our treasures to be defiled, denied, and altogether made to be forgotten, we would become the actors of our own demise. And though my words may sound harsh … and I admit that they are, it is because ultimately we are failing in upholding that which was entrusted to us.

Islam is more than a faith, or even a way of life – Islam is the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad’s legacy, it is the sum of the courage, wisdom, and compassion his progeny imparted onto us so that we may find guidance.

If we cannot bring ourselves to defend, even if only in words, that heritage, how can we claim ourselves to be the Shia of Ali? Especially when we consider that at no point, and regardless of the difficulties put in their path, did our Imams falter in their defense of Islam.

To honour our past is to keep the memories of what was alive; to remember is to offer context to our understanding of the Scriptures. To divorce Islam’s message from its context, to conceptualise Islam’s legal system divorced from the socio-political thought is ultimately promoted, is to divert from the Word.

How many of our laws have been robbed of their essence so that they could serve men of power’s hunger for control, or a dishonest clergy’s narcissism?

Our Scriptures are now used as weapons to justify sectarianism as the stones of our History lay  in ruins.

There is a parallel to consider in a system’s proclivity to rob Islam of its words through systemic mistranslation and the raiding of Islam’s monuments. It is Knowledge ultimately such a system seeks to erase so that its paradigm could rule unchallenged.

Saudi Arabia’s latest attack on Al Baqee Cemetery is nothing short than an act of genocide.

With 95 percent of Medina and Mecca’s sold to the kingdom’s bulldozers and urban remapping, Al Baqee sits more precious as it is the last of our memories.

By shielding pilgrims’s view Saudi Arabia wishes to cut off a faith and a people from what they hold most precious.

With millions heading to the Kingdom to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, maybe we ought to consider the price of our collective silence.

To reject oppression is not to deny unity and peace but rather ensure that such principles are indeed uphold.

By Catherine Shakdam – The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect that of Shafaqna.

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