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Feed Them Against Hunger…And May God Protect Them! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In Gaza, men cannot walk along the beach bare-chested, shop owners are requested to hide mannequins, summer camps for children are being discouraged based on the pretext of free mixing between the sexes, and cafes and Christian symbols are being targeted. In fact it has reached such a level that an explosion went off at a wedding party based on the claim that music is haram [prohibited in Islam].

In Iraq – where the government is boasting democracy “of which the neighbouring countries are jealous” in the words of some Iraqis who visited Washington recently – the government is seeking to tighten control of the internet and to censor books in order to protect society.

In Sudan – which escaped one crisis only to enter another – there has been major uproar for the sake of protecting Islamic morals. The matter reached the level of confrontation and clashes and all because a female journalist wore a pair of trousers!

This all took place, of course, in the name of religion and the protection of society in three different parts of our Islamic world where people are already suffering a great deal from poverty, crime and violence, and political crises that threatens each country and its people.

The war of virtue raged in the face of the Gazan people, a large number of whom live in unenclosed areas without shelter, and yet their men are demanded in the morning not to walk bare-chested along the beach in order to protect the religion and Islamic values. Such values should have been protected the day Hamas broke the vow it made in front of the Kaaba!

As for Iraq, despite the fact that the country is facing numerous problems from terrorism and sectarianism, to the destruction caused by drought and the threat of its entire agriculture, let alone the fact that electricity generation in Iraq is at risk of being stopped, the government decided it would spend money on imposing censorship of the internet and returning to the culture of Saddam Hussein’s era rather than supporting the culture of the constitution and democracy, in which there are freedoms and creativity.

In the case of Sudan, it is already threatened by division, and is experiencing very difficult challenges, and the matter has gone so far that the Khartoum government is begging the Americans to lift the sanctions imposed on it. Instead of confronting those challenges and making life easier for its people, the battle [Sudan is engaging in] today is targeting citizens based on the pretext of imposing Islamic morals.

These are issues we only see in our Arab world, and this is what concerns us today, as people are being oppressed and are being denied security and a dignified life, and yet are demanded to protect morals and values. This is not right; security, stability and morality come as part of a set package that is indivisible.

The role of the government – any government – can be summarized in the following Quranic verse: ‘Feed them against hunger, and give them security against fear.’ If man finds dignity, security and a good education of course, then he himself will become the protector of morals and values, and he will be the one to develop this protection, not only in his own country but in any place that he lives.

If societies become secure and educated and have something to fear for, i.e. security and dignified lives, then they will strive towards doing their best to preserve those gains, and morals and values. Therefore the role of the government is to improve administration for the sake of providing security and a dignified life, not to interfere in people’s private lives under any pretext.

For that reason we say: feed them against hunger…and may God protect them!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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