Malaysiakini Letter

Ottoman Empire well-known for cruelty

John Base
Published:  |  Modified:

I refer to the letter from Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib entitled Time for moderate Muslims to start learning .

He said: 'One example is the Ottoman empire which existed after the fall of Baghdad. The empire existed for about 700 years until its fall in 1909. During the reign of the empire, it thrived in all aspects of humanity including the area we call 'science and technology'.'

Far from contributing to humanity, the Ottoman Empire was well-known for its cruelty to humanity. One need not go back far into history to know this. The massacre of millions of Armenians in the early 1900s is a good enough testimony of my argument.

To criticise Dr Syed Alwi Ahmad as thinking 'inside the box' while he himself doesn't present any 'out of the box' facts and arguments has made Abdul Rahman the subject of his own critics.

All his arguments are either rhetoric - common to 'Western bashing' - or a repeat of what some Muslims like to use in their arguments - 'scholars over the last 1,400 years thought this was right'.

I find this all too common among Muslims like Abdul Rahman, who are too eager to criticise liberal Muslims as products of the 'all evil Western secular world' but fail to back up their own arguments with facts and universally accepted evidence. What evidence has Abdul Rahman to prove that Syed Alwi has been influenced by Western secular values and why is influence from the Western secular world making Syed Alwi arguments less convincing?

The main difference between Syed Alwi and Abdul Rahman is that, in my humble opinion, the former accepts differences in opinion while the latter sees differences as a threat and attacks those who dare to think differently from his polarised word, i.e. Western secular = bad, Islamic = good.

I sincerely suggest that Abdul Rahman reflect on himself and do what he wants others to do - think out of box and form his own opinion, not just parrot what scholars had said over the last 1,400 years.

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