We humans are torn each day by conflict, sometimes in our profession, other times in our family, sometimes in our country and in the world at large. Human beings are unique. We are driven to search for meaning of things. We want to make sense out of things and find a purpose to continue.
I believe that there is an unfathomable Being who is the Fashioner of this universe, including us. We refer to this Being as God, He, and so forth, in a futile attempt to encapsulate this Being into our extremely finite minds.
I also believe that this Being is not a dot commer. He doesn't sit around and wait to fill orders or requests. Neither does He interfere in the details of our lives. What He has done and does, to my understanding, is to establish certain rules and parameters that give each one of us a tremendous leeway on how to play the game of life.
Each one of us, according to these rules and parameters, receives a "hand" for playing the game. It really doesn't matter what kind of hand we start with, it matters how well we play the hand we are dealt. Do we enlist ourselves in the service of good and combat evil, or do we just squander away our time?
I believe that prayers are primarily for giving us comfort, for calming us down, for helping us take the steps needed to mend our ways, to do all we can to be worthy humans. Also to clear our hearts and heads from the dross of daily worldly entanglement, to help put matters in proper perspective, to live at peace with both our gifts as well as our limitations, to aid us in entertaining good thoughts, uttering good speech and doing good deeds.
When prayers are said with the above mindset, they are already answered prayers. Death is inevitable. It is the journey that invariably follows birth, sooner or later. Let us hope that we all do justice to our gift of humanness in this life and wing to the next with minimal sense of shame and shortcoming.
I believe we all have a purpose in life. We all are here for a reason and we can't leave before our time is up. We have to put in the time. Putting in the time is the right of passage, right? They asked Abdu'l-Baha, son of the founder and second leader of the Bahá'í Faith, about the idea of committing suicide or wanting to hasten one's death, since many writings praise the next life so much that some want to get on with it and get there. He said that the next life is immensely glorious. But, committing suicide and going there is like going to a magnificent banquet uninvited. I like the metaphor. Right now, we are here and must do what we must and put up with whatever comes our way, both good and not so good. So let us stay put and keep on earning the ticket.
Many people have asked me why I have put my life in harm's way by tangling with Islam and why I do what I do. Born in a Muslim family and having witnessed first-hand the horrors and indignity that Islamofascism visits on people it subjugates, I have taken it upon myself to do my part in defeating this ideology of oppression, hate and violence. Islam is wrapped in deception as a spiritual dogma or religion and is more dangerous than Nazism, Communism and Fascism.
My writings aim to help people decide if they want to rank with the Islamists or if they want to truly live as free men. The truth shall set you free, it is said, but first it will shatter the cozy, sweet world you live in.
Nowadays we hear from the non-Muslim world about the moderate version of Islam and moderate Muslims. In my view, being a Muslim and not being radical is simply not possible. Freedom lets a person make choices and be up-front about it. And that's where I part with those who would prefer to be sheep and have sheepdogs hem them in.
Many non-Muslims are obviously very well-meaning with regard to Islam, but they are also extremely naïve and ignorant of the facts. They seem to think that Islam is just another religion of love and peace and Muslims should be given full freedom to practice their religion. Do they also believe that thieves, misogynists, rapists, child-molesters and any and all manner of practicing evils should be given complete carte blanche to carry on with what they value and believe? These well-meaning poeple are just as deluded as the fanatic jihadists by refusing to acknowledge the fact that one cannot be a Muslim and not abide by the dictates of the Quran.
There is no such thing as moderate Islam. There is no such thing as secular Islam or a secular Muslim. It's the nature of the faith to deny any separation of religion and the state or religion and society. There are numerous sects within Islam. One and all are extremes and not in the least amenable to change. Keep in mind that Islam claims that it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Splits have occurred and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet, reformation has not happened in nearly 1400 years and is not going to happen. Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah's book is sealed.
There are indeed some Muslims who are moderate in the way they practice their religion. These people, for the most part, are culturally Muslims. They don't practice Islam the way it is mandated. They pick and choose. Therefore, "moderate Islam," is no Islam at all. It is not possible.
The Islamists have created fear not only in a non-Islamic world, but in the hearts and minds of those who consider themselves to be Muslims. The Islamists wage their war under the name of Islam. They receive immense direct and indirect support from the rank-and-file of ordinary Muslims. It is this passive support of so-called moderate Muslims that keeps the Islamists alive. And it is the Islamists who are intent on showing no mercy to any and all who do not share their ideology, be they Muslims or not. Millions of Iranians who were born into a faith they did not choose, a faith that was inflicted upon them by invaders of a foreign culture, a faith that forbids them to leave or revert to their pre-Islamic heritage and other Iraian religions, they remain Muslims in name only.
However, someone like the fanatic Ahmadinejad is a true Muslim who was instilled from his upbringing with Islamic superstitions, prejudices and hatreds. He was indoctrinated, from the moment of his birth, by an extensive ruthless in-power cadre of self-serving mullahs and imams who intended to maintain their stranglehold on the rank and file of the faithful-their very source of support and livelihood.
The fanatic Ahmadinejad is every bit as bloodthirsty as Hitler. Every jihadist is. But, he is not a Hitler. Not yet. He is far from having control of the Iranian State, including its armed forces. Even his popularity among the very poor is sinking for not being able to deliver what he had promised. Hence, the thing to do is to increase greatly any and all non-violent pressures on the present Islamic regime in Iran. Despite the current tug-of-war in Washington, we hope to believe people in U.S. government have studied all the possible effective actions and now it is time to put them into full effect without any delay. It is also time for the rabid self-serving Bush-bashers to start fighting the real enemy.
The majority of Iranians are against the mullahs' rule and many are staunchly pro-West and pro-America. However, a minority supports the mullahs for a variety of reasons, such as jobs, influence and simply for money. And a much smaller minority composed of the people we call the 3Fs -- fools, fanatics and frauds, do support the Mullahs. Further, the mullahs have severely dis-empowered the opposition by systematic harassing, jailing and killing.
The mullahs' days are, however, numbered and we will witness the rule of the true Iranians, the majority of whom are worthy human beings. No totalitarian rule can survive without a segment of the population, for one reason or another, supporting it. Yet, time is not on the side of the mullahs. By their mismanagement, thievery and oppression of the masses, they have created explosive internal conditions. Any significant support of the presently splintered Iranian opposition will be the tipping point-a tipping point that would assuredly topple the mullahs.
In conclusion, our best hope for humanity and civilization to survive is to firmly resist Islamofascism in all its forms. As an Iranian-American, I have experienced first-hand the Islamic tyranny as well as the blessings of liberty. I find it my solemn duty to do all I can to battle Islamofascism, the most dehumanizing active threat of our time.
Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website.