PUBLIC TALK CLEARS THE AIR AHEAD FOR THE FUTURE OF ISLAM
By: Dale Munatswa
Professor Taj Hargey took to the podium to set the record straight on allegations and false impressions cultured under the name of Islam at the DUT Hotel School Conference Centre on Tuesday evening.
The distinguished Oxford University academic specialist on Islam and the Middle East addressed and disregarded many inhuman activities that have been happening around the world in the name of Islam. Citing examples such as the incident in Nigeria of the School girls’ abduction by the alleged Islamic group Boko Haram, Hargey highlighted that the real Islamic religion prioritises the basic values of humanity, tolerance and inclusiveness.
Professor Hargey noted that the root of all these activities is the diversion from the true manual of the Islamic religion, the Qura’an to the Hadith. The two refer to the holy books that are used in the Islamic religion, like the Bible in Christianity. According to Hargey, the latter was written based on man-made advice and opinions, and alleged sayings of Prophet Muhammad, while the previous is the true message from God.
The atmosphere of the conference room became intense as Hargey discarded and disregarded the practises done by Muslims in Durban which aid in segregating them to other people of other faiths; practices such as women wearing face masks, head scarfs (Hijab) and men with long beards. This was because the audience had a fair number of Muslims wearing these outfits. Hargey contradicted the reasons for these practises and regarded them illogical.
Hargey said, “I am sure my fellow red-blooded men in here will agree with me that, when we are attracted to a woman, we are not looking at the hair, we are busy looking at other things. Men don’t notice a woman’s hair, other women notice another woman’s hair. So if a woman’s hair is not a sexual trigger, why cover it?”
“If we do not address these issues, then our religion will turn out to be puritanical and intolerant,” he added.
The program director, Dr Rene Smith created and facilitated a platform for a question and answer session in which interaction and engagement was established. Among the questions asked was that of the role of the media in promoting a negative image on the Islamic religion. Hargey answered the question with reference to the sources of the information that goes to the media. He said that Muslims are the ones that feed the media with the negative stories and Muslims are not doing enough good to get positive publicity.
Professor Hargey was grateful to have been given an opportunity by the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to present the talk. He highlighted the great deal of resentments expressed to him by other people, organisations and places, because of his honest opinions towards the nature of the Islamic religion. He urged Muslims to use reasoning in interpreting the gospels of the Islamic religion and also to return to the Qura’an and theologically empower themselves. Thus they will be able to distinguish between culture and creed.
Vice Chancellor and Principal of DUT, Professor Ahmed Bawa was intrigued by the talk and highlighted its importance.
“I think this was the most interesting talk we have ever had at DUT, it was very interesting throughout,” said Bawa.
“The talk is an opportunity for everyone, be it engineering, arts or whatever field to learn and explore new ideas and ways of life,” he added.