On Faith: Support for revolution in Middle East

February 26, 2011|By Fatma Saleh

Muslims worldwide are closely watching the sweeping developments in the Middle East.

What is happening across the region is not a Muslim revolution. It is a people's revolution.

It includes Muslims and Christians. They are demanding liberation, democracy, human rights and the pursuit of prosperity within their respective countries. All conscience-minded people — especially we Americans — are empathetic with nations struggling for human liberty, dignity and democracy.

Tahrir Square became the epicenter of liberation.

Supporters from around the globe hailed and shouted for the Egyptian demonstrators as they peacefully gathered from Cairo to Alexandria. For days, the world camped vigilant by the TV and Internet, waiting for Hosni Mubarak to relinquish his 30-year choke-hold on the people. We waited in fear and anticipation, and held out hope for the people of Egypt.


Tears rolled down our faces when victory came.

We were elated for the Egyptians on their success for freedom! For decades, they lived a life of impoverishment, stagnation, intimidation, and murder by their government. They challenged the "stability" of their nation by leaving their work, schools, and homes and assembled peacefully in the streets, armed only with banners demanding human liberty, dignity, democracy, and a better life.

The power of the people brought Pharaoh down from his palace.

From Tunisia and Egypt to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen and Libya, the people have spoken. They want change. They want liberty. They want democracy. They no longer will be silent and passive, even if it means loss of life.

Violence and death is now gripping many of the demonstrators. In Libya, the military has turned its weapons on peaceful demonstrators and Kadafi has threatened to execute civil protesters — a traditional tactic often used by such iron-fisted rulers to suppress the people. We hold our breath and pray for the safety and victory of the peaceful demonstrators.

The people of the Middle East have suffered enough. The region has seen too much imperialism, colonialism, foreign influence, and repressive autocrats. The people are tired of treading in a cesspool of corruption while officials and royals squander their countries' riches.

Like a wildfire, a revolution is engulfing the Middle East. We pray for and support the peaceful demonstrators as they collectively voice an end to oppressive and repressive dictators. The time has come for such rulers to concede to the will of the people.

As the tectonic plates shift in the Middle East from oppressive regimes toward self-governing states, it will be interesting to witness how democracy will emerge in the Arab world. Initially, it will take some time for stability to be reinstated and for reform to flourish, but within time, Arabs in region will find the fundamentals of democracy to be conducive to their religious beliefs and traditional values.

FATMA SALEH is a board member with the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa.

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