Two weeks ago, my eldest son, Kamran, who is in fourth grade, went to the principal of _Baggett Elementary_ and requested permission to pray in school. Dr. Robinson immediately agreed. While Kamran is only 9, each day, he makes sure he has a prayer rug and cap. He even knew the new prayer time before I did when the time changed, which surprised me.
Kamran gets his younger brother from first grade and they pray Zuhr together in an empty classroom. Believe it or not, the youngest one cries if his brother does not fetch him, which I find touching. At home, it is at least a 10-minute exercise, trying to get everyone away from the TV, washed up and lined up for prayers. Sometimes, it would even try the patience of a saint.
"Although we have separation of church and state," Dr. Crowe, the previous principal of Baggett once told me, "all students have the freedom to pray in school." As Muslims, we believe that doing five separate prayers is better than combining them into three. Asking our son to take responsibility for his own prayers is a big step. This morning, I had to laugh when I heard Kamran inform Jari-Ahmad that there would be no prayers at school today because of the shortened day.
I appreciate this freedom of religion, because others are less fortunate.
Asia Bibi, for example, is a Christian who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan under the blasphemy law. This law, under Section 295C, states that: “Use of derogatory remarks... in respect of the Holy Prophet…shall be punished with death.” (www.alislam.org) While there are disagreements about what she actually said, I do not believe the words are the issue, because The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, was called a liar and even had garbage dumped on his head, but he did not hurt anyone who insulted him, which means these charges are pure fabrication.
Sadly, blasphemy laws once existed in Christianity, as well: “All blasphemies against God, including denying His being or providence, all ... reproaches of Jesus Christ, all profane scoffing at the Holy Scriptures, and exposing any part thereof to contempt or ridicule, were punishable by ... death, imprisonment, corporal punishment and fine.” (wiki) As a result of this law, the Church of England was free to persecute all atheists. Thank God that time is history!
As an Ahmadi-Muslim, I believe in the Quran, which says: “We (God) will certainly suffice thee against those who mock,” (15:96) which means that He will avenge those who mock prophets of God. It is not man’s business to decide who has blasphemed.
Three weeks ago, my husband, Tony Khan, traveled to Washington to ask U.S. Sen. Phil Gingrey and Georgia’s congressmen to help change this law.
Please help Asia Bibi. She is in a windowless cell. Get your church involved. Telephone U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Rep. Gingrey to ask the Pakistani government to save Asia Bibi.
America has donated thousands of dollars to Pakistan. It is time Pakistan did something for America.