Why I am not a Nationalist

Nationalism is the pernicious ideology that afflicts all human societies in every time period, originating in the worship of idols and reconstructing itself into many forms throughout the ages. In modern times, we know it as the specters of racism, xenophobia, and supremacism. In practice, it rears its ugly head in the shape of prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and violence. Nationalists, by contrast, reject universal standards of justice. They divide the world into the privileged in-group and the demonized out-groups, holding to the slogan “my people right or wrong.” Their love of their own people and hatred of different people causes them to rationalize and justify the unjustifiable. The method of nationalism is to issue blanket indictments of an entire race, culture, religion, or group of people. They will condemn an entire group for the crimes of a few, or misrepresent an entire group by only examining its worst elements. Differences of language, colour, cuisine and accent were meant to add flavour to life, not to be used to ridicule or fight each other. In the past couple of centuries we have seen wars between different ethnic groups on a scale unprecedented before. The rise of nationalism has resulted in bitter conflict between groups that had lived for centuries in harmony. It has set the world on fire and resulted in pandemonium. That is why we see, the purveyors of Islamophobia claim all Muslims are terrorists, the purveyors of anti-semitism claim all Jews are supremacists, and the purveyors of racism claim dark skinned people are natural criminals. In every case, the nationalists construct a false caricature of their victims to be the straw man for their vicious attacks. It would be wrong to negatively stereotype an entire religious group with all its unique individuals and diverse interpretations. Whoever the nationalists designate as the out-group will suffer prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination meant to enhance the nationalists own privilege at the expense of those they deem inferior. If we accept blanket indictments of an entire community, then we are making a claim of collective guilt that will ultimately lead to collective punishment, and collective punishment is a crime of war. Hence, nationalism is the ideological core of all militant terrorists, regardless of whether they support state terrorism or renegade terrorism.We must not construct a false caricature of other groups in order to justify oppression, blanket indictments, and collective punishment against them. Islam teaches us to reject such blanket indictments and false generalizations. It would be wrong to negatively stereotype an entire community with all its unique individuals and diverse interpretations and then excoriating the entire community. We should be more humane in our approach. And the lessons of humanity are taught not by nationalism. Thus I am not a nationalist. I believe in Humanity. Allah has commanded us to uphold justice with all other human beings regardless of their race, religion, or identity. Islam teaches us to uphold the rights of all human beings, to walk with humility, and to leave the divine judgement to Allah alone. Even our enemies deserve their basic human rights and justice. We read in Quran that,

“let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah.” [Quran 5:8].

Why should I hate people of other country whom I don’t know personally and never met them. Just because of somebody’s nationality we shouldn’t hate them. May be their Political leaders has inflicted harm upon me or my people and persecuted us but that doesn’t give legitimate reason to hate the people let alone torturing and killing them. Moreover, as religious people we cannot make divine judgements about an individual’s status with Allah, let alone make sweeping judgements about entire groups of people. There are many good and compassionate people around the globe. Love for one’s people is normal and healthy if it leads to good deeds, but such love that comes at the expense of justice is no true love at all. Even if a group of people are considered our enemies and oppressors that does not give us license to kill or harm individuals among them without a necessary just cause. Wherever we should go we should do good to people around us. Just because am Indian doesn’t mean that if I go to Pakistan someday I will harm few people out there. No Never!!I believe one should be human first. We should do no harm to our fellow human beings. Few Political leaders of the past drew lines on the earth that ultimately became borders which separated us from our brothers for their own gain and political interest and are now telling us to hate the other side just because they have different Flag and constitution. Fools are they who follow their political leaders and take pride of their nation. Moreover, national identity should not necessarily mean support to the State in every matter, even if it goes against the principles of justice and humanity. Citizens must try to stop their governments from indulging in violent struggles against other countries. We must take the lead in upholding justice and the natural rights of not only Muslims, but of all human beings.

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