This article is a response to a piece published earlier in The Friday Times by Huzaima Bukhari, To Say Or Not To Say!
"If You See Something, Say Something" is what all Americans have been advised by the Department of Homeland Security, in order to help stop a potential security threat being made, a terrorist act being planned, harm being done, or crime being committed on our soil. This is not only advice, but also a reminder of our societal norm, which is to call out a person who is trying to commit or has committed an unethical, immoral, or illegal act that may cause harm of any kind, and/or to alert authorities by calling 911 to report this act. As such, it is normal for us to call 911 if a scream or cry is heard from the next door as a scream or cry often awakens empathy of caring and conscientious people.
Similarly, if our police and the police of most countries see something suspicious, they too quickly say to one another that there is some suspicious activity going on - let's go and pursue this to find out what is going on. Also, ignoring or not reporting a witnessed illegal act being committed by someone is a crime in some states in the US.
In Islamic countries, Muslim politicians or government officials, most of whom seem to be Islamic supremacists often anecdotally boast that as compared to the West, Islamic countries have a much lower number of reported acts of domestic violence by parents or siblings, spousal abuse, marital rape, child abuse, worker abuse, child molestation, sexual assault, unwanted sexual advances, stalking, workplace harassment, incest, or any other unthinkable horrible or harmful act. The keyword here is “reported”, which may make their boast believable and give a sense of safety to a Western foreigner who wants to visit or live in an Islamic country.
However, the reality may be much different, as many such horrible or harmful acts may go unreported due to a highly-touted Islamic tradition of sin concealment that is found in Sahih Hadith Sunan Ibn Majah 3:20:2544, which says, “It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever covers (the sin of) a Muslim, Allah will cover him (his sin) in this world and in the Hereafter.”
So, to cleverly reap the benefit of exoneration of their own past, planned or future sin, a devout Muslim, while contradicting the conscience, not only staunchly believes in this Hadith, but also fully follows it whenever they witness a sin being committed by someone regardless of whether the sin is minor or major, as the Hadith does not elaborate on sin or its type. The Hadith seems to cover any sin.
Based on the Hadith above, a wonderful Pakistani friend wrote an informative, insightful, and intriguing op-ed, which seemed to have virtually come from the pages of the playbook of dissimulative and clever Islamic scholars in the West, who seem to have an ulterior motive and are probably financially backed by rich and powerful hidden hands. These clever Islamic scholars positively portray Islam, while sugarcoating the violence and vulgarity against non-Muslims by cherry-picking or quoting incomplete or out-of-context Quranic verses or Hadiths; and they exhaustively argue with mental gymnastics and numerous examples, often unrelated, in order to try to defend Islam’s certain aspects that are found to clearly contradict the modern social or natural sciences, modern moralities or ethics, or the laws in the West.
The op-ed seemed to try to unbelievably brainwash the readers by giving many examples with a lot of mental gymnastics to justify the Hadith-based concealment of a sin (harmful or criminal act) in the disguise of saying that we are imperfect humans and that there's a difference between sin and fault, which is not true. In religion, sin is a fault. Both words are interchangeable. And sin is a sin whether it is minor or major. Sin (fault) may be forgiven by the deity after religiously ritual repentance. Also, it must be noted that flaws cause faults. For example, a fault of a car that suddenly breaks down or causes an accident is often due to its design flaws.
Similarly, people with unacceptable flaws are often dangerous as they, whether provoked or unprovoked, can commit a fault or sin that is harmful to themselves or others, and can continue to cause harm if their fault is hidden by themselves or others. Lies are also faults, which may cause physical or financial harm to someone or a loss of opportunity in business or career for someone, or a negative impact on someone’s freedom or property, especially when a witness lies in court. So, the faults that cause harm must not be overlooked.
Hence, contrary to the op-ed, the fault must be disclosed, acknowledged, discussed, dealt with, and compensated first by the person found to be at fault; and then rehabilitation including guidance can take place for the purpose of redemption.
Also, contrary to the op-ed, publicizing the flaws or drawbacks helps learn about the harms that the flaws may cause, so as to warn people who may have or encounter the same situation. That is what all the human rights watchdog agencies do in modern civilization. One can be considerate to human flaws, but one must not be considerate to human faults that cause harm and that as such, must be disclosed (not concealed) in order to bring the person who is allegedly at fault, to justice.
Moreover, contrary to the op-ed, airing evil doesn't spread evil either. A good person doesn't become an evil person just from hearing about an evil act. This twisted logic about hearing evil is also found in the playbook of the Islamic scholars. But an evil person will always do evil acts sooner or later depending upon when the evil path they learn or when the opportunity arrives. For example, an evil-minded person who is politically or financially weak may constantly complain, curse, or denigrate people who are disrespectful or don’t believe them, but after becoming rich and powerful, this person will certainly take revenge and do evil acts to harm these people. Histories of various religions are full of such personalities. Refer to the six Sahih Hadiths (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and the four other Sahih Hadiths) and Sirat-ul-Rasool.
It's very unfortunate that probably due to a staunch religious belief or a strong personal bias that often obstructs objectivity, the op-ed seemed to have shoved all the long-learned modern social science teachings, including modern civic values, moralities, and ethics down the toilet just to defend the practices of misguided Muslims who, for personal expedience, often misuse or abuse the medieval teachings of Islam, such as the Hadith about concealing sin, which, as mentioned above, rewards in the world and Hereafter the concealer of other person's sin, and which, as mentioned above, covers all sins in Islam as it doesn't elaborate on sin.
Again, conscientiously and empathetically speaking, it is simply wrong to hide a bad or evil act of an abuser. Doing so will definitely encourage the abuser to continue victimization. Once an abuser, often always an abuser. People who abuse others often have an anger issue, which is a psychological problem, and which requires therapy, not hiding the abuse.