Thursday, 17 January 2008

Sea Shepherd Activists, Animals and Protests

BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Thursday 17th January 2008
Amanullah De Sondy

This week, two whaling protestors out in the Southern Ocean have either been taken into custody, or taken hostage, depending on who is telling the story. Australian and Japanese diplomats are trying to resolve this standoff. The protestors boarded the Japanese ship, to present a petition, the ships crew are then said to have tied them to their radar mast. The Japanese crew has accused the protestors of 'dangerous harassment'. The Sea Shepherd activists were there to protest against the Japanese fleets plan to kill around 900 Minke whales and 50 fin whales by mid-April, the Japanese have said this is part of a research project.

This situation has made me think about the way in which we express our beliefs. There are prophetic traditions in Islam which advise that we should firstly try to change a negative situation with our tongue, then with our hands and if even still it is not rectified then the believer must remain content in rectifying it in their heart through prayer. I have wondered to what extent a believer should move to resolve a situation with their hands? I think a protest must always be non-violent, no matter how difficult the situation, this is surely the ultimate test of faith. I believe that a violent protest of beliefs indicates a weakness in faith; surely faith brings a humane obligation to us all.

Animals must inspire the beautiful within us, keeping our beliefs and convictions in context. As a Muslim, I am inspired by prophet Muhammad's great love of cats. It is said that he would often do without his cloak if he saw that a cat was asleep on it. In the words of the Caliph Ali, "Be like a bee; anything they eat is clean, anything they drop is sweet and anything they sit upon does not break." Maybe we all need to re-evaluate and consider our animal instincts.

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