Charles Moore, columnist for The Daily Telegraph, last week asked 'Where is the Gandhi of Islam'? One might as well ask where is the Gandhi of Europe or the US or Africa or China. But no, Moore only makes demands of 'Islam'. Here is Yakoub Islam's response in a letter which they, not surprisingly, decided not to publish (reproduced with permission):
Charles Moore asks, "Where is the Gandhi of Islam?" (Telegraph Opinion, 09 07 05). That's an easy question to answer - he was one of Ghandi's closest friends, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988), better known as Badshah Khan, who remains a highly regarded figure within organisations such as the Muslim Peace Fellowship and throughout the Muslim ummah (community).
Khan, a devout Muslim and a member of the warrior Pathan tribe of Afghanistan, was instrumental in raising what was perhaps the first non-violent army in human history - the Khudai Khidmatgars. Seeking to free his people from British imperial rule, he persuaded 100,000 of his country folk to lay down their guns and agree to fight non-violently.
Like Ghandi, Khan believed political independence and social progress were two inseparable battles. Khan opened schools and brought the women out of their homes and into wider society, and his non-violent soldiers each undertook at least two hours social work every day.
Next time Mr Moore has a question about Islam, might I suggest he ask a Muslim before trying to answer it himself.
Yunus Yakoub Islam
Yusuf Smith also debunks Moore's rant.