I felt that I need to write to you expressing my gratitude for your sincere solidarity, with our noble revolution. A revolution that defied the stereotypes portraying Islam as incompatible with democracy, progress and freedom.
Our revolution showed the world who is on the side of justice and democracy and who is on the side of brutality and tyranny.
American and Western support for the tyranny of Arab dictators in oppressing and brutalizing the people of the Middle East, for decades has engraved a lot of pain in our hearts and souls.
We as Arabs and Muslims are tired of being depicted by the West as anti -democratic terrorists. The whole discourse in the West about the Arab revolutionary winds of change, is centered around the welfare of Israel, as if democracy, justice and freedom for Arabs don’t matter.
There is a video that encapsulates our struggle for freedom, progress and Democracy.
The video shows a young Egyptian protester, unarmed and courageous. He is taking a stance. This is a very symbolic video. This young Egyptian protester lost his life fighting for Democracy. This young Egyptian protester lost his life fighting for a better education, for a better future, for progress and justice.
My story could be a case study representing one of many similar Egyptian stories. I had to burn myself flat out, studying 2 years in high school to be able to join a prestigious University. Places for Universities are extremely competitive, to the extent that people have to achieve 100% in high school in order to join schools of Medicine and Pharmacy. I achieved 94% and this was barely enough for me to join Engineering in the University that I wanted.
After joining University in Egypt, I had to work very hard to be able to survive an educational system that is extremely underfunded, overcrowded and overloaded with unnecessary content. Studying in the West is easier and much more pleasant, than in a corrupt education system like that which the corrupt regime established in Egypt.
Before graduation, I and a lot of my colleagues were worried about the prospects of unemployment, as the corruption of the regime has eaten through the progress and development of Egypt.
I had a lot of brilliant colleagues who felt that their Science and talents would be wasted, as the regime strangled most research programmes. They felt that they cannot use their Science and knowledge to benefit Egypt, because the regime almost persecuted Scientific research, consequently a lot of them left Egypt looking for opportunities to contribute to Science and human progress abroad. A lot of Egyptians made huge sacrifices, having to leave their homes and families and move to other countries.
They couldn’t benefit Egypt. They thought maybe they could benefit humanity.
It is very difficult to find a grant or a scholarship or to apply for a place in a University abroad, even if it is at your own expense. It is not easy to study in a foreign language. Some Egyptians abroad managed to overcome all these obstacles and became very successful Scientists, Engineers, Lawyers and Doctors.
Prophet Muhammad PBUH said “The ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr”.
Are you an excellent student? Are you the best in your class? Are you the best in your career? What have you done for Islam and humanity? Don’t you know that it is your Islamic duty to pursue Science and knowledge to benefit yourself and humanity?
Don’t you know that even if you are already studying or working, you are still required to achieve the Islamic value of Ihsan which means excellence?
Why is it important to be excellent? Because the world we live in, exponentially rewards those who are the best and disproportionately ignores those who are the mediocre.
The best two or three companies in every field, almost monopolies the global market, while the mediocre remain on the brink of being unnoticed.
If I ask you to name the 1st person in space, you will be able to answer me, but if I ask you about the 2nd person in space, you wouldn’t know.
This is the meaning of Ihsan (excellence), be the best, be the vanguard, be the leader. This is what Islam wants you to be. Are you the best, yet?
Back to the video, this young Egyptian who was shot dead, sacrificing his life for freedom and democracy, why? Because in Islam there is the principle of Shura, which means that decisions should be based on consultation with experts, not on individual opinion. Islam is against dictatorship and tyranny.The young man in the video was killed because he wanted democracy and political participation.
If you live in a democratic society, how did you use your democratic and political rights? Were you active in advocating justice and progress for Muslims and non Muslims? Did you vote against those who supported illegal invasions of other nations? Did you hold your politicians to account for their actions?
What do you think this innocent protester would have done if he had the freedom and the opportunity of education that you have? He would have definitely done a lot for Islam and for Egypt if he had your opportunities.
Don’t take Democracy, freedom and good education for granted. People sacrifice their lives for these privileges.
If you don’t live in a democratic society, when are you going to stand up for your rights?