Salamun Aalykum Hicham
I am in South Africa, Cape Town. The 'ulama' still reigns strong in this part of the woods. Dogmatism is rife and people refuse to use their intellect. The other day on the Muslim radio station they had this debate about the shia sect whether it's in or out of the so-called fold of Islam. It was so sad that the majority of people would not hesitate to burn down the houses of the Shia followers. Even the presenter was threatened for allowing such a debate. The local clergy has even established a committee to rid the so-called shias from society. And included in their mandate to erradicate is the so-called "other deviant" beliefs such as the Quraniyoon as they term it. In fact one of my friends who is also part of the clergy structure, but that does not know about me told me that they the clergy were instructed to watch out for the "Quraniyoon" as they pose a bigger threat than the Ahmediyas, Bahais and Shias combined.
My dear Hicham, it was not difficult to return to the Quran. I have been searching and analysing in my mind to try and rationalize the irrationalities that I grew up with. And when I stumbled onto this great site of our dear Dr, I took to it like a duck to water.
However, we are aware of the tremenduous challenges we face by the clergy, our family and our friends. But we have established our own family in the guise of the South African Quranic Conference. We had one in August in Johannesburg and what a wonderful period that was to be with people that love the Quran. That weekend spent with our Quranic family gave us an inkling how it must have felt to live in the newly established state of Medina where the Quranic guidance is the only guidance.
Our Quranic family is growing steadily to the extend that we have groups in most of the provinces in South Africa. In otherwords, due to the hard work of some great people here we are making strides as a unit to the extend that our next conference is scheduled for March 2010. We are inviting all that can make it to these shores. Unfortunately our dear Dr cannot make it as most delegates voted to invite the Dr.
Brother Hicham, its not an easy road. But please persevere with the Quran. And like Dr Shabbir has said, do not debate or confront. We have learnt this lesson the hard way.
Go well my brother and keep us informed.