September 23, 2005

The problem isn't Islam, it's the extremist Muslims

Excerpts from a good article, touching on some of the topics that Lost Budgie and I were discussing earlier in the week. By Nancy El-Gindy.


"Why is it that Islam is always brought into question when a small minority of Muslims actually commits crimes of aggression? Why is it assumed that Islam itself is actually driving these murderers to such levels of hatred and ignorance? Islamic terrorism has no roots in the religion itself; rather it grows out of individuals' own interpretation of it, personal intolerance and hate, and in some cases, perhaps even insanity."

...

"If enough people read the teachings of Islam they would understand that it promotes tolerance, patience, kindness and understanding toward both Muslims and non-Muslims. The killing of innocents has been and always will be a major sin, as in any other religion or belief system. Some religious leaders, however, take liberties in interpreting certain verses of the Koran or sayings of the Prophet Mohammad, taking them out of context to suit their own political agendas, and sometimes managing to brainwash others with false promises of paradise in the afterlife. Islam itself does not sponsor or condone the terrorist acts of Muslims, and thus should not be held responsible for them.

"Islam is not uncivilized, outdated or intolerant; it is people who promote radical, unconventional beliefs and practices of Islam. Reforming Islam itself is not going to solve the problem of terrorism perpetrated by extremists, because no matter how much theology and doctrine change, people themselves probably will not. Reinterpreting holy texts would fail, first because of the widespread and strong opposition it would receive, and second because extremists will always manage to find something in the texts of Islam that they can twist to fit their agendas.

"Unfortunately, it seems that in all societies there exists a minority of narrow-minded fanatics. For example, Christianity is widely seen as a moderate religion which promotes peace, and is what it is today because of many periods of reformation, schism, and soul-searching. However, there are still groups of people all over the world who promote extreme views in its name, for instance the once powerful Ku Klux Klan, a self-proclaimed Christian organization. What changed was not the religion, nor interpretations of core religious texts; rather, popular support for the organization eroded as the hearts and minds of the population at large turned against bigotry and discrimination of all kinds, thanks in large part to the civil rights movement in the United States.

"Mindsets are the problem, not what is written in Islam's holy texts. Altering this state of mind should be the focus of intellectual efforts to end terrorism, not modifying or reforming Islam.

"What gives rise then, to this unfortunate and misplaced perception? Simple lack of knowledge about Islam. There is a vital need to raise the awareness in Western countries on some simple facts about Islam. The states of the Middle East and the Muslim world should do much more in terms of public diplomacy. Their current utter lack of the most basic public relations skills is one of the biggest reasons the teachings of Islam are hardly known, much less properly understood, in the West. Western journalists and analysts often know no more than their audiences, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to put events in the Middle East and acts of terrorism in their proper context.

"Credible intellectual and religious figures should also make more efforts to reach out to national and local media in the West. Scholars, sheikhs and other religious figures should swallow their pride and pay special attention to more conservative media outlets such as the Fox News Network, often criticized for its bias, to reach those sectors of the American population that tend to be unthinkingly anti-Islam. They will need to have a strong grounding in Western history and politics so they can help define for Western audiences the difference between Islamic principles on the one hand, and the actions of a few on the other, in terms they will understand. And they should not let Westerners forget that dangerous, extremist movements claiming to draw on religion have existed in the West as well."

4 comments:

Lost Budgie said...

Hi JD

Where to start? Where to start?

"Islamic terrorism has no roots in the religion itself; rather it grows out of individuals' own interpretation of it, personal intolerance and hate, and in some cases, perhaps even insanity."

OK. Why is it that such a large percentage of people who profess to be Muslims end up committing violence which they say is to the glory of their religion?

AND... JD... You still haven't answered my question posed during our last discussion about Islamic violence - which was...

"You may not believe that Muslim apostates should be put to death - but many have been put to death, and there is much support for this position amongst various Islamic scholars, some of whom are highly regarded by many.

My point remains - significant numbers of Muslims, in the millions, believe in death to apostates. Millions also believe in death to infidels.

They say they believe this and they provide religious arguments in support. Many also go further and commit acts of violence.

Were the men who cut throats of the flight crews and murdered so many on 9/11 justified by Islam? Did Allah smile upon them? Are they true Islamic martyrs or monsters?

Should Muslim converts to other religions be murdered?

As a Muslim, what is your belief regarding these two specific types of killings, JD?"


Frankly, I can't get an unequivocal answer from any Muslim renouncing violence. They always seem to hide behind the word "innocents"... which they never define in the same answer.

When pressed, many Muslims have answered that, for instance, a 15 year old girl killed in a cafe bombing in Israel was not an "innocent" because she was an Israeli. Other Muslims have said that the Americans murdered on 9/11 were not "innocents" because they were Americans.

So...

Were those people on the airliners in 9/11 innocents? Many Muslims don't think so and celebrated in the streets.

But JD - what do YOU think?

Shaik Abdul Khafid said...

You're Singaporean??? Lol. So am I!

Nancy E. said...

Hello, i just wanted to reply to this comment.

First of all, just because these people are "Muslim" does not mean they are acting violently because their religion instructs them to. Just like the article stated (which i wrote) people interpret things wrongly from religion and apply it wrongly. Just like in Christianity and Judaism...so many sects and views exist...does thatwe should blame Judaism itself for the acts of some crazy extremist Israelis (that are religious, not nationalists).

I dont know what Muslims you are talking to ..but i have not met one that believes that 9/11, 7/7, and all the other violent acts such as in Egypt in Sharm Sheikh was Islamically correct (and i live in Egypt by the way...an Islamic country and the home of the Muslim Brotherhood). They were innocent..and that is why it is illegitimate (and yeah im Muslim..so you can count that you heard ONE Muslim rejecting the violence). There is no Jihad (a concept that does NOT mean holy war..it means to strive for something...the concept of holy war or 'just war' was created in Christian Europe..not in the Islamic world--theres no basis of holy war in Islam--Jihad only comes out to be war when there is a direct threat to the life of Muslim and Muslims are not able to actually practice thier religion...which does not exist now in any area where the people are calling for jihad).

Most Islamic scholars totally reject any call for jihad..because the people that are actually calling for it are not in a position to do so to begin with and now in modern days we have armies to fight in behalf of people. So the whole thing is different now. Some stupid people dont see this. most people right now that are commiting these crimes are politically oriented...their acts grow out of political problems and so they become insurgents which is in essence political. They use religion to rally people and gain support..and brainwash people as well. The people that are actually led to do these things are most uneducated and totally brainwashed. They should be asking themselves why their leaders arent becoming martyers if its so noble. These leaders profit from this, from their followers..its very strategic.

Listen to what you said...if a Muslim said that that girl who was killed was not innocent because she was ISREALI..or the 9/11 poeple were AMERICAN. That means they were talking from a political angle. Not religious. Right now the Islamic/arab world has a crisis with Israel..so if they speak of them negatively it is because of this..not because of some religious resentment. OH yeah and im sure you dont know that many of the insurgents in Palestine are Christian and the head of many organizations are Chrsitian...not only Muslim. So how is this religious? This is hidden from most media because it would break up the image of the 'Islamic terrorist'...which is totally incaccuarate.

Believe me...as a Muslim Egyptian/Canadian..i have seen both worlds and now have lived in Egypt long enough to understand how people think here. When people parade or 'celebrate' as you said about any killings of American soldiers or whatever...thats only because they feel that they have been invaded for no proper reason. And if people agreed with 9/11 it is because the U.S has been backing up Israel and assisting them financially, logistically, and militarily as they oppress the Palestinians (The U.S constantly vetoes any resolutions telling Israel to stop any illegal actions to the Palestinians which they do on a daily basis and to withdraw from the occupied territories). THAT is why some were happy...because they felt that the U.S finally got a taste of their own medicine. Because of the American arrogance that is very evident to the rest of the world.

DrMaxtor said...

I noticed the lost budgie is a nutcase christo-fascist. What a shock that is.