Learn more about Islam before judging

Learn more about Islam before judging
Misguided representations don’t help
by Amina Ben Ezzeddine

In light of the present events – I am referring here to the “Islamo-
Fascism Awareness Week” organized by David Horowitz – I feel it is
crucial to expose the true nature of this group’s discourse.

The terrorism awareness movement strategy is to claim theirs is a pro-
Muslim discourse at the same time as anti-terrorist. They complain
they have been accused of “demonizing” Muslims and Arabs, while their
hearts actually go out to them and the whole movement is based on
creating a safe space for Americans as well as “good moderate

As opposed to what they claim, however, their attacks are more aimed
at the religion itself than those who abuse it. Indeed, their
distortion of key Muslim concepts exposes their real intentions.
Rather than just attempt to undermine radical terrorist discourses, it
is the message of peace that is at the heart of Islam they are
slandering. For instance, the Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week website
reads that “Jihad is an expansionist totalitarian ideology that seeks
to establish a global Islamic state..

That is not true. Jihad is inner struggle, and inner struggle can take
place at the level of the individual or nation alike – as an attempt
to respectively reach spiritual fulfillment and social justice. And,
in a context of war, Jihad is mostly thought of in terms of self-
defense. Actually, the “terrorism awareness” discourse practices an
old rhetorical trick that consists of citing bits of texts out of
socio-political context. As every anachronistic reading of texts, it
is bound to generate pejorative meanings among contemporary readers.

Of course it is true that there are moderate Muslims and there are
terrorists who perform criminal actions in the name of Islam – just
like the Ku Klux Klan in America or the Irish Republican Army in
Ireland claim to pertain to branches of Christianity. However, and
again just like the Ku Klux Klan or the IRA, these terrorists
constitute an infinitely tiny amount of the population.

Interestingly, most of the information used by the “terrorism
awareness” discourse stems from original Muslim sources. For instance,
they write “the term ‘Islamo-Fascism’ was coined by Muslims in Algeria
who were attacked by religious fanatics.” While this is true, it still
does not justify their use of it. The “N word” does not have the same
connotation if uttered by a white person or a black one. There is a
political dimension to taxonomy that “terrorism awareness” discourse
eludes completely.

To my mind, however, there is no better way to counteract such
insidious rhetoric than by directly quoting the Holy Qur’an and the
Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saas). First, there can be no
expansionist politics that forces people into religion in Islam.

The Holy Qur’an reads “there is no compulsion in religion” (Surate El
Baqara, 256). The Prophet Muhammad (saas) is only a messenger of
Allah, Blessed and Exalted, whose sole task is to inform the people
(Surate El Ankabut, 50).

Second, Islam does not reject Judaism or Christianity; for a true
Muslim makes no distinction between all the messengers of Allah,
Blessed and Exalted: “We make no distinction between another of his
Messengers” (Surate El Baqara, 285). Finally, Islam is not a religion
that encourages violence; rather it strongly condemns it. For as
Muhammad (saas) explains, “In fact, God is peace” (Hadith, 3), and
“none of you is a believer until you like for others what you like for
yourself” (Hadith, 38).

Islam is a religion of peace that encourages brotherhood and modesty.
Let us then, respect the word of Allah, Blessed and Exalted, as well
as that of all of the Prophets of Allah and try and be modest and
humble in our understanding of it, as well as our respect for it.


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