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 Muslims..

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 form 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 Muhammed (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 Muhammed (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 Muhammed (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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