Mainstream Islam needed to defeat extremism

15 Nov 2015

Events at Paris on Friday once again remind us of the callousness with which a few people can blight what is an otherwise peaceful religion followed and practiced by more than a billion people worldwide.

 

On Friday, in what was clearly a spate coordinated attacks, more than a hundred innocent people lost their lives when gunmen loyal to ISIS went on a killing spree.

 

The people who were killed were all ordinary people who were getting on with their lives.

 

What happened in Paris is tragically becoming more and more familiar.

 

The previous night, a similar incident happened in Beirut, Lebanon, when a high number of people also lost their lives in what was also a coordinated killing spree.

 

The tragedy in Paris is the second major such attack on the capital of rance following a similar one in February where media workers of a publication were almost wiped out because the magazine had at the time, killers said they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad.

 

Paris and France do not deserve what is happening there.

 

To put this into context, Paris is a huge city - metropolitan in outlook and accommodative of all races, religions and cultures.

 

In fact France hosts the largest Muslim population in Europe, a majority of who were born inside France.

 

By far a great majority of Muslims do not understand much less condone the killings that are done in the name of their religion.

 

It is also worth pointing out that by the greatest number of terrorism victims are Muslim.

 

What is needed is the majority to start talking forcefully that all these acts of grotesque do not represent them and that such actions are not only alien but also an aberration to the religion.

 

Such a great religion cannot be allowed to be hijacked by a tiny minority.

 

We need leaders of the mainstream Islam to speak out publicly against what is by all accounts a contamination of a religion that stands for peace.

 

For far too long the mainstream Muslims have allowed their religion to be defined by people who are only tainting it.

 

The time is now for the true Muslims to take their religion back and teach the rest of us who are not Muslims just what Islam is all about.

 

Allowing a small band of hotheaded fanatics to continue being the ones who set the tone of what Islam is unsustainable.

 

It puts off a majority of people from not just understanding Islam but also potentially converting to it.

 

Islam should be defined by the majority of people who practice.

 

These are the people who do not condone the carnage that happened on Friday night in Paris.

 

These are the people who do not condone the carnage that happened in Beirut on Thursday.

 

They are also the people who are totally against the gunslingers calling themselves ISIS who terrorise the majority of Syrians and Iraqis.

 

To defeat terrorism the world needs to support mainstream Muslims to reclaim their religion.

 

Reclaiming Islam can however only happen if mainstream Muslims do not recoil into silence every time a terrorist walks into a concert hall and sprays bullets on innocent people as it happened in Paris on Friday.

 

Reclaiming Islam cannot happen if moderate leaders of the religion do not resort to silence every time fanatics kill ordinary citizens in the streets of Beirut.

 

Reclaim this great religion can only be achieved if Muslims everywhere speak out against such acts of terror.

 

The strategy should be to isolate and render irrelevant the killers who want to drag the name of Islam into their warped ideologies.

 

To defeat terrorism, mainstream Muslims have to be much more active as spokespersons of their religion than they currently are.

 

More importantly, they have to speak out when the name of their religion is being used to kidnap and rape young school girls as it happened in Nigeria.

 

All they need to say is to tell the world, proudly and forcefully that those who do such acts are not Muslims. That those who do such acts are going the basic tenets of Islam!