The shocking news of the London bombings came at time when the happiness for the Londoners was at a peak after successfully winning the bid to host the Olympic Games 2012. The attack has been termed as the worst ever attack on the British soil after the Second World War, indeed it sent shock waves throughout the world. The well-targeted attacks on the London public transport system were, without doubt aimed at the civilians generally and quite indiscriminately and innocent people irrespective of race, ethnicity, age or religion. For once, the whole nation was united in condemning these evil attacks, people from all faiths have condoned the barbaric bombings and so should now unite in a collective struggle (Jihad) against such terror and violence.
However, the unfortunate and equally unjustifiable aftermath of the attacks has been quite despicable, as the news has now spread that within one week more than ten Islamic institutions were attacked as a sickening counterattack . This is terrifying for over 2.5 million Muslims living in the UK. Why is Islam and the Muslim community once again targeted by such a backlash after this incident? This is the question in the minds of many British born youngsters. Why has the British public or an element of the British public taken the impression that the Muslim community is behind this attack and sent over 30,000 hatred emails to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)?
No sane person, cognizant of the true Islamic teachings can deny the fact that Islam is a religion of peace, harmony, love and equality. It does not allow aggression, oppression and barbarism in any case. Therefore, any such terrorist act is against the basic precepts of Islam. In spite of the explicit teachings of Islam, its concepts and dictates are often misunderstood and misinterpreted in parts of the Muslim world but more indiscriminately in the western world. Hence, a distorted picture of Islam is appearing in the minds of some the West. The situation becomes even graver when the people, ignorant of the Islamic tenets, fall prey to these misinterpreted concepts. This is detrimental to the ideological and identity of Islam and causes countless social problems for the Muslims living in the West.
The question of the minds of many people is, why is Islam being portrayed in such a manner that Western people start hating and attacking the Muslims? The following reasons cause the unrealistic portrayal of Islam, according to many analysts.
One of the reasons can be that the western world might be backed a strong Zionist lobby, which is again influenced by certain biased Western media, has unknowingly or knowingly triggered off an Islamphobic campaign. It also seems that this lobby is ready to accept Islam as a traditional religion, however does not want to see it as a growing power in the world with independent policies aiming at creating a multi-polar world. Moreover, its hierarchy may have their say in the formation of public opinion and mapping out of the internal policies.
Secondly, there is a faction in the Islamic world whose interpretations of Islam are extreme in nature. Their handling of political, social and cultural matters reflects the extremist trend in their thinking. Moreover, this extremist class believes that Islam abhors democracy and its every form is strictly forbidden. Democracy and a parliamentary system are an anathema to them. Thus the interpretations of Islam, dealing with political, democratic, cultural matters and human rights, are reflective of the extremist mindset. The same is their attitude with regard to the rights of women and the minorities. Their interpretation of Islam represents it as a medieval religion that has outlived its usefulness in the twenty-first century. All their efforts are directed towards the establishment of a caliphate, which would rule the world allowing no one to contradict. These people aptly fit into the mould of extremism and fanaticism and present a horrifying picture of Islam in the western mindset. These bigots provoke the religious sentiments of the people for their personal gains. Moreover, the British and western youth have come under their influence. The end-result is that the young generation has grown rebellious resulting in the erosion of our social fiber. Hence, the western media maliciously dubs their activities as being motivated by religion and in the name of Islam.
Thirdly, there is the misconception of the word Jihad; hence, the West has wrongly conceived terrorist activities as Islamic Jihad whereas Islamic concept of Jihad has absolutely no link with terrorism, extremism or barbarism. Jihad means struggle for good and elimination of evil, in other words elimination of terrorism is Jihad. The killing of innocent people is terrorism irrespective of whether they are Muslims or not. It is also terrorism to murder the peaceful people regardless of their being in state of war even if they are not fighting a war with you directly. Victimizing the children, the old, the women and targeting the worship-places and hospitals fall in the domain of terrorism. It also includes the efforts aimed at spreading harassment, creating disturbance, staging sit-ins, forcing people to go on strikes and targeting the worship-places of other religions. Attacking human, religious, political, social and cultural rights is also terrorism and not Jihad.
Finally, it is important that the British public and institutions bear in mind that Islam, which is originated from the Arabic word salama means peace and therefore is based upon peace or that activity which produces and breeds peace. Islam is a respectable, harmonious, and peaceful religion to more than 2.5 million British Muslims. These British Muslims feel the same pain and grief of the London attacks as other British citizens, and feel their home country came under attack. The British Government should ensure to provide security to all the religious institutions in the UK and to take rapid action to stop the discrimination and Islamiphobic attacks on Muslims. In addition to that, all the Muslims should discourage the extremist elements from amongst themselves that bring a bad name to Islam by distorting its fair picture for their own interests.
The author is member of the Diplomatic Studies Network (DNS) of the University of Birmingham and Media Secretary of Minhaj-ul-Quran International UK.
|Note for Editors:
Minhaj-ul-Quran International represents the Muslims of the UK with thousands of regular members from all over the UK.
Minhaj-ul-Quran International aims to create harmony between the societies with social interaction, social cultural interfaith dialogues and with the message of peace. It promotes general education for the youngsters, has welfare projects running around the world, and works for the human rights. It regularly organises conferences, seminars, and study circles for the education of youngsters and for a religious and social harmony, promoting peace and tolerance within the society.
It is active in the UK since 1992, mainly in the fields of education, welfare, religion, and social harmony, promoting peace, tolerance, and moderation. It has centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nelson and Bradford with regular computer courses, weekend schools, outdoor and indoor game clubs and also advice and guidance facilities about social and personal problems. It also has libraries including books and audio/visual facilities.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is founding leader Minhaj-ul-Quran International. He is a prominent Islamic scholar and authority in the Muslim world and a political leader. He is also author of more then 300 books, has delivered more then 6000 lectures at various International conferences, seminars and at universities. For further information please contact:
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