(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
It is not possible to abolish Muslims or overlook the importance of Islam as a widespread and influential faith. There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and 57 Muslim-majority countries.
Similar to other major religions, like Judaism and Christianity, Islam has many sects and schools of thought, and differs with other religions.
But despite all the differences, Muslims have in modern history never witnessed crises like the ones they are facing today. The worst thing that is happening is that their reputation is being tarnished.
Many believe that Muslims have become a problem at the security, political, and cultural levels. Based on the new conviction, anti-Muslim sentiment is no longer whispered but rather bluntly put into action by those who consider Muslims unwanted.
This sentiment exists among politicians and racists. If things develop as they wish for, we will witness a bigger crisis than the one we are dealing with now.
It is wrong to ignore suspicions on Muslims and Islam and the public and official backlash against them. In reality, the situation should be understood and dealt with.
Before that, we should stop denying that the problem is within the Muslim communities, and stop considering reactions against Islam and Muslims as pure racism. This doesn’t deny the role of racists and opportunists in fueling this bad image and instigating hate against Muslims.
The problem of Muslims in the world technically began with the Iranian revolution that claimed its intended to defend Islam and Muslims all over the world, using violence, mobilization, and movements.
Prior to that, Muslims were busy with their affairs and integrated peacefully with other communities. Everyone followed their creed and practiced their religion as they pleased.
But, the Tehran regime wanted to exploit Islam and Muslims. Its followers’ mantras became “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greater), with their head bands having religious and political slogans like: “Labbayka Khomeini” (At your service, Khomeini).
This is an ugly front that represents the new Islam which has nothing to do with the Muslims the world has known.
The scary faces of those holding diplomats as hostages against all ethics and morals, and of course against all religions, created a new slogan for a different Islam and different Muslims.
They resorted to creating cases that would only serve their political conflicts, like turning an unknown novel published in the UK into a motive to feed Muslim hate towards Britain, even though Iran itself had printed many novels and books considered blasphemous against Muslim beliefs and other religions.
Instigating hate and placing financial rewards for killing author Salman Rushdie is Iran’s political work act. Several incidents occurred – from attacking intellectuals to persecuting caricaturists and leaders of other religions.
For years Tehran had led Muslims like a herd, pretending to defend their religion, causes, communities and cultures. Then, al-Qaeda organization was created, following the same path and tarnishing the image of Islam.
That is how the bad Islam that the world hates was created.
We have been dragged into a large crater created by extremists in Iran and elsewhere. But this is not our Islam and we should not be defending theirs.
The world has two Islams: the Islam of Iran and other extremists, and the Islam of moderates. Not all Muslims are alike. We should support anyone who wants to stand against the tarnished Islam and extremists, because we are the ones affected by this “Islam”, those “Islamic regimes” and the groups that are loyal to it.
It is time to disavow the “Islam of Iran” “al-Qaeda” “ISIS” and all organizations that politicize religion. It is also time to denounce them is for the sake of Islam, individual faith and all Muslims in different countries.
Most conflicts between countries of the world are political and have nothing to do with religion. It shouldn’t be left to governments that want to recruit Muslims intellectually to win battles against their enemies. They don’t care how damaging that can be to relations among nations, or what happens to the majority and minority of peaceful Muslims in their countries.
They just want to emerge victorious through confrontation and chaos because they know they will lose once peace and moderation prevail.