Ever since This Anti-Muslim Thing Broke Out . . .


. . . I’ve Been Wondering When the Islamic
Community Base Would Respond.

And now
a network of religious leaders in the UK, ImamsOnline.com, has risen to the
occasion. According to a Guardian UK article by Alexandra Topping, “Imams and Muslim community leaders have
launched an online magazine in an effort to counteract “poisonous” views
peddled by Islamic State
.”
An Imam
leads prayers in a mosque; for Shiites an imam is a recognized authority on
Islamic theology and law and a spiritual guide. ‘Shiite’ is important, because
ISIS is a predominantly Sunni organization and Sunnis and Shiites are deeply
split. In any event, it is progress long awaited.

I have for years
believed that the traditions of Islamic teachings implored Muslims to act in
moderation, in kindness and with justice. As a kid (and into adulthood) in
Evanston, Illinois I was fascinated by the nearby Bahai Temple in Wilmette. My
religious understandings are fuzzy here, but as I understand it, Bahaism was
founded in Iran in the mid eighteen hundreds and incorporates aspects of Christianity
and Islam.
At any rate, I
couldn’t help but believe that Islam had been hijacked by fundamentalists, just
as certain elements of Christianity were (in my view) hijacked by the same
extreme groups. It’s a turn toward darkness when any religion gets taken over
by extremists.
Back to
the Guardian article: “Haqiqah (Reality) aims to show young people tempted by
Isis propaganda that the extremist group’s message has no theological basis. It
is the work of ImamsOnline.com, a network of
religious leaders in the UK.
The frontline for imams in the 21st century
is not the pulpit, it is online, on social media, on YouTube, on Twitter,”
said
the site’s editor, Shaukat Warraich.
“There is a perception that Islamic institutions are not doing enough to fight
against Isis but this is clearly evidence that imams are coming together to
make themselves heard. British imams in particular are saying we are going to
take this on
.”
One can only hope
this move takes root among Imams worldwide and at least opens a discussion in
the Muslim communities, both Shiite and Sunni.
According
to Qari Asim, senior imam at the Makkah mosque in Leeds, “Any solution to the problem of extremism has to come from the
community,”
he said. “The Muslim
community has suffered more at the hands of these extremists than anyone else.
It is not in our interests at all to condone what they are saying, it brings
our faith into disrepute, it poisons our young people and it fuels anti-Muslim
sentiment.
(Guardian)
Writing in the magazine, Mohamed el-Sharkawy, of al-Azhar College of Islamic
Studies, says: “Under Daesh [Isis] rule
we have seen indiscriminate mass murder (Muslims and non-Muslims), the killing
of imams and scholars that exposed them for the irreligious beings they are,
the corruption of sacred laws, the destruction of mosques and places of
worship, the unjustifiable enslavement of innocent young girls
.
Time and time again the Qur’an and the
prophetic teachings implore us to act in moderation, to act in kindness and
with justice. Nowhere in the Islamic tradition do we see any justification for
what Daesh are doing
.”
Boko
Haram in northeastern Nigeria, Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon claims to be
another ISIS offshoot and their crimes are beyond description.
(Wikipedia) Over two
million people have been displaced by the conflict since May 2013. 250,000 have
left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger. Boko Haram has killed more
than 17,000 people since 2009, including over 10,000 in 2014. The group carried
out mass abductions including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in
April 2014.
So
there’s much work to be done in the majority Muslim world and I certainly only
hope it has begun with a dedicated group of British Imams.

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