By: Dr. Aslam Abdullah
In light of the recent London bombing humanity must speak with one voice and condemn all acts of violence, weather it is state sponsored or carried out by fringe religious groups.
Muslims have a special obligation to speak out against the killing of innocent people when it is carried out by people who claim to submit to the will of God.
It seems the world is on the brink of spiraling out of control violence. There is growing exploitation by religious zealots who are convinced they only, know the right way and they are God’s agents to implement it.
In Pakistan, within a span of four days two mosques were bombed killing more than 25 people and in Iraq, we have lost count of people are being murdered every day. Those who are being killed are none other than those whom God regards as the best of all creations – Humankind.
In the name of ethnicity, culture, politics, resistance and religion, people are losing lives everyday throughout the world. In America alone, we lose about 500 lives every week as a result of gun violence. It seems there is no end in sight of this dreadful epidemic and there is no effective voice that can convince the killers and murderers to stop the killing.
Those who are planning and orchestrating this senseless killing are the worst enemies of their religions and communities.
In particular, those who are committing acts of violence in the name of Islam are doing a most grievous disservice to Islam. A Muslim is one who submits to God. And of course God does not promote violence and this is what the majority of the Muslims believe. True God conscious people promote a peaceful way of life. Unfortunately there are a few people who have immersed themselves in hate and are resorting to indiscriminate violence.
Islam has become a game in the hands of violence perpetrators. Some of them think they are doing jihad without even understanding the real meaning of jihad. Some think of them selves as Islamic puritans without having any notion of what the most beautiful way of life that God has prescribed, stands for.
“… This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion …” (Quran 5:3)
Others take pride in being Muslims however anti-Muslim their stance may be. Then there are those who cheer up acts of violence because they too have degenerated into a hateful people.
There are several reasons for the continuation of violence. The first and foremost reason is the notion promoted by a tiny minority that claims to speak in the name of religion that justice is secured through the barrel of a gun. This minority tends to justify its actions by using religious scriptures and interpreting them to suit its interests.
The second reason is the inability of activists to control their anger in adverse situations. When they read or see an anti-Islamic incident, the first response that comes to the mind of these angry people is to resort to violence against those responsible for the action. They are also often provoked by leaders who use others to settle their scores with the power elites.
The third reason is the manipulation of innocent individuals in the name of religion by those who are working for various intelligence and spying agencies. Such groups have already established religious groups with their own religious leaders to recruit young Muslims to carry on attacks in the name of religion. Their main purpose is to create chaos and turmoil and destabilize societies.
The fourth reason is the prevalence of extreme inequalities where the powerless find them chained in the bonds of poverty and inequality almost on a daily a basis. For such people, life has lost any meaning. They find no hope to overcome their own sufferings, hence they lose confidence in their ability to change their conditions unless those whom they perceive responsible for their plight are avenged.
The fifth reason is the presence of large scale mercenaries who are willing to kill anyone if the price is right. They come from all ethnic and religious groups and make a living from taking others’ lives to sustain them selves.
The most effective voice to control violence is the voice of forgiveness. It is a voice that can make a definite change in the lives of people if it is raised from the pulpits of religious institutions. The religious leadership must raise this voice if it truly wants to serve God.
Before asking others to preach forgiveness, Muslim Americans can organize a day dedicated to non violence. On that day their various sectarian leaders can visit each other’s mosque to reassure all, that differences must be resolved through peaceful means and that violence must be rejected at all costs. Muslim Americans can also pledge to their creator that they would never resort to violence to air their differences. Muslim Americans can also assure their brethren’s in the world that nonviolence is the way to human dignity and freedom. Because Muslims are directed by God to follow His directive:
“But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in God. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (Quran 8:61)
It is time that we speak and speak loudly against all kinds of violence whether citizen or state sponsored.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is the editor of the Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic Society of Nevada and director of the Muslim Electorates Council of America (MECA).