Saturday, July 09, 2005

Future of Terrorism Determined by Muslims

We're all very aware that a sizable portion of the Muslim world does not like the West and what it stands for. Even so, the vast majority of the Muslim world is moderate and sensible. They reject the extremism of the terrorists who act out in barbaric ways that subvert the values of an entire culture. Unfortunately, terrorists continue to believe they have the moral authority to act on behalf of their people. This is because, for the most part, their people are not being emphatic enough in their rejection of terrorism.

The sight of an angry mob in a Middle East country burning an American flag is commonplace. Compare that to the number of times you see a mass demonstration of people in a Muslim county voicing their disapproval of al-Qaeda in such stringent terms--never! This unwillingness on the part of the Muslim world to "police their own" has been disastrous. Writing in Friday's New York Times on the day after the London bombings, Thomas Friedman says that this has got to change. "If it's a Muslim problem, it needs a Muslim solution", he warns, or else the alternative is an irreversible schism between the Western and Muslim worlds.

It doesn't have to be this way. But it will certainly continue to be this way unless the mainstream Muslim world becomes more vocal in its denunciation of those who would hijack Islam. The twisted ideology that fuels terrorism cannot survive once the environment it breeds in turns inhospitable. It is only then can our current "war on terrorism" truly be won.

1 comment:

Asfar said...

So imagine stepping up to a podium in a large auditorium and speaking to an audience that doesn't have the slightest respect for you. It's a frustrating and intimidating predicament to be in, but one that the Muslim world feels that it has been subject to for several decades now.

The real problem, though, reveals itself when people from these frustrated nations take matters into their own hands.

As trite as this is going to sound, education is the best solution to this problem.

We have imams and community leaders preaching the same thing for the past 20 years. No one questions them or their authority. That leaves communities all across these nations full of people following an old man with dated philosophies and pent up hatred and frustration. It is only natural that such communities will produce individuals who commit such heinous crimes as the events that took place in Mumbai in November 2008.

What needs to happen is a rediscovery of the fundamentals of a religion that is erroneously being preached with hues of frustration and hatred now.

As great an idea it may be to have the Muslim "ummah" (community) speak out against these terrorists, it doesn't suffice to completely eradicate the thoughts that drive them.

Fortunately, I think we have a younger, more educated, more sophisticated generation of religious authorities coming up that not only question conventions, but also look to advance the religion into the 21st century.