That is the original headline of this piece from ChannelNewsAsia (thanks to Daryl), and it is of course quite true. The “true voice of Islam,” whatever that may be, could be decisive in the success or failure of the global jihad. But this article once again assumes that the jihadists are twisting the true peaceful teachings of Islam — an assertion that, for all the lip service that is paid to it, has never been adequately established.
And in the absence of that, when these clerics speak out about the “hijacking” of Islam, I can’t help but wonder if they are just engaging again in the deceit of non-Muslims that is so widespread. After all, in the whole world over there is not a single program run by Muslims to convince their fellow Muslims that violence is not the true path of Islam. Much-ballyhooed programs of that kind have been shown to be fraudulent.
With the recent spate of bombings by extremists in Jordan and in Indonesia, Muslim leaders and clerics are trying to play a bigger role in the fight against terrorism and in guiding people to follow the path of peace and tolerance.
This sentiment surfaced in Thursday’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies public seminar, “Listening to the True Voice of Muslims in Indonesia.”
The seminar featured speakers from Indonesia’s largest Islamic groups, Muhammadiyah and Nadhlatul Ulama.
What part will Indonesia’s Muslim leaders play in voicing the true values of Islam?
Justin Teo reports.
JT: Indonesia will play a vital role in representing the Muslim faith worldwide because the republic has the largest number of Muslims in the world and its society demonstrates a unique blend of Muslim and Western values.
The teachings and words of Indonesia’s Muslim leaders will have a great influence over followers of the faith.
This point was emphasized by the Chairman of the seminar, Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts, Mr. Yatiman Yusof.
YF: Indonesia is the largest country in ASEAN, with the biggest population, as well as having the largest Muslim population in the world. What happens in Indonesia is of great interest to close neighbors in ASEAN and to Muslims all over the world. When scholars and leaders such as those on our distinguished panel speak about this important topic, their thoughts and words will resonate beyond this venue. Muslims in other countries will access their papers via the Internet. We should not forget that the media, non-Muslims, and the followers of Al-Qaeda will also closely monitor their thoughts. They want to assess who is winning the battle for Muslim hearts and minds.
JT: Mr. Yusof also noted that the fight against terrorism starts from the words and deeds of Muslims in the region against the violence inflicted by the terrorists.
YF: If we the Muslims do not speak up in public against the hijacking of our beloved Islam by terrorists, then they will assume that our silence means support for their crimes. Secondly, if we, as Muslims, do not assume leadership, in the long battle against terrorism, by words and by deeds, then others will take over this effort and we may not like how they conduct their war against terrorism.