Denial? Plenty? Debates? Few. But here at last is a relatively honest appraisal from within the Muslim community of the true nature of the problem.
By Hasan Suroor for The Hindu (thanks to Infidel Avatar):
More Muslims need to realise that Islamist terrorists are not simply “misguided” individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam.
Judging from much of the Muslim reaction to the latest Islamist outrage “” last month’s attempted bombings in London and Glasgow “” the community seems to have talked itself into a default position in relation to violent Muslim extremism. The same old arguments are being flogged again betraying an unwillingness to acknowledge either the scale of the problem or its nature. The fear of making the community or Islam look bad has created a strange silence around issues that lie at the heart of the Islamism debate.
Broadly, the Muslim argument is that it is all down to a host of external factors. Top of the list is the western foreign policy, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, compounded by the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq. Then there are social and economic reasons such as lack of education and high rate of unemployment in the Muslim community “” again attributed to external causes such as racial or religious discrimination.
In other words: don’t blame us; it is all other people’s doing. We are only the victims. As someone who feels the same pressures as other Muslims, I wish this was true. But it isn’t. It not all other people’s doing. We are not just the victims.
I used the term “˜default position” as an euphemism. There is a more robustly appropriate term, which is being increasingly used to describe the Muslim position: denial. The view that Muslims are in denial of the extent of the problem and their own responsibility in dealing with it is no longer confined to right-wing Muslim-bashers. Even liberal opinion has started to shift.
Mr. Butt criticised Muslims and liberal non-Muslim intellectuals and politicians for failing to recognise the “role of Islamist ideology in terrorism” “” an ideology that, according to another lapsed extremist Shiraz Maher, preaches a “separatist message of Islamic supremacy” and seeks to establish a “puritanical caliphate.” Mr. Maher knew Kafeel Ahmed, the Indian who tried to blow up Glasgow airport and is now fighting for his life in a hospital in Scotland.
First and foremost, Muslims must acknowledge what Ziauddin Sardar, one of Europe’s most prominent Muslim scholars, calls the “Islamic nature of the problem.” Islamist extremism has not descended from another planet or been imposed on the community from outside. It breeds within the community and is the product of a certain kind of interpretation of Islam. And, in the words, of Mr. Sardar, terrorists are a “product of a specific mindset that has deep roots in Islamic history.”
In a seminal essay, “The Struggle for Islam’s Soul” (New Statesman, July 18, 2005), Mr. Sardar argued that Islamists were “nourished by an Islamic tradition that is intrinsically inhuman and violent in its rh etoric, thought and practice” and this placed a unique burden on Muslims as they tried to make sense of what their co-religionists were doing in the name of Islam. “To deny that they are a product of Islamic history and tradition is more than complacency. It is a denial of responsibility, a denial of what is happening in our communities. It is a refusal to live in the real world,” he wrote.
Mr. Sardar’s views are significant. He is a practising Muslim with deep grounding in Islamic theology. He was deeply upset by Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and is often involved in verbal duels with Islamophobic commen tators. But as he points out because he is a Muslim and it is in the name of his religion that terrorists are acting, he believes it is his “responsibility critically to examine the tradition that sustains them.”
More Muslims need to realise that Islamist terrorists are not simply “misguided” individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam. However perverted their interpretation it remains an interpretation of Islam and it is not enough to condemn their actions or accuse them of hijacking Islam without doing anything about it.
Let’s face it; there are verses in the Koran that justify violence. The “hard truth that Islam does permit the use of violence,” as Mr. Butt points out, must be recognised by Muslims. When Islam was in its infancy and battling against non-believers violence was deemed legitimate to put them down. Today, when it is the world’s second largest religion with more than one billion followers around the world and still growing that context has lost its relevance. Yet, jihadi groups, pursuing their madcap scheme of establishing Dar-ul-Islam (the Land of Islam), are using these passages to incite impressionable Muslim youths. Yet there is no sign of a debate in the community beyond easy platitudes, and it remains in denial.