• Perspective: Is it time for moderate Muslims to talk about reform within the religion?

    Islam has always been at the centre of controversy when it comes to terrorism. Although it is one of the largest religions in the world and the percentage of terrorists is way less, the conversations relating the two refuse to die down. The recent terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday evening has sparked a debate about Islamic terrorism. The UK police have found a suspect in the attacks, a 22-year-old man named Salman Ramadan Abedi, who was born in Britain but was from Libyan origin.

    It is extremely easy to turn around and victimize when all Muslims are painted with the same brush of terrorism- Mahrukh Inayet

    Islamic community is once again being criticized for being radical and promoting terrorism in the world. This calls for the liberal and moderate people of Islam to come out and voice their concerns against the stereotyping of their community.

    But what has caused such urgency for moderate Muslims to speak up?  SheThePeople.TV spoke with Mahrukh Inayet, media person, and former editor with Times Now who considers herself a liberal Muslim. She feels it is important for moderate Muslims to speak up because for the longest time the moderate Muslim has remained silent towards increasing incidents of violence and terrorism all around us.

    “It is extremely easy to turn around and victimize when all Muslims are painted with the same brush of terrorism. I understand that average Muslim has nothing to do with terror as the majority is not involved,” she added.

    Why does there seem to be a sudden rise in the numbers of youngsters being brainwashed and indoctrinated in the name of religion? What makes them vulnerable? The moderate Muslim community needs to ask these questions and seek to redress. It is extremely important and imperative for the larger majority of moderate Muslims to talk about reform within the religion, states Inayet. “By reform, I mean that we have to dig deeper on whether there is something wrong with the way Islam is being preached and not the religion itself.”

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    Most Muslims are moderate, following the practices as prescribed by the Quran and the Hadith which emphasize goodness of character, good behavior towards all and personal piety, says author and historian Rana Safvi.

    “The Prophet’s own behaviour, which are enshrined in the Hadith show an extremely generous, caring and compassionate man. We grew up hearing stories of how the Prophet went to inquire about the health of a woman who used to dump rubbish on him every day on the day she didn’t. There are many others like it. These may be Hadith of weak transmission but they conveyed the message of a Compassionate God, who belonged to the whole universe not just Muslims and his compassionate and kind Prophet,” Rana explained about the basis of the religion.

    There seems to be a very confined version of Islam that is being practiced and propagated around the world. The spirit of Islam which meant peace and generosity has been lost.

    Rana elaborated about how it was actually the US- Russia cold war that led to formation of Mujahideen and then in turn Al-Qaeda. “Suddenly Islam was radical and Muslims were terrorists. A verse in the Quran which was sent down for a specific war, context and time was quoted randomly that The Holy Book of the Muslims says ‘kill unbelievers wherever you find them’. The verse which came down for all time-‘killing of one innocent man is murder of humanity was forgotten’.”

    And in all of this, the moderate voice went unheard. “It was always the orthodox maulvis who were brought into studios. Most of them bore allegiance to Saudi Arabia where Wahabism- a radical face of Islam- was flourishing.”

    Is what is being preached today the true meaning of Islam? There seems to be a very confined version of Islam that is being practiced and propagated around the world. The spirit of Islam which meant peace and generosity has been lost. “We confuse Muslims with Islam. And blame their shortcomings on Islam. Now the moderates are coming out, speaking and reclaiming their religion,” says Rana.

    Theatre artist and actor Danish Hussain resonates with that view. “It is time to break regressive myths everywhere. We live in the age of science and cannot have primitive, misogynist, regressive, unfair, inhuman, apartheid rituals/practices in the name of religion and culture. We cannot have reactionary ideologies fundamentalist mindsets and religious dogmas replacing our hard fought battles for justice, civil liberties, equality and human rights.”

    Picture credit- Frontpage Mag

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