We often hear the offensive and acrimonious expressions like “Islamist Terrorism,” “Muslim Terrorists,” and many others. Repeated ad nauseam, they now seem to become an integral part of many prominent and not-so-prominent newspapers and TV outlets, especially in the West. The term “Islamist Terrorism” indicates that Islam has something to do with terrorism; that obviously leads to wrong interpretation of this great faith.
From the terms “Islamist Terrorism” and “Muslim Terrorist,” people often misconstrue that Muslims are inherently terrorists. These gross misinterpretations intensely produce a domino effect and ultimately result in the negative stereotyping of Muslims and Islam, which itself means peace. Isn’t it a great disservice to a faith that preaches tolerance and compassion toward humanity at large and considers killing of the innocent people as the greatest transgression?
Allah Almighty says: “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land—it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one—it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” — (Al-Quran 5:32)
Terrorists are in every society, every community and every country. Those who claim to be Muslims may also be terrorists but such people has not understood the true teachings of Islam. The world needs to acknowledge that a terrorist is just a terrorist; his acts have nothing to do with the religion. Did anyone blame Christianity for the atrocities inflicted on people by Hitler? A terrorist does not follow the true commandments of any faith when engaging in such a despicable act. Islam is the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing faith, encompassing one-quarter of its population. Though divided into numerous sects, Muslims all are in unison when it comes to rejecting violence against civilians in the name of Islam.
There is no need to add any adjective to define terrorism. To put it simply, terrorism is terrorism, and no faith preaches terrorism. Broadly speaking, the need of the hour demands that to overcome Muslims’ overall negligence—in presenting the true image of Islam through their actions and reactions slackness—Muslim scholars, thinkers and authors must research and find out authentic sources to make people knowledgeable enough to understand terrorism and its real sources.
The masses should be protected from the inappropriate portrayal of Islam because in this misrepresentation lies the anathema to social justice and peace which hampers the progress of rebuilding and reconciliation among all communities. Anti-Semitism has been significantly overcome by applying due diligence, including enacting laws at many levels. Hitherto, these effective steps taken from the social and legal perspective have tremendously weakened, if not completely eliminated, the anti-Semitic forces. If anti-Semitism has been overcome because of those concrete measures, Islamophobia that now rears its ugly head should also be dealt with unequivocally; the required concerted effort should be exerted to thwart elements that espouse it. International laws should be enacted to counteract successfully this increasing threat. Furthermore, at community level, interfaith meetings—held at regular intervals—can help dispel the myth about Islam because therein lies the delivery of appropriate education and the required communication among various communities. Temporizing on the issue would aggravate the already critical state. The motto of “rights and dignity to everyone” would merely remain a sanctimonious slogan if we fail to deliver on this concern. It is imperative that we realize it now and aggrandize our efforts to consequently deal with this rising menace.