By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
01 May, 2015
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
The author’s refutation of a Taliban’s key fatwa dated March 2013  had captured the conspiracy of this terror-outfit, now affiliated to ISIS in these words:
“All in all the Taliban’s call to wage violent Jihad to establishing a Pan-Islamic politically integrated state or Khilafah transcending national boundaries and governed by their version of Islamic Sharia Law is nothing short of a blue print to conquer hearts, minds and lands by exploiting the sentiments of the oppressed, marginalized and victimized segment of Muslim masses (Introduction). An ideological war is thus being spearheaded globally to turn Islam from a religion of peace, harmony and universal brotherhood into a cult of bestial violence and naked terrorism – a grand betrayal of faith, a monstrous conspiracy, let alone its bloody fallout.”
The said Refutation also tables the following prediction:
“In a grand irony of history the divine scheme has set the mightiest nation on earth to defend the faith of Islam on pressing political and terrorism grounds, but which country can be more suited for this noble task than the One that has the name of God engraved on each of its trillions of coins and printed on billions of currency notes.”
In an uncanny coincidence of history the prediction seems to have come true, though the news of al-Baghdadi’s death from injuries sustained in an American Drone attack is yet to be confirmed by the International Media.
While the proponent of Caliphate by violent jihad is killed, the ideology is not killed, and cannot be killed as long as the historical fault-lines that have caused its eruption summarily noted in the article referenced below  are corrected. The object of this article is to shed some light on the historical fault-lines tie it up with Barrack Obama’s captioned anti-radicalization drive
Here is an analysis of the fault-lines that, unless corrected, will make it almost impossible to eradicate Violent Extremism:
1. As stated in the quoted refutation of Taliban’s Fatwa in the opening paragraph above, ISIS and its ideological affiliates are capitalizing on the misery and sufferings of Muslim civilians - millions and millions of Muslims who bore the brunt of just and anti-terror invasions, ceaseless aerial bombing, missile attack and brutal and enduring Occupation in the Blessed Land.
2. Western Media’s active role in projecting Islam as enemy of civilization by a sustained double standard of reporting. In the words of late Edward Said, an outstanding political thinker, cultural critic, public intellectual and University Professor at Columbia University “No one in the American media has held forth for so long (at least two decades) in accents of such racial hatred and contempt against a given culture and people as he (Martin Peretz, the owner of the journal, ‘The New Republic’) has said about Islam and the Arab world. There is a great deal in what he has said over the years, that goes well beyond the rational defense (of Israel) and his columns of unadulterated, irrational and vulgar defamation are truly unsurpassed anywhere.”  To put it simply, since the 90’s till very recent years, the leading Western Media gives extensive coverage of the bad news from the world of Islam and attempts to lump all the Muslims of the world in the terror attacks carried out by a handful of terrorists who are as detached from common Muslims as a serial killer or a bank robber from the rest of their community. The Serbs who thrust rifle bayonets into the chests and breasts of helpless Albanian Muslims during the last genocide draped their butts with the portrait of Mary. But the Media never blamed Christianity for this. Besides, the learned scholars and Media celebrities of the West know it well that in historical perspective, the crimes committed in the name of Christianity under the patronage of Church were no less brutal and far more enduring than those committed by the terrorists in the name of Islam, so if Islam is a religion of violence, Christianity cannot claim to be a religion of peace either. But a distorted picture has been created of Islam to fuel hatred and enmity against the Muslims. This must stop.
3. The Ulema of Islam draw on their historically informed secondary sources notably, the Hadith, the Sira and the Classical Sharia Law to claim exclusivity of their faith and to curse and cry foul to the Christians and Jews, returning hatred with hatred. It is time that the Ulema of Islam take a hard look at their secondary sources, acknowledge their historic specificity [4,5,6] and set aside all those notions that conflict with the holistic message of the Qur’an as era or context specific, embellishment or apocryphal There is also a pressing need to interpret the Qur’an seeking its eternally binding definitive commandments, that as attempted in a recent exegetic work, bring across “the Qur’anic vision of a universal brotherhood of humanity that will allow people of diverse faith, culture, color and language to live together, to know and respect each other and assist each other, to make life easy and peaceful for all human beings.”
4. The false propaganda against Islam as a fake, flawed, perverted or violent religion must be treated as a calumny or an insult to a third of global population. Any attempt to convince the Muslims that the Qur’an is a false book, and Muhammad an imposter may work on a handful of fortune seekers like Ayan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, or radical Muslims who judge Islam on the basis of its secondary sources or cursory reading of the Qur’an or by what they see or hear in the media. More than 99% of common Muslims restrict the notion of their faith to the Pillars of faith (Islamic rituals of prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and mandatory charity crowned by belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad). Hence, the propaganda not only falls on deaf years but creates negative sentiments against the West that has turned anti-Islam propaganda into a flourishing business.
5. The Muslims in all Muslim minority countries must give up the idea of creating an ‘Islamic order’ within the established order of their nation; they should try to adapt the culture their host countries within the broad framework of Qur’anic guidance and raise their children as loyal citizens who know more about the historical figures and icons of their country of birth than those of the countries their forefathers came from.
6. As integration like friendship is a two-way phenomenon, the Western and Muslim minority countries must also grant freedom in religion, and full civil rights and economic opportunities to their Muslim citizens and treat them with respect and sympathy without having them to face social and economic discrimination in real life (for right on paper is one thing and ground reality another)
7. Through a U.N. resolution, any restriction on building and repair of houses of worship for the religious minorities as in vogue in many Muslim countries based on the rulings of their secondary sources must be lifted subject to common civil and construction guidelines.
8. The colossal sufferings of the people of Palestine and the culture of riots against Muslims in various Muslim minority countries must be stopped. The victims of riot are often pushed into refugee camps or marginal lands and suffer permanent dislocation, economic deprivation and marginalization that is conducive to radicalization.
9. The terror groups of Palestine are no innovation in history. There have been other terror groups like Tamil Tigers, IRS, Stern group for example whose record of brutality, forced eviction and massacres may greatly surpass that of Hamas and any other Palestine based terror group. But the common civilians supporting these terror groups are made to suffer grievously day after day, year after year, decade after decade. This has to end.
10. The Muslims must make a clear distinction between Islam’s secondary sources and its primary scripture – the Qur’an. The secondary sources being rooted in the Medieval ages have become antiquated for this era except for their spiritual dimension – notably the ways of performing Islamic rituals – azan (call to prayer, fast, pilgrimage and mandatory charity) and their record of the heritage of the Prophet and his companions. The .primary source, the Qur’an, however, being a broad framework of guidance and virtually a rosary of universal values, a criteria between right and wrong, a manual on rights of humans over humans remains eternally applicable. Any attempt to read the Qur’an in light of secondary sources as the Ulema stress or to get rid of the Qur’an or modify it can only add to the confusion, internal war and mayhem in the Muslim world, and lead it nowhere.
11. The madrasa (Islamic religious schools’) curriculum must be expanded to include all universal fields of knowledge as in civil schools, retaining one consolidated subject on the fundamentals of Islamic message. A Muslim boy or girl does not have to master the secondary sources that did not exist in the Prophet’s era to be good Muslims. On the other hand lack of knowledge of universal subjects greatly handicaps the Muslims in the competitive employment market of the world leading to unemployment and a self-imposed discrimination.
12. It is time for the Muslims to understand the fundamental truth of their religion, which applies to all religions: apart from worshipping One God that even other faith communities do in their ways of which God alone is Judge, the primary duty of the Muslims is be a good human being – fair in justice, active in community service, exemplary in conduct and behavior, conscious of their duties to others, respectful of women and people of other faiths and an epitome of all that is universally good and to guard against all that is evil and reprehensible. Any skeptical reader may laugh his head off at a suggestion that reeks of offering a stinking wine in a new bottle. But let us not jump the gun!
No matter what combination of factors led to the emergence of ISIS - the unchecked growth of Islamophobia, covert or over hatred of Islam, its Prophet and the Muslim community, highly discriminative reporting on Muslims and Islam in the Western media, the deadly and devastating fallout of American wars against terror or any other political developments in the post 9/11 era, the fact remains, ISIS and its affiliates pose a new threat to the global Muslim community that is potentially far more dangerous than all the death and destruction in the Muslim lands in the post 9/11 era. Besides, it has now been proved beyond an iota of doubt that blaming Islam, demonizing its followers, describing the victim as oppressor, most intensive bombing and missile attacks on the towns and cities of Muslim nations blamed for terrorism, and spending hundreds of billions dollars to ward off terrorism has totally failed to eradicate this menace. Therefore a peaceful and inclusive approach is needed to counter violent extremism.
There can no denying that President Barrack Obama has taken the first concrete step in diffusing Islamophobia, by exonerating Islam from any association with terror ; so rather than looking backwards, the Muslims must look forward and do their bidding to roll out CVE initiatives in the Muslim community - .particularly in the West and generally in all Muslim countries. The Muslims of the world must show no sympathy to the ISIS and its likes, as their heinous activities in the name of Islam are calculated to malign Islam and bring shame to the peace loving Muslims of the world; their Imams must warn their devotees that terrorism is antithetic to Islamic message and those who commit barbaric crimesunder the banner of Islam want to reduce Islam to a cult of terror and bring the wrath of the others on the mainstream Muslim societies, which, in any case, the terror groups regard as infidels. Their emphasis must be on preaching all the noble values as encapsulated in the Qur’an that the world urgently needs today as acknowledged by two of the most learned contemporary scholars of Islam from the secular West:
“What happens in the Qur’an is deeply related to the travail of our time, and we need the Qur’anic word in the face of it. This would be true, of course, if only for the reason that multitudes of mankind, to be guided or persuaded about modernity at all, will need to be guided and persuaded Qur'anically.....Even where secularism has gone far among them or irreligion presses, their judgments and their sanity, their priorities and their ideals, will always be in large measure within the mind of the Qur’an…” 
“Concepts of prophesy, inspiration and revelation must be re-examined in view of the undoubted revelation of God in Muhammad and the Qur’an. Then much more real charity and generous understanding must be shown to members of other faiths. The example of Islam towards other People of the Book often put us to shame.” 
The bottom line is Islam never spread by cutting the throats of innocent people and forcibly converting others at gun point and committing acts of brutality, except in some narrow corridors of history as an exception and not a rule . The ISIS and its ideological affiliates are a shame on the face of Islam and “like (the Kharijites), their counterparts of almost a millennium ago, they are bound to be increasingly marginalized, and eventually jettisoned from the world of Islam.”
2 The ISIS And Its Likes – The Muslim Violent Extremists Of This Era Must Be Outlawed On Historical Precedent To Save The Middle East From A Tsunami Of Bloodshed And The World From A Clash Of Civilizations
3. Edward W. Said, Covering Islam, Vintage U.K. 1997, p.xxii
4. Hadith is not a divine scripture of Islam – a la Qur’an.
5. The Classical biography (Sira) of the Prophet is more of a story than a historical record – it is a highly embellished history. The Classical biography (Sira) of the Prophet is more of a story than a historical record – it is a highly embellished history.
6. What is popularly known as the Sharia Law of Islam is actually the cumulative rulings of Muslim jurists with a tag of Islam, and not any immutable word of God or the laws of the Qur’an.
7. Essential Message of Islam, Maryland, USA 2009, Ch. 9.7.
9. Kenneth Cragg, The Event of the Qur’an, Oneworld Publications, Rockport, USA 1974, p. 22/23.
10. GeofferyParrinder, Jesus in the Qur’an, One world Publications, U.S.A., 196, p.173.]
11. Thomas W. Arnold, Preaching of Islam, 2nd revised edition, 1913, reprinted Delhi 1990, p. 419/420.
The ISIS And Its Likes – The Muslim Violent Extremists Of This Era Must Be Outlawed On Historical Precedent To Save The Middle East From A Tsunami Of Bloodshed And The World From A Clash Of Civilizations
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. KhaledAbou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.