New Age Islam
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The War Within Islam ( 16 Sept 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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We Must Correct the Image of Islam Damaged By Extremists


By Abdul Ilah Jadaa

September 12, 2014

The savage killing of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff cannot be justified in the name of any prescribed law except the law of the jungle. Such crimes by terrorists of the so-called Islamic State are instrumental in producing a negative image and a grim picture in the minds of people around the world about Muslims, in general, and Muslim countries and organizations, in particular. Such acts do a disservice to the Muslim world and a large number of moderate Muslim countries and stigmatize the image of the religion of Islam which has nothing to do with terrorism, violence, bloodshed and dictatorship.

Are these IS terrorists aware of the offense and damage they are causing to Islam and Muslims? They are inflicting harm not only on themselves and their countries but also on the moderate religion of Islam, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was the embodiment of the perfection of all noble qualities. Islam is a code of life based on peace and justice. Even the enemies of Islam have certified that this is the true nature of the religion. However, these deviant terrorists do not, even for a moment, think about the magnitude of damage caused by them to the image of Islam and Muslims worldwide.

This is happening at a time when a large number of people in the West have become sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinians, who were savagely attacked by Israeli occupation forces.

We have to strive to remove misgivings about Islam and present its true image, in addition to defending true Muslims in all forums available to us. I have tried my best to present the true image of Islam and its unequivocal position toward these terrorists in my talks with some French and German nationals. However, the reports appearing in Western media about the savage practices of IS terrorists in the name of Islam were instrumental in weakening my arguments.

In my dialogue with these Europeans, I had to admit that the image of even practicing Muslims has been changed in the minds of people not only in the West but in the Arab world as well. Bearded Muslims have become a source of fear in airports in some countries. This is the handiwork of Al-Qaeda, IS and other terrorist outfits which have created a negative image of Muslims among people in all parts of the world.

The problem with most people is that they practice what they want in order to achieve their goals and dreams because for them the ends justify the means. In this context, the statement issued by Custodian of  the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in August is timely as it contains a warning to all those who try to hijack Islam and present it to the world as a religion of extremism, hatred and terrorism.

In this situation, our diplomatic missions abroad as well as foreign media have a crucial role to play in repairing the damage inflicted on the image of Islam by these extremists. Voices that can project a moderate and tolerant image of Islam among people in the West are the need of the hour. Similarly, our domestic media also have an active role to play in removing misgivings about Islam and presenting its true image.