by Raheel Raza
Is it because there are verses in the Qu'ran that can be, and have been, used to justify violence against non-Muslims? If this is the situation, then it is time for us to lift our heads out of the sand, and understand that the enemy is within.
The past week has been bloodier than usual in the Muslim world. Three major attacks in different parts of the world -- Iraq, Pakistan and Kenya -- have one thing in common: they were pre-meditated terror attacks on civilians executed in a wanton manner as part of an armed jihad.
On the attack in Kenya at Nairobi's Westgate Mall, Kenya's President Uhunu Kenyatta made a clear statement: "We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get to them and we shall punish them for this heinous crime. We have overcome terrorist attacks before. We will defeat them again. They want to cause fear and despondency in our country, but we will not be cowed." Then, referring to Somalia's al-Shabab terrorists who claimed responsibility for the assault, he added, "Terrorism is a philosophy of cowards."
For those of us sitting in North America in the wake of such carnage, Kenyatta's words resonate well: he addressed the problem head-on. We look for support to the leader of the free world, the U.S., because the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] has let us down by giving priority to their own agenda on Islamophobia in the West and remaining silent when Muslims indulge in wanton terrorism -- in fact, they object to use of the word "terrorist" attached to Muslims. It seems, however, that the free world has a soft stance on terrorism. The only bold statement made a while ago was, "we have destroyed Al-Qaeda." Then why is the U.S. continuing to arm it in Syria?
We have become somewhat immune to the games being played while innocent lives are lost. One of the games is the instant knee-jerk reaction of the apologists and conspiracy theorists. How much more bloodshed and carnage do we have to see and endure before we wake up to the reality that something dangerous has taken root in the heart of the Muslims who kill in the name of faith?
There were two other suicide bombings this week. One in Baghdad and the other in Pakistan where a church was bombed.
What is surprising and baffling is that even today we cannot come to terms with the evidence that we have a serious problem within our ranks.
In Pakistan, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), considered to be one of the world's largest intelligence agencies, has not contained the violence unleashed upon Pakistan's minorities. According to some recent reports, there is a special squad, financed by petrodollars and sanctioned by the authorities, created exactly for the purpose of killing minorities -- and this is seemingly why nobody to date has been brought to justice. Recently there have also been massive jailbreaks, freeing hundreds of terrorists.
Further, it is rumoured that many shipments of U.S. arms, on their way from Karachi harbor to Afghanistan, have gone missing. Ironically, both the escaped terrorists and the arms surfaced in Syria.
So now, my co-religionists, there are some pressing questions we must ask because our faith as practiced today doesn't embrace humanity, modernity, music, arts or literature. What we have to see is whether the reformists, academics and scholars can pull this faith into the 21st century to co-exist with others, or will the militant swords cut the hands that hold the pen?
Furthermore, why is it that, when there is even a single death in the "conflict in the Middle East," Pakistanis will beat their chests, run out on the street, and rally with slogans against the USA and Israel -- but do not come out into the streets when their own countrymen massacre entire families of Christians and destroy churches?
And why is it that there is no voice from the pulpit, and the Sunni majority does not even bat an eyelash about the death squads against Shias and the persecution of Ahmedis?
Is it because "Cyber Mullahs," "Hadeeth Hurlers" and "Qu'ran Thumpers" are invoking their interpretation of the Qu'ran, and insisting that armed jihad is valid and needed today while we say it is time to make it obsolete?
Is it because there are verses in the Qu'ran that can be, and have been, used to justify violence against non-Muslims?
If this is the situation, then it is time for us to lift our heads out of the sand, and understand that the enemy is within.
Platitudes about Islam being a faith of peace are not credible anymore. Islam is only as good as the way its followers practice it; and if they have created killing fields in the name of Islam, then Islam will be recognized by the silence of those who did not speak out when their faith was being massacred to massacre humanity.
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