The Inconvenient Truth About Islam
Posted August 29, 2007on:
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, former editor of the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, made a controversial article which he titled The painful Truth is that All of the Terrorists are Muslims after the Beslan attack in September 2004, he wrote:
For certain, not all Muslims are terrorists, but sorrowfully we must say that most of the terrorists in the world are Muslims.
Those who kidnapped the schoolchildren in [North] Ossetia were Muslims. Those who kidnapped the cooks and the Nepalese workers likewise were Muslims. Those who are committing rapes and killings in Darfur are Muslims, and so are their victims.
Those who blew up the residential building complexes in Riyadh and Khobar were Muslims. Those who kidnapped the French journalists were Muslims. The two women who blew up the two planes a week ago were Muslims.
Bin Laden is a Muslim, and al-Houthi is a Muslim. Most of those who carried out suicide operations targeting public buses, schools, homes, and buildings throughout the world in the last ten years have been Muslims.
What a terrible record! Doesn’t it tell us something about ourselves, our societies, and our culture?
These images, whether taken one by one or altogether, are hard, shameful, and disgraceful for us to look at, but instead of denying them and excusing them, we must acknowledge their reality, not compose articles and speeches proclaiming our innocence [bara’atina]. After we have acknowledged this malady [marad] it will become easy to treat ourselves. Self-cure begins with acknowledgement [i’tiraaf]. After that we must pursue our sons the terrorists, for they are the natural products of a perverted culture [thaqafa musshawa].
Listen to what the television sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has said, publicly proclaiming a fatwa permitting the killing of American civilians in Iraq. Consider a religious world that incites the killing of civilians, and a sheikh who, rejecting reverence for life, goads a young girl into killing civilians at the same time his own two daughters are off studying in the safety and security of Great Britain in the United Kingdom of Infidels [kafira].
How would such a father face the mother of the young man Berg who was butchered because he had come to Iraq to work building cell phone towers? How are we to believe him when he tells us that Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance while he transforms it into a religion of blood [diin dam]?
In the past, we used to consider leftists and nationalists dangerous extremists [mutatarifiin]. But, these extremists today have become a source of corruption that builds on the principle of violence and makes the vocation of killing easy. Back then, the mosque was a safe refuge where religious scholars called for peace and preached about praiseworthy morality.
Islam is being tyrannized by revivalist (jadd) Muslims. It is an innocent religion, which takes genuine pride in its texts prohibiting as harmful the unnecessary cutting down of trees, which characterizes killing as the greatest of crimes, and which stipulates that the one who harms even the least significant has harmed all. This is the Islam we knew before the appearance of the groups of condemnation [takfir] and the calls from mosques, and curriculums, and schools from which the political groups have raided ideas and then turned around and sabotaged their religion and its insights.
Surely, we do no honor to ourselves when from among us come those who kidnap pupils in school or journalists, or kill civilians, or blow up public buses no matter what agonies have been suffered by the avengers. There are those who mutilate Islam and there are those who give it comfort. We will not be able to clean up our reputation until we acknowledge the plain, shameful truth: which is to say that most of the acts of terror in the world today have been committed by the hand of Muslims. We must realize that we will not be able to reform the condition of our youth who are committing these repugnant crimes until we have confronted our sheikhs who from pulpits transform themselves into revolutionaries and send the sons of others off to wars at the same time they send their own children off to European and American schools.
An Indian-born American author Dinesh D’Souza in one interview explained why America has become the land of dreams for so many people in third-world countries including Muslim countries, he said the reason for that is because in America people can become whatever they want to be. In their countries, especially in the Middle East, they have to follow all the frustrating cultural boundaries and life regulations made by their clerics or sheikhs.
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed’s pain is also felt by me and million other Muslims who hate violence as much as those Americans and Western people who condemn terorrism as an act in the name of God and religions. It is interesting to see how Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed pointed out the role of Islamic clerics in making Islam as a religion of blood. While those sheikhs instruct many young Muslims to commit the wrong kind of jihad and to strap bombs on their bodies at the same time they send their children to European or American schools. Islam is an innocent religion, like Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed said, and it is being manipulated and corrupted by a small group of people who try to spread hatred throughout the world in the name of Islam.
It is a sad truth that most Muslim countries are poor countries, including of course Indonesia. And as a person who believes that political, cultural, and religious elements are so much attached to one and another it is not a surprising fact for me that Muslims are so much left behind from other cultures in the world. It is true that most Muslims are not well educated, it is true that most Muslims live under the poverty line, and it is true that most Muslims have one thing in common to entertain their misery lives: Islam as their only resort. That is why the role of a sheikh, ulama, ustad, or kyai is a big deal in all Muslim countries. Their voice is the voice of God, whatever they say is right and must be followed. “Don’t ask the sheikhs whether they are wrong or not,” they say, “Because they’re just never wrong.”
Of course it is true that not all sheikhs or ulamas are teaching the wrong kind of Islam or jihad, in Indonesia for example, I have seen some great Islamic clerics who spread the words of love, peace, and tolerance. But, no one can deny that clergy is a big business, there is a lot of money involved. Kyais are paid to preach on TVs or radios, I mean nothing is free in this material world, not even religions. And I’m sure that nobody can deny the fact that there are more than many Indonesian ulamas who are related to political parties or Government organizations. In politics where people’s voice means power, the role of ulamas is something that politicians can’t ignore especially in a country where there are hundred millions of people who claim themselves religious but unfortunately not well educated, and at the same time those holy people have the voice of God, of course you will be able to see the relation clearly.
With all due respect to Islamic clerics, a smart person knows better than a stupid person that he doesn’t really need clerics for his spiritual thirst. He knows too well that clerics are just ordinary people who can make mistakes just like him. He knows that his Islam is the kind of religion that allows him to have reasonable freedom to explore the beauty of it according to what he needs the most in life, and sometimes he just doesn’t need a cleric to do so.
I know I’m not a good Muslim but I know that I hate to see people who claim that they are backed by God destroying the religion I believe, Islam. Islam is my way of life. Islam is when I wake up one morning, open my eyes, and celebrate the beatiful day as a bless that God has given me, so my heart hurts to see people stripping off my Islam as if it was a whore.