Saturday, April 12, 2008

Indian Muslims against Terrorism

Indian Muslims against Terrorism - An article by Yogi Sikand

Article follows my comments;

Yogi Sikand has brought up two good points in his article below and I would like to address them. As always, I have taken to reading his writings, and have shared them on the Pluralism and or World Muslim websites and Blogs. He is a an open minded scholar.

“1. This effort is, however, hampered by the fact that the Muslim religious leaders who have organized these meetings have few, if any; relations with non-Muslim organizations, activists and media professionals who could have helped relay their message to a broader non-Muslim audience.”

Muslims have a tendency to live in enclaves where they are a minority, that may be the case with all minorities, even those from a majority, when they live elsewhere as a minority, may live in clusters. This has to change, intentional enclaves creates division and insecurities in the long run.

The image of Muslims is carved out by the media; TV, Radio, Blogs, Webs and the Newspapers. Shamefully their livelihood is dependent on creating a good guy and a bad guy duel, in the US they have successfully casted the Jews, the African Americans as the bad guys and now they got Muslims staged for a few more years until they find someone else, may be Mexicans or Chinese. It is time that the Media resorts to being truthful and more importantly, the Muslims need to change that image as did the Jews and African Americans.

Go to any party, birth day, wedding, anniversary, funerals or social gatherings including barbequing on July 4th and thanksgiving, you seldom see any one but ourselves and our community members. It is a shame that we are incapable of making friends with others. Indeed, we are depriving ourselves with good friendship and broadening our horizons and an opportunity to let every one know through friendship, that we are no different than any ones else. We are not a mystery and we are not secretive, we know that, but others don’t. At one time we could drive cars without seat belt, now we feel guilty if we don’t wear it. Let’s feel naked and guilty if we do not have people from other faiths and races in our gathering, not as a token, but genuine friendship. Let our language be faith sensitive and inclusive as well. It is good for Muslims, and good for the world and vice-Versa.

"2. Nor have these meetings sought to critique the interpretations of Islam articulated by these groups in any detailed manner, beyond simply announcing that Islam has no relation with terrorism. This perhaps emanates from a fear of being attacked, even physically, if such groups were to be named. "

Zuhdi Jasser in his article “War of ideas” has spelled out the fear Muslims have in debating the issues. They are afraid that finding the truth is scary and don’t want to face it nor debate, it is a sign of weak faith or lack of trust in God and his words. I am a product of such fear, between a decade ago and a decade prior to that, I attempted to see the wisdom in the verses and closed the book in a hurry as I had difficulty in understanding some of the verses that appeared to be exclusive and arrogant, my access was limited to translations in English or Urdu. I had given up on Islam, every few years I tried to come back, but ran into the same wall and temporarily withdrew. You can read more about Qur'aan and its translations at: , God willing I will make an attempt to address sixty some verses that are mis-translated and misrpresented for some one's personal gains.

The unfortunate tragedy of 9/11 to which I have dedicated for my life, Karen Armstrong’s book Muhammad, and a verse from Bhagvad Gita have become the catalysts and helped me understand Islam. The verse “finding the truth is one’s own responsibility” became a beacon to me and I applied that to Qur’aan. I went beyond the given translations and read newer translations and start seeing the difference in translations. Which one was the right one? My work on Pluralism for a decade has helped me in diving deep into the religion, every religion and again, thank God, I see the beauty in every faith including my own. I am sure, like me there are a lot of Muslims out there who feel saddened for the mis-translations of Qur’aan done for the last millennia by the European and then Muslims themselves.

Indeed, we need not fear discussing any aspect of Qur’aan, it is based on justice to humans as well as the environment and one cannot go wrong with it. Through open and fearless debates we can truly understand the faith and connect with it in toto. A Muslim is one who seeks to mitigate conflicts, his words and actions will not aggravate the situation but bring sense and nurtures good will for peaceful co-existence. Indeed, that is the purpose of religion, all religions.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. He is the founder of the World Muslim Congress, a group committed to building bridges and nurturing a world of co-existence. He also heads the foundation for pluralism, an organization committed to studying religious pluralism and pluralistic governance. His articles can be found at and its five Blogs listed on the site, the and its Blogs and

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii [( Indian Muslims Against Terrorism)] iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Yoginder Sikand

Recent months have witnessed a spate of seminars, public meetings, rallies and press conferences organized by various Muslim groups across India denouncing terrorism and insisting that it has no relation whatsoever with Islam. These have been widely reported in the Muslim press, but, barring the recently-held Anti-Terrorism convention held by the
Dar ul-Ulum Deoband, they have not received any attention by the so-called ‘mainstream’ Indian press.

The reason is simple: The ‘mainstream’ press rarely, if ever, highlights any positive stories or news about Muslims. It is as if only ‘bad’ news about Muslims is ‘good’ news for the ‘mainstream’ press.

These anti-terrorism meetings are of considerable significance in several respects. They clearly indicate the unfortunate predicament of the Muslim community, which has been unfairly singled out, both in India and elsewhere, as being allegedly inherently associated with terrorism. It is a sign of the massive, and still mounting, wave of Islamophobia, propelled by Western, Zionist, and, within India, Hindutva, forces, which is increasingly compelling Muslims and their organizations to be put on the defensive. No other community is being forced to explain itself and absolve itself of charges of ‘terrorism’ in even remotely the same way, although ‘terrorism’ is, needless to say, not specifically a ‘Muslim’ issue.

The anti-terrorism meetings show that the Muslim religious leadership is fast waking up to the need to reach out to an audience beyond that of their own followers, in particular to non-Muslims and to explain their stance to them. This follows mounting arrests and even killings of Muslims, many of them innocent, on charges of ‘terrorism’. Although on the whole unfortunate, this move to reach out to non-Muslims might have a welcome fall-out: they might help build important bridges of communication between Muslims and non-Muslims, promote much-needed inter-community solidarity and counter deeply-rooted communal prejudices. This effort is, however, hampered by the fact that the Muslim religious leaders who have organized these meetings have few, if any, relations with non-Muslim organizations, activists and media professionals who could have helped relay their message to a broader non-Muslim audience. Hence, most of their meetings have been both addressed and attended by Muslims themselves, reducing them largely to exercises in preaching to those who are already convinced of the argument that Islam has no relation with terrorism.

These meetings clearly suggest the growing willingness on the part of influential sections of the Muslim religious leadership to bring internal contestations about Islamic authenticity into the public domain and to openly deny the claims to such authenticity on the part of such fringe elements that target innocents in the name of Islam. By explicitly condemning acts of terrorism as anti-Islamic, even if these are carried
out by groups that claim to be ‘Islamic’, they clearly indicate the possibilities of developing alternate forms of religious expression that condemn terrorism in all its forms and stress the need for inter-community solidarity for social justice.

Significantly, these meetings have sought to widen the scope of public debate about ‘terrorism’ by also raising the issue of forms of terrorism engaged in by a range of non-Muslim actors, something that the dominant Western and Indian media have been reluctant
to discuss, name or even acknowledge. They have, accordingly, talked of the need to also condemn state terrorism, particularly American and Israeli, that has caused the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of people. They have condemned with equal passion the
terrorism of the Hindutva brigade, often abetted by elements in the Indian state apparatus. Surely, as these meetings appeal to us to acknowledge, the debate on terrorism must move beyond its misplaced obsession only with Muslims to cover all forms of terrorism if we are at all serious about combating the problem.

These meetings have also forcefully called for more terminological clarity and balance about the very concept of ‘terrorism’. They have pointed out that in the case of several Muslim groups and movements in certain countries, anti-imperialist resistance forces
that have taken to violence in self-defence cannot be branded as ‘terrorists’, as the dominant media generally does. This is most striking in the case of the Palestinian and Iraqi resistance movements, that may use an ‘Islamic’ vocabulary for their anti-imperialist agenda.

It is significant to note that while denouncing terrorism done by Muslim groups (and simultaneously condemning terrorism engaged in by states and by non-Muslim forces), these meetings have not explicitly critiqued any Muslim group engaged in terrorism by name. Nor have these meetings sought to critique the interpretations of Islam articulated by these groups in any detailed manner, beyond simply announcing that Islam has no relation with terrorism. This perhaps emanates from a fear of being attacked, even physically, if such groups were to be named. It could also indicate a reluctance to admit that some Muslims,
like some others, too might actually engage in terrorism. Whatever the reason, this silence surely reduces the impact that these meetings might have otherwise had in countering terrorism in the name of Islam engaged in by some fringe groups.

The debate about ‘terrorism’ needs to move beyond the parallel sets of monologues engaged in by Muslim groups and their detractors. The series of anti-terrorism meetings organized recently by various Muslim groups across India has sought to do this in a limited way, although this effort has been marred by a lack of sufficient internal critique. That said, these meetings are undoubtedly a very welcome and significant development.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.