The voice of moderate Islam
Stabroek News
November 26, 2001

Dear Editor,

Could you please publish this article taken from the Sun Monday 19th Nov 2001 headlined "Why I, a muslim , deplore our extremists culture of hate".

As my fellow muslims reflect on the events in Afganistan this week, I hope they will find time for soul searching, reflection and reassessment. These are long overdue, what happened on September 11 will forever be a horrible scar on the history of our religion.

No matter how strongly we condemn the attacks, the fact remains that the accused have indicated that their motivation was Islam.Those who supported al-Qaida are hypocrites who ignore the verses in the Koran in which Allah says in unequivocal terms that to kill an innocent being is like killing humanity itself. He also encourages Muslims to forgive Jews and Christians if they have committed injustices against us.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Muslims have practised hypocrisy on a grand scale. They protest against the discriminatory practices of Israel but are silent against those in Muslim states. In the Gulf, salaries and even laws are based on ethnic origin. This is racism, but we never hear of Muslims protesting against it at international conferences.

Israel's occupation of the west bank and its treatment of the Palestinians are central to muslim grievances against the west. Such feelings are understandable. But I must remind my fellow muslims that, in the main, Israel treats its one million Arab citizens with greater respect and dignity than most Arab nations show to their own people. And what happens to the Palestinians who become refugees? In the USA, they can become citizens, in the Arab world, no Muslim country except Jordan extends this support to them. While we loudly condemn Israel, we are silent when Islamic regimes slaughter thousands of muslims. Remember Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against Muslim Kurds? The Pakistani army excesses against Muslim Bengalis? The mujahideen of Afganistan and their mutual slaughter? The culture of hate is tearing at the moral fabric of the Muslim society. Have we demanded international retribution against these oppressors? We are so focused on "the other" that we have forgotten the duty of Allah. In pursuit of the inferior jihad, we have sacrificed the superior jihad. The principal victims of hate filled politics are Muslims themselves. Hamas and Islamic jihad may kill a few more Jews with their suicide bombs, but thousands of palistinians then pay the price for their actions.

If Osama bin Laden were an isolated individual, there would be no real problem. But he has become a phenomenon, a cancer eating away at the morality of our youth. The century old Islamic revival is in jeopardy because we have allowed extremists to hijack it. We need to remember that our beliefs are not contingent on the moral conduct of America or Israel. Islam is about mercy, virtue, sacrifice and duty. Above all, it represents the pursuit of moral perfection.

Let us be prepared to suffer injustice rather than commit injustices. It is we Muslims who carry the divine burden of Islam. We have to be more forgiving if we wish to convince the world about the truth of our message. How can we let the message of Mohammed(praise be unto him),which was sent as mercy to mankind, become a source of horror and fear?

By Professor Muqtedar Khan. Mr Khan is the director of International Studies at Adrian College in Michigan. He was previously the managing editor of the Journal of Islamic and Arabic Studies, and is about to publish his third book , The Voice of Moderate Islam.

Yours faithfully,

Gary Bowman