Islam versus Islamism

Islam versus Islamism

This author, Prof. Hussein Solomon, lectures in the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, where he is also Director of the Centre for International Political Studies. The following can be read in its entirety at

…. Muslims are increasingly being turned off by the barbaric methods employed by Islamists.

In Iraq, unprecedented revulsion was displayed by Iraqi Muslims at the fact that young children were being recruited as suicide bombers by Al Qaeda. Two cases earlier this year illustrate the point well. In one incident, a young girl aged 13 exploded her suicide belt in Diyala, and in September, a 10-year old boy blew himself up next to Sheikh Imad Jassem, the leader of the Sons of Iraq in Tarmiya. Not only was Muslim public opinion affronted by the age of the suicide bombers, but also at the fact that they were recruited by coercive means and, in one case, did not even know that they were being strapped with an explosive device. …

This was recently repeated in India following a string of indiscriminate bombings that largely targeted innocent civilians and which were perpetrated by the Indian Mujahideen. In early November, 6,000 ulema and Muftis from different parts of India ratified the fatwa against terrorism issued by the powerful Darul Uloom Deoband, the renowned seminary and Islamic academic centre. In the process, these Muslim clerics were sending a powerful message to the Islamist extremists: You do not speak in our name!

Following the terrorist attack on Mumbai, Muslim clerics in India once again went on the offensive. Mumbai’s Muslim Council refused burial space to the terrorists killed in the Mumbai attacks, making it very clear that they do not regard these as Muslims. Muslim imams in Mumbai also called on the community to wear a black ribbon on Eid as an expression of solidarity with those killed. Meanwhile, the India Organisation of Imams of Mosques called on all mosques, muftis and madrassas to reiterate in this week’s Friday prayers that “Islam forbids the killing of innocent people and is against any form of terrorism. We are deeply aggrieved by the loss of human lives and especially by the brutal killing of Jews.”

As a Muslim, I have to admit that I was really proud of these imams. Muslims were coming to terms with the enemy within – those who seek to subvert the noble ideals of a great religion into one which would justify the brutal massacre of the innocent. Just as the Mumbai terrorists demonstrated that the targets of terror have no religion – Hindu, Jew, Christian and over 40 Muslims were killed in Mumbai – so too were these imams loudly proclaiming that terrorists have no religion – whether Timothy McVeigh, Yigal Amir or Osama bin Laden. This gives me hope that in the battle between Islam and Islamism, Islam will triumph in the end.

By | 2008-12-15T16:21:00-05:00 December 15th, 2008|Blog|0 Comments

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