Muslims: A Matter of Perception

I just finished reading a string of comments claiming one after another how the “majority ‘Moderate Muslim’ population” is not doing anything to denounce the radical Muslims which means that they are, in actuality, in agreement with their actions.  It all stemmed from a rather pleasant read from the CNN article which was stating that the Muslims who speak out against the radicals are then labeled as “not following Islam properly” and therefore incapable of speaking for Islam.  This entire ideology renders me speechless.  And this is exactly what led to me to sit down in the middle of the night, 3 am to be exact, to express my confusion and bewilderment.

On the first point of the self-labeled-intellectualist, I would like to know what their suggestions are for the Muslims to do against the radicals.  According to the article, there are 93% of moderate Muslims in the world in comparison to 7% of radicals that have dominated today’s news with their violent actions.  As far as I have heard and read in numerous places, the scholars right here in the United States have continuously spoken against terrorism in plain words.  In fact, I remember an interview by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf in which he explains that terrorism is not part of Islam when the anchor does not fail to inject – and I paraphrase that here – “but you say that because you grew up in the West.”  It seems clear that all his efforts of explanations were useless because they did not match the anchor’s expectations as dictated by the radicals. In the present scenario, the very CNN article is obviously against the violence and yet hundreds of comments below continue to say that “we don’t hear anything from the moderate 93% of the Muslims.”

Let us assume that the reader is not satisfied with a western scholar denying terrorism.  He would be more satisfied with reading about scholars in the Muslim world speaking against the terrorists.  Being a Pakistani myself, I know most about the Islamic happenings in that part of the world.  Did anyone notice the convention that they had with the most respected scholars of the country that came together to denounce such actions?  That might not seem important enough to some but then I would like to remind them that as of now, Pakistan is currently involved in a very heavy war against terrorism in its own turf.  That convention happened in the middle of an Islamic country which is being plagued by many of those 7% terrorist who are not afraid to call every Pakistani who does not follow their ideology non-Muslim.  Not to mention, the suicide bombers, road side bombs, random shootings are not hard to miss during this war which has claimed many innocent lives.  And in that entire ordeal, an Imam was killed with such a suicide bomber after he proclaimed that the extremist actions were indeed un-Islamic.

The self-proclaimed-intellectualists continue to ask, ignoring all the efforts that Muslims have been doing to scream that violent tendencies are against Islam, if moderate Muslims have done anything at all.  I would like to ask him or her in return:  What would you have us do?  As a moderate Muslim, you are telling me to do something.  What exactly would you suggest?  I already make a point of the innocence of Islam in my daily conversations with friends and coworkers.  I am writing here on the web, as thousands of people, fearlessly opposing the radical acts.  I stand as an example of a peaceful person as Islam wants us to be as will undoubtedly be attested by my friends and coworkers.  Am I to follow the example of the exact people I am opposing and run into a terrorist camp myself with bombs strapped around me to prove the point? Am I to brandish a weapon and run into the stronghold in Afghanistan and do what they have done to others?  Will that do enough? I am assuming that you do not agree with these options because they do everything but go with humanity.

As Muslims in the west, we have done everything just short of that.  We have dominated the media to the best of our ability and proclaimed the true teachings of Islam.  Whether the news outlet chooses to air them or not is their choice since it does not come close to stirring emotion that a terrorist attack does.  Our Muslims brothers and sisters are right now struggling in Pakistan trying to fight off the murderers parading the street with gun in one hand a Qur’an in another.  They are fighting in Afghanistan for decades against the Taliban and being persecuted and murdered in the process.  They are desperately trying to rid their nations with the disease of extremism that has affected millions of people around the globe.

Please tell us, what more can we do to show you that we are indeed peaceful and not agreeing with the hateful speech spoken and preached by those 7%?  It is my humble observation, and I say this with all due respect to those who vehemently deny any efforts by Muslims to go against violence, that you are not seeing what is laid out before you and are seeking only what you wish to seek.  That CNN article was yet another attempt to get that message across on behalf of the 93% moderate Muslims.  Did you hear it?  We certainly refuse to act like the radicals and run with torches in the streets.