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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Islamic Power Play!

Every few months another story hits the news: Terrorist plot uncovered, Muslims implicated.

Since the tragedy of 9/11, Muslims have remained under intense scrutiny, and more than a few North Americans and Europeans have called the religion "evil."

(The fact of the matter is that it is a small number of the extremist clergy who are "evil." The sheep just follow them like......... sheep!)

People still wonder: Why aren't Muslims saying--or doing--enough to condemn terrorism and violence? Is Islam really a religion of violence?

The truth is, American Muslims are constantly condemning terrorism and religious extremism, unambiguously and in the strongest possible ways.

But, many Muslims complain, their words and actions are not being heard!

So we sought out some of the country's most prominent Muslims, who battle these misconceptions everyday, to get their answers on this question:

What is it about Islam, the Qur'an, and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad that drives Muslims to reject extremism and terrorism?

Shahed Amanullah, Journalist
Amanullah has harnessed the power of the Internet to spread a positive view of Islam. He is one of the country's foremost Muslim journalists. He is the editor of altmuslim.com, a Muslim news website, and founder of Halalfire Media, a network of Muslim-themed websites with more than five million annual visitors. Through his work Amanullah has tapped into a strong force of online activism.

"Islam stresses public order and the rule of the law. Terrorism destroys this social order and decreases the tranquility of life that Islam emphasizes. ... " During the life of the Prophet Muhammad, whenever there was a choice between conflict and social order, he always chose the path of least violence unless forced to do otherwise. The Qur'an has a strong ethical orientation to help people regardless of their religious affiliation and calls people to faith based on reason and spiritual intuition, not force. Terrorism is an imposition of force and fear to change the minds of people. Muslims must show non-Muslims the beauty of our religion, create peace between peoples, and promote justice and the rule of law. Terrorism runs counter to all these values, and therefore absolutely goes against Islam." -- Shahed Amanullah

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Civic and Social Leader
When Mattson was elected president of the Islamic Society of Northern America (ISNA) in 2006, she became the first woman to lead one of the most powerful Muslim social, civic, and political organizations in the country and America's largest, most inclusive Islamic group. Mattson leads ISNA at a challenging time when American Muslims are struggling to promote their religion, encourage interfaith dialogue, and separate themselves from the views of extremists.

"Americans should turn off the TV and look for opportunities to get to know their Muslim neighbor because it will alleviate a great deal of fear and anxiety. The most important teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on this issue are about the rights of the neighbor, and that the neighbor has rights on a Muslim that are almost as strong as the rights of family. No one can be called a true believer if his neighbor, or anyone in his community, is afraid of him--these are the guiding principles for the vast majority of Muslims. It's these teachings that make those Muslims want to be good citizens and good friends to those people around. Terrorism isn't part of our religion, and never has been." --Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf, Religious Leader
One of the most sought-after American Muslims speakers, Rauf is an imam in New York City, a participant in Beliefnet's "Preachers and Teachers," feature, and the chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, a multi-faith organization that seeks to improve relations between the Islamic world and the West. As the author of several books, including "What's Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West," Rauf is on the front lines of interfaith dialogue.

"The Holy Qur'an teaches us that "Whoever kills a human being ... it is as if he has killed all humankind; and if he saves a human life, it is as if he has saved the lives of all humankind (Qur'an 5:32)." Islam condemns the abuse of religion by fanatics whose purpose is to rouse hate and beget further violence. Nothing is as antithetical to all religion as when wanton violence is wreaked by extremists. Millions of Muslims live in peace with the world around them. They are examples of Islam's true harmony and are fighting against terrorism through dialogue, knowledge, and outreach. And the Prophet of Islam serves as the ultimate example of compassion and love to Muslims. So to sink to violence against innocents serves no purpose in Islam." --Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf

Salam Al-Marayati, Political and Civic Leader Al-Marayati is the man Muslims turn to for guidance in political and civic activism. As the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an organization dedicated to changing public opinion and policy, Al-Marayati has encouraged Muslims to get involved in anti-terrorism efforts like the National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism, which guides imams and mosque leaders to cooperate with law enforcement in exposing individuals with extremist ideas within the Muslim community.

"Non-Muslims should know that Islam is based on three things: The belief in One God, service to humanity, and the teachings of mercy, compassion, and justice. Islam has no room for terrorism, and Islam obligates us to counter terrorism. The Prophet to me stands for love of humanity, compassion to the stranger, and servant to the people. And the Qur'an repeatedly teaches us not to allow any self-destructive behavior, whether through suicide or through harming innocent people in our surroundings. We have been given a trust as human beings to fight oppression and to care for humanity. The Qur'an states: ... 'It is God's will that you become a community of the middle way.' That has been interpreted by several Islamic scholars as the call for moderation." --Salam Al-Marayati

Daisy Khan, Activist
Khan, the founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, is a driving force behind youth and women's movements in American Islam. She organized the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (which advises youth to reconcile varying ideologies within Islam) and the Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity (WISE), a 2006 project that gathered 100 of the world's most influential Muslim women last year to develop a Shura (Muslim law) council to advance gender equality.

"Islam shares the ethical foundations of Christianity and Judaism: To love God and our fellow human being, commit to social justice, diversity, and pluralism, and struggle for moral uprightness....." The Prophet Muhammad cautioned Muslims, ... 'Beware of extremism in the religion.' He is known to have repeatedly emphasized the middle path of moderation and gentleness traveled by most of today's Muslims. The Qur'an continually warns believers against extremism and any kind of excess: 'Do not exceed the bounds in your religion,' and ... 'Commit not transgression therein, lest My anger should justly descend upon you.' From an Islamic perspective, zealotry and extremism signify a tendency away from what is deemed moderate and balanced. So we continue to condemn the violence and senselessness of terrorism and the devastation it wreaks on us all." --Daisy Khan

I personally believe it is the fault of the Muslim (Islamic Extremist) clerics who are no different than their Christian counterparts of five hundred to a thousand years ago.

These guys don't want women to be equal, they don't want to give up their positions of power and importance and most of all, like all of us, they don't want change.

That is the primary reason they see American and Western ideals and lifestyles as a threat to their very existence and will send an endless supply of young idealists to their deaths in suicide bombings.

The poor sons-of-bitches need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the twenty first century. Period!

Your "behind the scenes" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 at www.God-101.com

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