Why Islam is Winning
Though the West isn't paying attention, Muslim leaders continue to separate Islam from terrorism. Maybe it's time to wake up.
"Where are the Muslim voices of condemnation?" "Why don't we hear from the 'moderate Muslims?’"
Theclaim that Muslims have not condemned violence in the name of Islam
continues to be madead infinitum
, despite its falsity and theoverwhelming evidence
to the contrary. But those who wish to smear Islam and Muslims still make waves in the public domain because the voices of moderation within the Muslim community are largely ignored by the mainstream media in the West. Is this an old argument? Definitely. But it's a true one that must persistently be brought to light as long as various right-winged pundits trot out this allegation.
Every time Osama bin Laden or his deputy Aiman Al Zawahiri makes a statement, it is reported by most major media outlets. Yet, when a highly respected Muslim religious institution makes an announcement condemning terrorism as inherently un-Islamic (or introduces a new program to combat extremist thinking), it is hardly reported.
Case in point:The Deoband Declaration
Never heard of it? Same here--until a colleague pointed it out to me as a statement released in February to little fanfare in the West. I do not remember anything being mentioned of this declaration in the Western press. In fact, when I did a Google search of the Deoband declaration to get more background, most of the sites popping up were Indian/South Asian sites. (Though Beliefnet did cover it as a news story) It should have been big news.
The Darul Uloom at Deoband, founded in 1866, is the most influential Muslim religious school in South and Southeast Asia. It is, in fact, the second most important institute of Islamic learning after Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. The statements, declarations, and fatwas that come from this institute hold big weight in the Muslim world.
At its "All India Terrorism Conference," held on February 25, 2008, the institute declared:
"[At] this All India Anti-Terrorism Conference attended by the representatives of all Muslim schools of thought organized by Rabta Madaris Islamiah Arabia (Islamic Madrassa Association), Darul Uloom Deoband condemns all kinds of violence and terrorism in the strongest possible terms."
Maulana Marghoobur Rahmad of Darul Uloom said, "There is no place for terrorism in Islam. Terrorism, killing of the innocent, is against Islam."
This statement should have a significant impact as many extremist leaders, including Mullah Omar of the Taliban, have claimed to be associated with Deoband's religious schools. With this statement, the Deoband scholars are trying to pull the rug of religious legitimacy out from under the murderous fanatics who have done so much harm in the name of Islam. They must be commended for it.
Still, this really should come as no surprise. Although I am not a scholar, all my reading of Islamic scripture and teachings have informed me that violence against the innocent is totally abhorrent in Islam. One does not need to be a scholar to fully grasp this understanding; it virtually screams out of Islamic teachings--if anyone is willing to listen. And I do wonder why it took the Deoband Institute so long to make this declaration, especially after the 9/11 atrocity was linked to so-called Muslims.
Still, the declaration has been made. But almost no one in the West--this author included-- even heard a peep about it. (A notable exception to this is Israeli columnist Bradley Burston, who made note of the declaration in hisFebruary 29th column in Ha'aretz
.) This must change. Having said that, however, we must also realize that the Deoband Declaration is just another salvo in the "war on terrorism"--not the war launched by the West against Al Qaeda, but the internal "war on terrorism" that is being waged every single day within the Muslim world.