In generations that followed, Muslims did produce some pious saints, Mullahs, brilliant scholars and scientists, revolutionary thinkers and writers who made big contributions in improving the society and goading it towards progress, keeping the flame of Islam lit, but the suffering still continued.

In Islamic society mullahs have always played a forceful role, because the power of Islam springs from mosques and religious organizations. Muslims, as a rule, listen to their religious leaders and frame their lives according to their guidance. Though there are some very noble and right-thinking mullahs who always preach peace and brotherhood, few mullahs mislead the people. They give their own interpretations of Quran, sow seeds of hatred towards those belonging to other sects of Muslims or other religions. Some incite acts of violence and create general unrest. In such an atmosphere it is obvious that development gets stunted and people get confused, disunited and even violent. Today, there are some 1.7 billion Muslims in the world and more than fifty Muslim nations. Almost all these nations are called third world countries, and they depend on foreign help for their very survival.

Confused and unable to fight foreign influence, some so-called Muslim groups like ISIS, Al-Quaida, Boko Haram, and Hamas use the means of violence, terror, mass killings and destruction of properties and suicide bombings that as a matter of fact lead them nowhere, but create general insecurity and loss of innocent lives, besides scarring the true Muslim image.

This then is the image of a Muslim in the west, only because of the deeds of a few extremists and misguided groups. The image must change, sooner the better. This can only happen if Muslims realize their plight, create a unity among themselves, try to make the radical groups understand their folly, get proper and systematic education, embrace true Islamic values and work for the betterment of mankind.

Role of the West

In the interest of world peace and progress, all western leaders would do well to show more understanding and consideration towards Muslim countries, particularly those ravaged by wars and internal conflicts, help them ease their sufferings and extend a little more cooperation and goodwill. It is heartening to note that US President Obama is doing just that. Super power remains a super power only when it lifts mankind higher.

Restoring the Image

Though Muslims have erred, as all nations err sometimes, all is not lost. There are still some dedicated persons from all walks of life who are tirelessly involved to restore the tarnished image. There are some great Islamic societies and institutes particularly in the West which are having a positive and powerful impact on Muslims and non-Muslims. Muslims fortunately have a new inspired younger generation in many countries, educated and technologically advanced. The generation is morally sound, mentally positive, which denounce violence and prefer negotiations and dialog to redress the grievances of Muslims and achieve universal peace. This new generation will hopefully produce leaders and rulers who preach peace, love and brotherhood, instigate people to develop compassion and kindness and work for the betterment of their countries. With a fair sense of justice they would look after the welfare of their people and keep the machinery of progress running, at the same time extending their hands in cooperation and friendship with other countries. It is then that the true Muslim image will be restored.

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