Misconception Vs. True Face Of Islam

Saturday, May 30, 2009

There is a face of Islam the world does not know.

By Amit Pyakurel

Fair distinction is needed between the concept of Islam and some of its unfair practices. The newly bred term “Islamophobia,” is feared to be infiltrating the mentality of the Western, European and other societies. It may be putting forth unnecessary prejudice and negative speculation against the Islam by the non-Muslims, so we need to ascertain how relevant the term is in itself. Is it about fearing all aspects of Islam, or fearing only some of its distorted or misinterpreted values, which are perceived to lead to radicalism, fundamentalism, discrimination or even terrorism?

There is one adage that the term “Islamophobia” is deceptive and the phobia (fear) is illogical. Perceivably, what is to be feared is the Political Islam, or some practices in it that sound ethically wrong.
The world media is saturated with the terms Islamic Fundamentalism, Islamic Radicalism and Islamic Terrorism, causing all the havoc or negative backlash against believers of the religion. We need to separate “Islamic” out of these generally unwelcome terms. Maybe the discontent is not with the Islam, but with the very bad aspects associated with the religion. Negative stereotypes abound because the majority of those perpetrating world terrorism, such as al Qaeda, are Muslims.

But does it mean that all the people in Islam have to bear the responsibility for the unruly characteristics of some of the people in the religion, who have nothing to do with the moderate lots? Certainly not! It may be only a coincidence that the majority of world terrorists are Muslims. It’s not ethical to associate Islam with the unruly characteristics followed by some of its less moderate believers.

It’s of course not reasonable for the West, and the rest of us, to fear Islam as a religion, its genuinely humanistic teachings or its deference to the lord, Allah. While criticizing bad practices of Islam, it’s extremely essential not to impose any hatred or contempt against ordinary and moderate Muslims. And it would be more genuine if, not only non-Muslims, but all the intellectual and moderate believers of Islam come forward to refute and discourage the wrong practices in Islam as well as to uphold the good practices in it and to highlight Islam as being an equally good religion as others.

Some call this distinguishing and questioning by non-Muslims “intruding” in Islamic norms. Though I am not a stern believer or blindly faithful, I happen to be a Hindu by religion. And I certainly don’t mind if anyone criticizes the unfair norms or distorted or misinterpreted practices of any doctrine in my religion. Criticisms could help provoke changes for good. Couldn’t it be viewed just from the humanist point of view rather than from any religious or cultural phenomenon? Arguably, we could.

We could be right to question the “unfair practices.” But what if the Muslims in their country and living abroad, especially in the Western or European countries, are misunderstood, annoyed, and intimidated, simply because they are from the religion? It’s definitely unethical and we can’t refrain to deem that such belief resembles inadequate knowledge about the religion.

The Vienna-based European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, which tracks ethnic and religious bias across the 25-nation EU, has cautioned in a recent report that Muslims routinely suffer acts ranging from physical attacks to discrimination in the job and housing markets. Beate Winkler, the group’s director said that the key word is “respect.” “People need to feel respected and included. We need to highlight the common ground that we have.” Winkler said that since the September 11, 2001 attacks, many of Europe’s nearly 13 million Muslims feel “put under a general suspicion of terrorism.” The 117-page report underpins the increasing urgency of dealing with the religious tensions in Europe.

For instance, especially in Western or European nations, it’s certainly ironic and unfair that if a crime is committed by a Muslim, chances are high that it may be linked with “terrorism” or “Jihad.” This highly reflects a prejudiced notion and, as the scholars in Islam argues, that “Jihad” doesn’t encourages terrorism or nonsensical murders, here the accusers must need to rethink their claimings. Such crimes could have been solely committed by a criminal, and it may have nothing to do with Islam or Jihad. As there is no significance to criticize if the unfair practices or some cultural aspects in Islam are questioned, it’s equally refutable that many Muslims are subjected to prejudiced discrimination and intimidation simply due to their adherence or recognition with the religion.

All religions and customs are made by humans, and we can’t deny that there could be some flaws in them. This is relevant in speaking about Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and so on. Any cultural idea or practice deserves to be analyzed and examined. Our nationalism, culture and religion are our dignity. We should be ready to prevent and uphold our identity, but this doesn’t mean we are exempt from having moral criticisms against our practices, no matter which religion or culture we belong to.

Article taken Froem: Orato.com