We can assume safely that a large population of the western world thinks of Islam as a religion spread by sword -which of course is totally & utterly untrue. Take Egypt for example, well lets just say if the above mentioned point was true, then by now there would have been no Christians in my country who can read this, let alone be very good friends with-. They (the western people) think that Islam in essence is a violent primitive way of life, which will naturally lead to us all being terrorists (if not retarded) in our modern time.
People fear what they not know of, a fact established ages ago (lessons learned from history classes), throw in some misconception and some anti-Islam mass media and you will find it is easy to get the wrong idea, an opinion becomes fact with time if not challenged, and sadly we try to change the perception of Islam to one individual at a time, while what is needed is general awareness to the masses.
An American was once asked –in an effort to measure the awareness of people towards the Muslims and Islam- what is the holy month for Muslims and the answer was” Jihad”, and that stroked me on so many levels (laughing a sad laugh was the first), and before I go on tackling the points I would like to first explain Jihad.
Jihad is the action of spreading; protecting and striving for the prosperity of Allah’s word by sacrificing one’s self or money at the least, by not giving in to your worldly desires, to be a true Muslim by abiding the teachings of Qu’aran and Sunna, to defend against those who oppress (conquer) you and to stand up to those who insult you, your religion, your prophet and God. In all previous statements the military aspect of Jihad is for defensive purposes by all means (check the fore mentioned comment).
Now back to the levels of strokes when I saw this, first, we don’t have a so called month (not many who could answer this), second, the perception is so much diluted about Muslims that this term came up as an answer, third, people are not even trying to understand and that’s why something like that came out as an answer, just imagine the following scene. Aslam Alykoum brothers, the month of Jihad draws near people and you know what that means, we get to blow up some infidels in celebrations of the holy month, so for this year we the brotherhood were thinking of a new place to bomb, since 9-11 and its just been hard to do USA anymore, this year we maybe try some place exotic. Somewhere with beaches and cocktails to sip in the heat, location will be determined shortly but as usual I want our brothers to go in full disguise with turbans, long beards and galbiyas (the male version look like dress that u see in TV), don’t forget to show the bomb belt, and may I remind you, we do it with style, take care of how you look maybe someone will end up on CNN TV and we want to look presentable, so don’t forget to smile…You never know who we might bomb!
The funny thing about the scene above is, it didn’t happen and most likely never will, attacks were never made based on religious beliefs as people presume, it’s more a matter of nationalism. Didn’t read a headline that we terrorized Hawaii, Germany, India, Canada, Mexico, France, New Zeeland , Australia etc.., as far as I can tell with that mind set all of the above mentioned are infidels, but that’s not the case is it.. Even bombing done in Israel is coming from the resistance, you never heard of AlQa’da doing an attack on Tel-Aviv, which proves that it is not religious based intentions, it’s just more likely that a fanatic (specially the religious type) will get riled up and go do something like that (“the terroristic act”). This in no way agrees to the act of terrorism done but it merely tries to show that not All Muslims think that way, u never ever see a Sheikh (that’s like a priest) order out an attack or is the head of small army, terrorism is a cowardly act and it is easy to take up religion as a cover for almost doing anything. (An example comes to mind…. the “Holy Crusade” was waged under false pretensions of religious glory)
One of Islam’s teaching and a critical one at that, is to believe in and respect (again believe in and respect) the former holy religions before us, with all the abuse happening to us never once did you see a comic strip making fun of Jesus, a sketch ripping on Moses, writings even with pre-opinionated hardcore Muslim ridiculing Christianity or Judaism, those who read will not even find attacks on Buddhism (although I can practice my right to freedom of speech, but if that does happen, I wonder if it will be left unpunished or not protested against). A respect to all religions is dictated to us and that respect should be mutual, don’t presume that if you make fun of me and my prophet that I will take it lightly, the middle eastern nations in essence are a tight religion abiding people be that Muslim, Christian or Jewish,
You don’t see us burning down churches in France in reply to the oppression served long ago, nor are we killing British in order to pay back the 70+ years of colonization. And that I believe only strengthens/clarifies (if not prove) my point
So why is it we are perceived as a blood thirsty always angry people? We are the ones being slaughtered, oppressed, belittled, frustrated and feared from. And sometimes an unimaginable reaction (of a terroristic nature) is unleashed in response. While other acts done of invasion are called protecting and promoting democracy. Another fact of life people… Rules and laws are written by those the strongest.
Its not that most of the American population is ignorant or oblivious to the matters of the world around them, that I generalize the concept that they are all idiots and more importantly act upon it (we just make fun of it).
The problem in the past mentioned ideology I believe is because of misinterpretation of words, of what -for example- Jihad stands for to me and its meaning to you, and the issues of misunderstood teachings, words or intentions - to count a few- are why we are debating, talking and trying to come to a solution. In root the real issue is that of the public themselves carrying out the teachings of the Islam, how can you expect someone who doesn’t respect the law, a guy being oppressed by governments, someone who knows not of system and order, a man whose rights are being squandered (in many cases not even know what his rights are), to represent Islam. It might as well be back in the old ages when we were still riding camels and having our houses on our backs (tents), yes now we have cars and skyscrapers and 5 stars hotels, yet the mentality stayed the same (and yah we still have some so called individuals with the above descriptions).
It is said in our holy Qu’aran that Allah will not change a nation’s fate (to the better) unless the people first change what’s inside them… In short be a true Muslim and Islam will flourish, and flourish here doesn’t mean going to war or bombing more cities, simply it means people will recognize Islam for how great, peaceful & wonderful logical religion it is, and naturally that all will want to embrace such a beautiful thing (It’s the fastest growing religion in the world). What I ask of people is to ask and not presume, to give chance and not judge, to be a better person and help make others better. For that matter…in attitude, be Muslim
Some links and mentions that may be usefull, of course u can find vids on youtube.
Dr. Zakir naik