Mainstream Muslims love peace
By Laura Ball
Groups sometimes claiming affiliation to each other and behaving in the same violent destructive and unreasonable way against mostly civilians include Al Qaeda Islamic State Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. Common people are prone to be frightened by acts of unprovoked terrorism against peaceful populations which are now taking place and being attempted in many countries across the world mostly in Muslim majority nations. Not only is not knowing the truth about our ‘new’ enemies disconcertingly confusing but it adds to the anxiety of many people.
A UN report from September 2014 gives a clear indication of those affected:“At least 24015” Iraqi civilians the vast majority of whom were Muslim had been killed or injured by IS in the first eight months of 2014. The authors of the report warned that their numbers were likely too low and did not include deaths from related causes such as lack of food medicine and clean water for refugees fleeing violence or trapped in IS-held areas. Some Christians and others were among those killed (a few in a highly publicised way) and many of the Muslims were ‘Shia’ however most of the attacks were pretty indiscriminate and harsh punishments are meted out to anyone in the area invaded who is not doing exactly what the terror group commands.
These extremist groups all have seemingly no proper knowledge of nor regard for Islamic morality in which the protection of peaceful civilian human rights is one of the most important principles including the freedom to choose their religion and way of life. In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center 85 percent or more of the population said they did not have a favourable view of IS in each of 11 nations with a significant number of Muslims including the Palestinian territories indicating the lack of Islamic support for the actions of IS.
An important point to notice is: Who are the main victims of all such attacks on Western soil? They are firstly members of the public often a very multicultural public including Muslims. Then after each attack some irresponsible commentators and media outlets arouse suspicion of all Muslims living in those countries or Muslim refugees fleeing war and trying to enter those countries. This gives rise to many Islamophobic verbal and physical hate-filled attacks on innocent Muslims who are peacefully going about their daily business. The fear of terrorism is spreading suspicion and in the worst cases insidiously turning people into the violent enemy they fear and hate! It is potentially a very divisive force. This is exactly the stated agenda of IS as many better educated people have realised.
Daily news reports show that Islamophobia is at an all-time high in America and Europe stimulated by one or two attacks on their people claimed to have been committed by those affiliated to IS as well as inflammatory statements by politicians to be such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson. At least ten Muslim families and individuals have recently been refused visas to travel to America for reasons that are not made clear or their visas have been revoked. A mysterious case was just reported from Australia where a non-religious Syrian born woman had her visa revoked. Reasons are not given even when the issue is pursued.
Most cruel of all is that the people whose countries are then bombed and effectively collectively punished for the terrorist incidents in the West are those already being terrorised oppressed attacked and slaughtered by the Taliban Al Qaeda and IS
Al Shabaab and Boko Haram groups in their midst. These are Muslim majority countries often at the heart of the historically great Islamic civilisation which are increasingly reduced to rubble chaos instability and sectarianism depopulating them and debilitating them and setting back their former path of affluence and development Iraq and Libya being previously two of those most wealthy and developed partly due to their oil reserves.
The result of all the turmoil is that Muslim majority countries are likely to end up to be pressured into being divided even further into smaller nation states against the will of most practising Muslims who want to be a cohesive worldwide community while retaining their own cultures where these do not contradict Islam. It is interesting to note that Muammar Gaddafi wanted to form a union of African countries and Saddam Hussein had long aspired towards Arab unity at least. These ambitions may have seemed dangerous to some. This is clearly a continuation of the colonial policy of ‘divide and rule’— ie keeping the population arguing with each other and thereby stay in power and control over them in this case steadily ripping the previous Islamic empire into shreds while extracting resources.
Most people fighting against the extremist terrorist groups verbally and physically are Muslims including thousands of Muslim scholars from around the world on TV radio social media and in the press. Authoritative Islamic organisations individuals and institutions truly representing all types of Muslims worldwide that have condemned IS as un-Islamic include: Al Azhar in Egypt the highest authority in Saudi Arabia Turkey’s top cleric the Arab League Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) both with very large membership in North America; Muslim Council of Britain — an umbrella group of hundreds of UK organisations of Muslims; 100 Sunni and Shia UK Imams; Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) and a group of thousands of Indian scholars. It is obviously not in the interests of the mainstream Muslim community to encourage acts or organisations spreading fear and terror.
Thirty-four Muslim nations of the Gulf Middle East Africa and Turkey and the Far East are now allies in attempts to defeat IS and Gulf states are in fact the main countries taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria over the last decade giving them visas housing education and health services and allowing them to work as well as funding emergency refugee camps in other countries.
Clearly the vast majority of the global more than 1.5 billion mainstream Muslim community are not the enemy of the American and European people. Nor are they the main threat to world stability justice and peace and Islam is not the problem. Muslims are largely the victims of most of the world’s violence. So many questions now need to be answered the main one being — who are the real enemy and what motivates them? Who are those that radicalise brainwash and train IS and others; that allow them freedom to use Twitter and other websites to groom and recruit new fighters; that give them medical support funds and supplies and buy their stolen oil? Who has an interest in dividing and weakening as well as destroying the Muslims and all evidence of their great civilisation and culture? Who profits from continuous and expanding wars? Who is interested in their lands and resources? And finally — whose power and hegemony feels threatened by the unity of the Muslims? It is vital and urgent that these questions are answered before many countries and innocent people become entangled in a highly destructive and widespread Third World War — that will still not get to the root of the problem.
Luzita Ball is a writer and editor with a Masters in Urban Regeneration.