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 Islam: Misunderstood throughout the World

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Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: Islam: Misunderstood throughout the World   Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:46 am

Islam: Misunderstood throughout the World[/b]

James A. Bill (professor of government and director of the Reves
Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary
in Virginia) writes - 'By the turn of the century, for the first time in
history, the number of Muslims (those who practice Islam) will
have surpassed the number of Christians in the world.
Islam is a monotheistic religion, civilization and way of life now
practiced by 1.1 billion people. Easily the world's fastest growing
religion, Islam is not confined to the Middle East. It is a truly
universal force. More Muslims live in America today than all the
Presbyterians and Episcopalians put together.

There are more than 1,200 mosques in the United States and 1000 mosques
in England, where the Muslim community has established its own national
parliament. There are more Muslims in Indonesia than in Egypt, Iran,
Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia put together. More live in Malaysia than in
Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait combined. Nearly 20 million Muslims live in

Wherever one looks, Islam is on the move. As the people of many
societies find themselves rootless, disconnected and alienated, they
increasingly seek help in a comforting Islamic ideological refuge. In a
world of incoherent violence, widening inequities, political
corruption and shattered families, many are massing behind the green
flag of Islam. This is essentially a populist movement, a bubbling up
from below, a march of the distressed, the dispossessed and the
oppressed. ....

… Although the great bulk of Muslims seek to improve their status
through quiet, moderate and pacific means, violent methods have been
adopted by fringe groups—elements also present in Christianity and
Judaism. Oblivious to their own profound ignorance and often harboring
crude political motivations, many Western opinion leaders consistently
label all Muslims with words such as 'aggressive', 'militant' and
'uncivilized'. Islam is the 'religion of the sword'; Muslim activists
are 'terrorists,' and Muslims countries that challenge Western policies
are 'outlaw states'.

Muslims themselves maintain quite a different worldview. It is in the
deepest interest of the United States to attempt to understand this
perspective. In brief, Muslims see themselves as the afflicted, not the
afflictors; they feel themselves desperately on the defensive,
not on the offensive; they consider themselves the objects of violence,
not the initiators of violence. In sum, Muslims across the
world consider themselves victims. In support of their position, Muslims
will take their Christian and Jewish neighbors on a quick
tour of the world. They inevitably begin with Bosnia, where nearly
200,000 Muslims have been slaughtered by Serbian Christians.
Muslims are horrified and sickened by the fact that 22,000 Muslim women,
aged 9 to 82, have been raped by Christian troopers. Muslims wonder
privately about the weak and very late Western response.

In Kashmir, Indian occupying forces violently oppress Muslims, killing
thousands of Kashmiris. Elsewhere in India in December 1992
and January 1993, violent Hindu mobs went on a rampage in Bombay,
killing over 800 Muslims, destroying 5000 Muslim homes and forcing
200,000 Muslims to flee the city. Mosques were firebombed and mothers
watched as their sons were pulled from their homes and slain or burned
alive. In Tajikstan and other places in Central Asia, the Communists
have made a comeback and, with the help of Russian troops, have attacked
and killed more than 20,000 Muslims. Another 350,000 have been forced
to flee.

Even in China, Muslims find themselves under heavy military pressure.
Chinese troops oppress Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang.

Even in many of the predominantly Muslim countries of the Middle East,
Muslims find themselves under attack where the leadership is
essentially secular. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein continues his war of
genocide against the Shi'ites in the south.

In Algeria, when the Islamists scored a surprise victory in the
December 1991 elections, the regime declared the election null and void.
Since then, Algeria has been the scene of a bloody civil war. The
government blames Islamic fundamentalists of striking terror in the very
same areas where they had received majority of votes from. The
governments explanation of fundamentalists unleashing waves of terror in
their own strongholds, sounds very plausible indeed and casts shadows
of dound over the credentials of the secular government instead.

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak's regime, facing widespread disaffection
of its people, pursues a policy of torture and execution of members of
the Muslim opposition. In March 1993, his troops fired upon 500 unarmed
Muslims at prayer in the Rahman Mosque in Aswan, killing nine and
injuring 50. In the West Bank, another more widely publicized mosque
massacre occurred a year later in Hebron when a Jewish settler killed 30
in a group of praying Muslims before the survivors could beat him to
death. This litany of anti-Islamic violence is recognized and recited by
Muslims everywhere. The situation is exacerbated when Muslims
incredulously find themselves labeled as terrorists and when Western
governments encourage their secular Middle Eastern allies to confront
Muslim populist movements with brute force. One result of these Western
perceptions and policies, of course, is that they begin to radicalize
the huge mass of moderate Muslim believers. Meanwhile, the extremists on
the fringes become more active and militant.

A vicious cycle of misunderstanding, misguided policy and increasing
violence has been set in motion. Before this vicious cycle begins to
spin wildly out of control, it is essential that non-Muslims make a
major effort to slow it down. Such an effort will, as the very first
step, require that stereotypes be discarded.

Second, recent history shows that the application of force is not always
an effective way of countering a system of deeply held ideas
and beliefs. The steady flame of resurgent Islam will not be
extinguished by the breeze of bullets or the blast of missiles. A
recently published report in Washington Post, confirms Islam to be the
fastest growing religion in the United States despite hostile
government policies and negative media stereotyping, only goes on to
prove the truth of this statement. It is time for everyone to take a
crash course on Islam. More recently, CNN too published a report, first
of US kind ever done in this part of the World, titled as:
Islam in US - Growing and maturing.'


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