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Friday, October 30, 2020
Muslims In Europe Should Reshape Their Approach Towards The People Of The Book
New Age Islam Special Correspondent
30 October 2020
Tomasz Borysiuk | During a far-right demonstration in Warsaw, on 11 November 2017.
The killing of a French Christian history teacher by a Chechen Muslim youth for showing blasphemous cartoons to his class has re-ignited the debate over growing militant Islamism and Islamophobia and has provided the French government with the justification to impose curbs and crack down on immigrant Muslims and their religious organisations.
To make matters worse, Al Qaida supporters gave a call to Muslims to attack French interests and the next day attacks in Nice and on the French Consulate in Saudi Arabia were carried out in which three persons were killed. This will only aggravate the situation and the immigrant Muslims in France will face greater discrimination and harassment by the Islamophobic section of French society, the government and the media.
The statement of Malaysia's senior leader Mahathir Mohammad that 'Muslims have the right to kill millions of French people' blurs the line between terrorist idelogy and the mainstream Islamic thought.
Therefore, the incident has only provided the ISIS and Al Qaida with a golden opportunity to win sympathy and support of the common Muslims.
The Muslim diaspora in Europe consists mainly of immigrants from Pakistan, Chechnya, Middle East and African countries. There is a large population of Muslims who had to leave their countries in the wake of strife and civil wars. The European countries provided them with shelter and social and economic security.
The educated well-to do Muslims settled in the European countries because of greater personal and religious freedom and also because of better job opportunities.
But at the same time, extremist Muslim organisations and preachers associated with these ideologies settled in European countries with the objective of 'doing dawah work'. But the problem with these organisations was that their ideology was based on an extremist and supremacist interpretation of the Quran and hadith.
One of the organisations that played a greater part in the spread of extremist ideology among the Muslims of Europe was the Muslim Brotherhood. It formed the Muslim American Society which aimed to bring reformation in the American society through the propagation of Islam and ultimately turn the US into an Islamic caliphate.
That's why the French President had mentioned MB in his address and had expressed his resolve to liberate Islam from the 'foreign influences'.
After the rise of Al Qaida during the first decade of 21st century, this extremist ideolgy grew in Europe because the source of Al Qaida's ideology and of the Islamists was the same. Muhammad Qutub was the mentor of Osama bin Laden and is seen as a great scholar and exponent of Islam in the Muslim world. There are other similar exegetes and scholars of Islam who promoted an intolerant, supremacist and exclusivist interpretation of Islam in Europe.
The main problem with this ideolgy was that it promoted a ghetto mentality among the Muslims and projected the non-Muslims and the governments of their adopted countries as enemies and instilled in the Muslim psyche a sense of perennial victimhood.
The fact is that Islam does not preach Muslims to live in a ghetto or in isolation considering all the others as untouchables. It has raised Muslims as the best community for the welfare of the whole world, not for the Muslims alone A Muslim will always remain in the mainstream of the society and work for the welfare of the larger society and spread the message of Islam with love, perseverance, endurance, patience and sacrifice. He will not consider the non-Muslims his enemies or enemies of Islam. If people react to his Dawah work violently, he will not confront them.
On the contrary, Muslims of the Europe have developed a mind-set that runs contrary to the principles of the Quran. They have formed a parallel society, isolated from the mainstream society. They insist that they don't have to follow the law of the land because they have their own Sharia Law.
Muslims have abandoned the Dawah work because of this ideology of hate. They think that all the People of the Book are Kafirs (infidels) and so they should either be killed or subjugated by force. This way of thinking has created most of the problems they face today.
During the life of the prophet pbuh, he faced opposition and persecution from a section of Polytheists and Jews of Makkah but he did not consider all the polytheists and all the Jews the enemies of Islam. He still lived among them and preached the Deen. One of the Prophet's office secretaries was a Jew. Another Jew fought along with the Muslims in the Battle of Uhud and got martyrdom. The Prophet praised him and said that he was the best Jew. The Prophet pbuh maintained good relations with those Jews who honoured peace treaties with Muslims. The Quran also says that not all People of the Book are bad.
"A section of the People of the Book are on the right path"(Al-e-Imran:113)
The Quran also enjoins on Muslims to engage in interfaith dialogue and resolve their issues with dialogue and convey the message of Islam in peaceful manner. Here are the verses.
"Adopt forgiveness, and enjoin virtue and turn away from the ignorant."(Al Araf:199)
"Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice and only debate with them in the best manner."(Al Nahl:125)
"And when they hear idle talk they turn aside from it and say, 'we shall have our deeds and you shall your deeds, peace be on you and we do not desire the ignorant."(Al Qasas: 55)
All these verses make it clear that Islam preaches Dawah work with love, forgiveness and patience. When people turn violent and aggressive, the preacher turns away from them. He does not seek confrontation.
On the contrary, the Muslim organisations and preachers in Europe have an aggressive and violent approach to the 'non-Muslims' of Europe though in fact they are mostly People of the Book. Quran asks Muslims to engage in dialogue and interfaith debate with them to resolve all political and communal issues.
An aggressive and supremacist approach of Muslims to the People of the Book of Europe is at the root of the problem. The terrorist organisations active in the Europe have made the situation complicated. Because of this a lot of misconceptions and misunderstanding have spread about Muslims and Islam in Europe. Instead of working to project the right image of Islam and Muslims among the Europeans, our preachers and religious organisations have resorted to the path of isolation, ghettoisation and violence and overtly or covertly support the militant organisations.
Most of the preachers and imams of mosques and Islamic centres in Europe have Arabic or Egyptian names. Very few of them are natives. Most of the mosques in Sweden, the US and other European countries have been built with financial help from Saudi Arabia. These preachers have over the years promoted their own ectremist ideolgy and sectarian beliefs among the Muslims of Europe and the results are now showing.
Muslims of the Europe should reshape their approach towards the People of the Book and follow the guidelines of the Quran and emulate the Prophet pbuh while dealing with the issues of Muslims in the European countries.
An Islamic scholar Sheikh Ali al Yousuf, a member of International Union of Muslim scholars has realised the need to adopt peaceful means to resolve all the issues of European Muslims and projecting the right image of Islam there. Speaking to Channel 9 of Turkey he said:
"I think first of all, Muslims in France and in the West must be wise, and they must evaluate the outcome of matters, and the interest of Muslims in those lands. They should not react in ways that might cause a great amount of harm to Muslims in their countries. They have to make the use of all legal possibilities that they have in the West.."
To another question he further said:
"They have to integrate into French society more and more, so that the French society comprehends the nature of Islam and the Muslims. I am entirely convinced that if the French become familiar with Islam they will not be hostile towards it. Even that historian, Samuel, who spoke about Prophet Muhammad, if he had only known about the good qualities and moral values of Prophet Muhammad, he would not have done what he did. Therefore, Muslims must introduce the French and (other) westerners to our religion. Then no one will attack Islam and the Muslims. I must say that there is neglect in this respect. Presenting Islam in its right form is neglected."
This is the right approach that Muslims of Europe should adopt if they are really serious about the welfare of the immigrant Muslim community of Europe and about saving the image of Islam as a religion of peace.