Uniting Against Radicalism?
Radical tendencies, irrespective of their origin,
are one of the most dangerous threats to world peace and security.
Radicalism means to advocate fundamental and sudden changes by means
of uncompromising and hard-line policies. In an environment where
mutual acceptance and understanding have ceased to exist, people
begin to feel animosity toward different ideologies or races without
knowing what the other party really represents or believes.
In our own time, radicalism has emerged among Muslims,
Christians, and Jews. This situation is abused and taken advantage
of by proponents of Samuel Huntington's proposed clash of civilizations
theory. The scale of radicalism's threat to world peace has become
apparent in the 9/11 attacks on the United States and its consequences.
The fact that these attacks are widely believed to have been carried
out in the name of Islam resulted in a great deal of prejudice against
Muslims and misunderstanding of Islam. Given the fact that Islam
prohibits all acts of violence and aggression, most of the Islamic
world condemned these terrorist attacks. Muslims prayed alongside
Christians for the innocent lives lost, and American Muslims rushed
to the aid of the victims. Despite this, prejudice against Muslims
in the United States and some European countries has vastly increased,
and incidences of violence have been reported. In order to eradicate
radicalism and its damaging consequences, cultural and educational
campaigns designed to reach all sections of society must be organized.
We can list the topics and the responsibilities of various sections
of society to be covered by this program, as follows:
An awareness that radicalism, an extremist tendency
that is incompatible with true religious morality, must be defeated
ideologically so that its claim to be acting in the name of religion
can be exposed as false. People of all three divinely revealed religions
must be told that they have a responsibility to be compassionate,
patient, gentle, friendly, polite, and respectful. They have to
be made aware that God forbids violence, aggression, and anything
that harms innocent people. They must understand that it is wrong
to go down that path. These efforts will ensure that all radicals
will be recognized as misguided liars and thereby prevented from
finding new recruits.
A program must be designed to give full and accurate
information about all parties involved in the conflict, so that
international dialogue becomes possible. An important step toward
mutually friendly relations is the creation of an environment in
which Jews, Christians, and Muslims can begin to know each other's
beliefs, traditions, and rituals better. This can be done through
cultural and educational programs. As people come to know each other
better, they will realize that they have many things in common.
This, in turn, will make reconciliation possible. Muslims, Christians,
and Jews should tell one another about their respective worldviews
in line with God's divine books of revelation, thereby preventing
the mutual misunderstanding and radicalism caused by a lack of accurate
The media must support the cultural activities
necessary to create an environment conducive to international dialogue.
They should refrain from sensationalism, which incites violence
and segregation, and focus on broadcasts that encourage moderation
and acceptance. Carefully prepared broadcasts by the western media
will play an important role in eradicating the currently widespread
anti-Muslim prejudice. Muslim media organizations, for their part,
must refrain from broadcasts and opinions that incite hatred toward
non-Muslims and concentrate instead on cultural and spiritual education
in the Islamic world.
Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders
and opinion makers must identify people who are bent on portraying
myths and false beliefs as part of the religious code. They must
teach people that God commands believers to be balanced and gentle,
and that all extremism is contrary to religious morality. Political
leaders must support this awareness campaign in order to prevent
extremism in society and to prepare the ground for moderation.
These and similar joint efforts will eradicate
the conditions conducive to radicalism. In Qur'an 2:113, God reveals
that the Jews claimed that the Christians "have nothing
to stand on" and vice versa. In reality, God knows best
who is right, which is why genuine believers must seek to draw closer
to God instead of accusing one another. The following verse reveals
that people who act otherwise are wrong:
The Jews say: "The Christians have nothing
to stand on," and the Christians say: "The Jews have nothing
to stand on," yet they both recite the Book. Those who do not
know say the same as they say. God will judge between them on the
Day of Resurrection regarding the things about which they differ.
Eradicating the harm caused by Jewish, Christian,
and Muslim radicals is possible only if all moderate, peace-loving,
civilized, and genuinely religious people cooperate and form an
alliance. Such an alliance will defeat those who present war and
conflict as the only option, and disprove the assertions of those
who advocate a show of force as the only way to achieve security
and prevent further bloodshed, tears, and material damage.
Qur'anic Morality Forbids Extremism
Islamic societies have been centers of mutual acceptance
and goodwill toward non-Muslims throughout history, particularly
in our Prophet's (may God bless him and grant him peace) time.
Radicalism is an ideological movement and political
approach that is foreign to Islam. When radical groups are examined,
it gradually becomes clear that they are, in reality, using a compilation
of communist slogans and methods or that they have adopted the "fanatical
rage of the Time of Ignorance" (Qur'an, 48:26). One of the
common characteristics of such ideologies is their emotional force,
an underlying cause of radicalism that is totally incompatible with
God's commands. The Qur'an describes Muslims as people who control
their anger and who are reasonable, moderate, and tolerant. Muslims
must be polite and respectful when interacting with people of different
beliefs and ideologies.
All Muslims must refrain from a harsh, angry, and
challenging approach, for these are contrary to the Qur'an's method
and essence. Instead, Muslims must adopt the accepting, moderate,
calm, and rational approach described in the Qur'an. In other words,
they must be role models for humanity and earn people's admiration
for the morality of Islam and themselves. Muslims should also make
great progress and produce superb works of science, culture, art,
and aesthetics, as well as live Islam in the best way, and thus
represent it to the world.