Freedom of Religions

COMMENT – Islam, Terrorism and Jesus (as)

2 The Review of Religions – June 2007 Waqar Ahmad Ahmedi – Birmingham, UK EDITORIAL There has been much speculation and comment in the media attempting to explain the psyche of terrorists and their passion for causing maximum death and destruction in the name of God. Following the convictions in May of five men who were plotting attacks in Britain, less than two years after the 7/7 tragedy, the question still burns: what motivates an extremist minority to commit such evil? Mohammad Sidique Khan’s video message, recorded prior to the bombings, confirmed the most cited theory: Western foreign policy. He blamed not just leaders but even everyday citizens for atrocities against Muslims, an obvious reference to Iraq, Palestine and Chechnya. The British Government, of course, denied any wrongdoing that provoked the attack. For Prime Minister Tony Blair, this has always been about a ‘perverted and poisonous’ few with a mission to crush Western civilisation itself (The Independent, 14 July 2005). Indeed, the avowed motivation of militants like Khan, Khayam and the rest has never just been to ‘protect and avenge’ their brethren in faith, but is inspired by the vision of global Islamic hegemony that bullies the whole of mankind into submission. And much less apparent, though no less interesting, is a connection with probably a famous man to have walked this planet – Prophet Jesus(as). Muslims, like Christians, expect Christ to revisit the earth, a belief based on prophecies contained in their sacred scriptures. Yet the image of the returning Messiah, as painted by certain mullahs, would even send a shiver down George Bush’s spine. According to the mullahs’ literal interpretation of the prophecies, when the Prophet of Israel reappears, he will carry a sword, smash every crucifix in his sight and kill anyone rejecting Islam. This, for them, is Islam’s predicted pathway to success! To all who know and love Jesus(as), as one who personified love and forgiveness, the very thought is intolerable. It is also an interpretation founded on a gross misreading of religious texts that reject such notions outright. The Qur’an, for instance, opposes coercion in matters of conscience, declaring: ‘There should be no compulsion in religion…’ (Ch.2:V.257). To the young and impressionable, though, such dramatic portrayal of a quick and ruthless victory can be an attractive and exciting concept, avoiding the more arduous and intellectual route to solving world problems. Thus, what some are taught is that to be counted as true believers, and to help pave the way for such a Christ, they too must offer their lives. It is the highest form of sacrifice they believe will earn them eternal bliss. Equally, if not more worrying, is that this vile perception of Jesus(as), contrary to the Qur’an though it is, is espoused by many (though not all) of the same so-called ‘moderate’ Muslim leaders frequently heard denouncing terrorism. Be they imams or community spokesmen, most of them also believe in a warrior Christ. Whilst they may speak out against suicide missions, and deny responsibility for wannabe martyrs attending their mosques, matters are hardly helped by their own belief in a doctrine so deadly. It also seems hypocritical for them to condemn the callous murder of non-Muslims by radicals, whilst praying for Jesus(as) to come and do precisely that. Fortunately there are some groups – like the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – who have since their establishment consistently rejected outright the notion of a violent Jesus(as). As a result they have no problem of militancy (and certainly not terrorism) amongst their members. The solution, therefore, lies in addressing and 3 EDITORIAL The Review of Religions – June 2007 challenging the erroneous and misguided ideology of many Muslims. Such change can only be brought about by believers through jihad waged within their own communities that not only fights all forms of extremism, but roots out the very ideas that encourage it. This jihad must start with a reappraisal of the tenet of a cold and cruel Christ(as) – and booting out the so-called ‘moderates’ and militants who preach it. Failure to do so will mean that violence, discord and misery shall continue to plague the Muslim world. It will also ensure the breeding of yet more terrorists ready to strike anyone, anytime and anywhere. 4 EDITORIAL The Review of Religions – June 2007 Verse references to the Holy Qur’an item count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name of Allah…) as the first verse of each Chapter. In some non-standard texts, this is not counted and should the reader refer to such texts, the verse quoted in The Review of Religions will be found at one verse earlier than the number quoted. In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(saw)’ or ‘saw’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him. In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations of names of places are preferred to their anglicised versions, e.g. Makkah instead of Mecca, etc.