Bob Makin, December 3, 2014
The Franklin chapter of WHY-ISLAM hosted a symposium on “Renouncing Religious Extremism” on Nov. 1 to promote the accurate teachings of Islam.
WHY-ISLAM, a project of Islamic Circle of North America, addresses a growing need for accurate information on Islam and Muslims, organizers said in a news release. Recent world events continue to paint a negative picture about religion, in general, and Islam, specifically, they said.
The resulting global environment harbors opportunities for confusion about the true teachings of Islam for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The symposium at East Brunswick’s Hammarskjold Middle School addressed a need to dispel misconceptions about the position of Islam on extremism.
In an age when terrorist groups are becoming increasingly influential, the symposium provided the perspective of notable Islamic scholars using evidence from authentic sources to renounce extremism, organizers said.
Renowned Muslim scholar Yasir Qadhi spoke about the malaise of extremism, calling ISIS “thugs” and comparing them to the Kharijites, a historical extremist group whose member assassinated Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. While Qadhi explained that physical jihad is a part of Muslim belief, he emphasized that Islam calls for a just war. The tactics and methodology of extremists such as ISIS are completely wrong, he said. At the same time, he remarked that we must understand from where groups such as ISIS are coming in order to understand why their hearts have become so hard and why they are committing heinous acts.
Qadhi warned that young people join extremist organizations such as ISIS because they are uneducated about their religion, have utopian worldviews, and are desperate. He said it is possible to be discontent with American foreign policy and channel anger in legal and productive manners rather than adopt illegal and destructive measures.
“We must speak up against the wrongs of our government in order to improve our country,” he said.
Saad Tasleem, another well-known Muslim scholar, spoke about the importance of outreach in order to correct misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. He emphasized the need for Muslims to let Islam shine through their characters.
Islam, the religion of about 7 million Americans and about 1.2 billion people worldwide, enjoins faith in One God, peace and humility, as well as social, communal and family values, WHY-ISLAM said.
Several other Central Jersey Muslim groups recently took similar measures with advertisements denouncing ISIS and Islamic extremism. They included The Islamic Society of Central Jersey in South Brunswick and the New Brunswick Islamic Center.
They “strongly condemn the brutal atrocities of ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’ or the so-called ‘Islamic State’ and their diabolical ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism,” the advertisement stated,” which are a perversion of the principles of the religion of Islam. Our prayers go out to the families of the deceased in Iraq and Syria, and to the families of fellow Americans who were brutally murdered by IIL. We hope and pray that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
The mosques were joined in the awareness effort by The Institute for Islamic Studies in East Windsor and The Islamic Circle of Mercer County in Lawrenceville.
Staff Writer Bob Makin: 732-565-7319; bmakin@MyCentralJersey.com
Article Courtesy: My Central Jersey
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