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April 15 2016

Understanding Islam and Muslim Militants

1. What is Islam?

* Islam is: Post to God. 'Islam' means endure His will and guidance, as enunciated from the holy Quran. Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians each one is told in their religious scriptures to endure the will of God. Here is the teaching in Bible, Gita, and all sorts of other religious scriptures, as well. We must surrender to the will of God. Thus on this belief, there is no alteration in all religions worldwide - except Buddhism, which does not believe in existence of God.

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*'Islam' is really a verb - to 'submit' to the will of God; but more often than not, it is linked with militancy, albeit wrongly. The moderate Muslims, who will be in majority, chose not to condemn militants or their violence, from fear or for whatever the reason.

2. Muslims believe in monotheism

* Muslims believe in one God. Christians, Sikhs too trust that. Hinduism believes in multiple Gods as well as a section of Hindus believes in Idol worship. Islam is against idolatry but Quran does not ask its followers to use violence against Kafirs, as idol- worshippers are classified as in Islam. Quran does not ask its followers to indulge in violence against non-believers, as militants do.

* In Islam, polytheism, association of Allah with another god, or denial of His absolute command of universe is sin and called Shirk. Islam and Christianity differ in this connection. Christians associate Christ with God, as son of God and Muslims don't concur.
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*Surah 4:116, 121: 'Surely Allah does not forgive that anybody ought to be associated with Him on near equal footing... and whosoever associates a person with Allah, he indeed strays off into far error.These are they, whose abode is hell, plus they shall not find any refuge from this.'

3. Convey message of Quran, such as the force conversions

Excerpt from Quran:

*Surah 3:20: Therefore they dispute with thee, say: I submit myself entirely to Allah and thus does he who follows me." And notify those who have been given it and to those who are unlearned (those that don't believe in Quran): "Do ye (also) submit yourselves?" If they submit then they have been in right guidance, but when they turn back, thy duty is simply to convey the Message.

*Surah 2:256: Let there be no compulsion in religion

*Surah 109:6: For you be your religion, if you ask me mine.

4. As a result it is clear that Quran doesn't ask its followers to transform non-Muslims to Islam against their will. History says otherwise. Why it's extremely? It is a corporate decision, to further improve the revenue collection in mosques. Religious preachers are not much bothered about qualitative improvement of followers, they're interested in numbers.

*A recent case in point is of a Shankracharya - a premier Hindu religious figure - who has tried to belittle, Sai Baba of Shirdi, a historical figure with big Hindu following. His temple is probably the richest temples in India. Shankracharya desires that idols of Shirdi Sai Baba ought to be removed from Hindu temples. May be Shankracharya is holding Shirdi Sai Baba, in charge of poor offerings or donations at other Hindu temples.

5. Does Quran justify violence?

Quran supports violence only if, the Muslim community is fighting vastly superior forces, seeking to annihilate the monotheistic Islam. The Quran puts it using this method in Surah 4:75: And shouldn't you fight in the cause of God and in the main cause of those who, being weak, are mistreated: the lads, women and children whose only cry is, "Our Lord! Deliver us from this land whose folks are oppressors. Send us somebody who will protect us, and send us somebody that will help!"

* Creation of Israel after Second World War would have been a decision where Palestinians needed to vacate and make area for Israel. They were weak together no choice but to agree. Muslims feel that this is a case where Surah 4:75 is applicable. It is a debatable question, nonetheless it needs attention.

6. Suicide-bombers are certainly not approved by Quran

Hadith - the ebook of religious guidelines for Muslims - states 'Whosoever kills himself at all will be tormented just as in Hell. If he kills himself by blade or iron rod, is going to be tormented with same blade or iron rod within the fires of Hell '. Our life is the ultimate gift of God, only The guy can decide when to go back.

7. Steps to counter or curtail militancy in Islam

(a) Educate women. Illiteracy is quite high among Muslim women. There exists a need to ensure equality of genders among Muslims. In under-developed countries, scenario is worst. Women are certainly not allowed to attend school. In Nigeria, Boko Haram will not allow Western education. Women are certainly not allowed inside mosque in certain sects of Islam. Educated Muslim women could have positive impact in society.

(b) Initial step - tackle intra-religion violence. Recent Sunni terrorists attack on Shias in Iraq is really a glaring example of hatred between different Islam sects. You will find there's need to create awareness among Shia and Sunni Muslims about futility of killing the other person. There are many other sects, who will be ostracised by both Sunnis and Shias, as an example, Ahmadiyya sect.

(c) Proactively explain Quran through media to counter fundamentalists. We must publicise excerpts from Quran on television, to counter militants violence and also to educate illiterate Muslims world over, who will be being brain- washed by orthodox fundamentalist clerics like Hafiz Saeed. We depend upon religious teachers (Imams and Ayatollahs) for interpretation of Quran. They can misuse the privilege and issue 'fatwas' against Salman Rushdie and others. To indulge in violence when a prophet is subject of caricature, isn't what religion teaches us. Everyone has to learn to be loving toward others' views. If properly put across, the Muslims militancy is going to be contained. Till then, let non- Muslims refrain from commenting upon the prophet and get away from hurting Muslim sentiments.

(d) Divisive religion-based politics is bane to democracy. Religion should unify humanity, when it divides more recently. Democracy needs votes. Appeasement of majority in Islamic States and minorities in secular states like India can be a misuse of democratic procedure for voting and elections. How can or not it's stopped is a big question and a challenge to humanity.

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