Tackling Misinterpretation of Faith by Terrorists

  • 3 March 2015

Terrorist groups routinely use false religious context to justify violence, which has no place in the religion. By doing so, they offend Islam and Muslims around the world. They have also been trying to sell such falsehoods to Arab and Islamic people thereby serving the interests of those who thrive by igniting conflict among people belonging to different faith, culture and civilization. This also helps those who take extremely aggressive position against Islam.

The recommendations made at the 24th international conference of Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, which ended in Cairo recently, focused on tackling extremism and prove that they don’t have a place in Islam. The conference highlighted the falsehood being spread by these groups and called for eliminating extremist ideas. A recommendation was made for establishing a multi-lingual observatory that observes such elements, refute their claims and review the curricula in educational institutions in Arab and Islamic worlds. The curricula should suit our time and spread value of coexistence despite the differences of faith and race.

The conference also highlighted two critical areas. First, Islam should not be judged based on the deeds of a few Muslims as the faith has nothing to do with those who call others non-believers, burn and mutilate them, and resort to violence. The message for the whole world is that they shouldn’t accuse Islam as the faiths stands for dialog, mercy and tolerance. Whatever these extremists try and attribute this to isn’t part of the religion. Efforts were also made during the conference to correct the definitions of terms often misused by terrorist groups, the most important being Khilafah (caliphate) and Jihad (struggle).

It was emphasized that the Khilafah is a political term, which can be replaced by any nomenclature as long as it achieves the welfare of countries and people in accordance with a legal and international framework. Scholars participating in the conference explained that Jihad also means countering attack against the state without going to the extreme. Moreover, an individual has no right to declare Jihad and that it is the prerogative of the head of state and other competent authorities to do so in accordance with the law and constitution.

The resolutions passed during the conference of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Cairo are important in the context of the ideological struggle going on against terrorism. Its recommendations precede the forthcoming Arab Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Cairo this month. The core issue during the Summit will be Arab security and threat of terrorism. However, there is a need to transform these recommendations into programs that can be implemented. They will come to nothing unless they are put into effect.