Terrorists Represent the Biggest Threat to Islam

  • 13 January 2015

Undoubtedly, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack provoked a reaction in the West that subsequently denounced Islam and accused Muslims of supporting extremism. Yet, at the same time, other members of western society rejected this blanket condemnation of Islam and its followers, asserting that the attacks bore no resemblance to any religion, ethnicity, or culture of any sort. In reality, the attacks were the violent acts of a group of ideological extremists that are present in every religion, society and culture.

Violence and terrorism per se, must be met with a firm response. However, targeted campaigns against a particular religion and its followers are wholly counterproductive. Primarily, in the sense that they consequently serve the interests of terrorist groups committing such atrocities, who are intent on igniting simmering tensions and societal divisions between different religions, civilizations and cultures. Terrorist groups are inherently opposed to the concepts of multiculturalism and diversity, defining themselves in opposition to the ‘other’.

Terrorists who proclaim to be representatives of Islam and subsequently attempt to justify their criminal acts on this falsehood, in reality represent the biggest threat to the religion. The dissemination of a distorted image of Islam across the globe plays directly into the hands of Islam’s opponents and those looking to capitalize on, or even intensify existing ideological conflicts. Moreover, the actions of a violent minority have delivered a telling blow to the concerted efforts made by various Islamic organizations and authorities vying to present the true image of Islam, which calls for moderation, reconciliation, dialog and the acceptance of others.

The 9/11 attacks triggered the onset of a wave of animosity directed against Islam in the West. Considerable containment efforts have been severely undermined by the emergence of Dae’sh and its inhumane and bloody practices, as manifested in the slaughtering of numerous foreign hostages. The fear of Muslims in the West has been reignited once more. A number of right-wing, anti-Islamic movements then started appearing across Europe, such as the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) in Germany. The Paris terrorist attack has clearly further empowered right-wing, anti-Islamic movements, not only in France, but the whole of Europe.

All of the negative developments noted above are tied to the propagation of erroneous, extreme ideologies that have gained traction among the youth who are led to believe that violence is necessary for the defense of Islam. The reality, however, is that it will take years to overcome the damage and hurt terrorism has inflicted upon Islam and its followers.

Efforts should be made to distance Islam from those that carry extremist beliefs or justify their violent acts in its name. It is important to reiterate the fact that the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack had nothing to do with the correct teachings of Islam. The perpetrators were mere criminals whose actions have threatened human civilization and international security and stability. Thus, the world must stand united against terrorism and the negative ramifications of terrorist activity that affect us all.