Are attacks on
Civilians, justified due to the Government they have elected into power? Such
as what happens in the
Attacks on civilians
(Muslims or non Muslims) at any time, peace time or war time, is forbidden in
Islam. Any Muslim who attacks the children, women, sick and ordinary civilians
of a community, regardless of their religious orientation, commits a serious
sin and crime. Killing or hurting
civilians because the American army kills indiscriminately at times cannot be
justified. Muslims never react to an evil act by committing evil
themselves. We Muslims strongly condemn
the American aggression and cruelty in
what is your take on the separation of church and state in the
church and state was required in the west because the church was abusing
ordinary citizens in the name of Christian faith. By the 1500s the Catholic
Church was the most wealthy and powerful institution in
Presently the concept of separation of church and state is being abused and misused by the secular and atheist individuals, organizations and governments. They want to takeaway the religious freedom of an individual or community. Some of them are fundamentalist and extremist in their secular and atheistic beliefs. They are now doing the same thing that the Christian clergy did four centuries ago. They are imposing themselves and their atheistic / secular beliefs on everyone.
religion for an individual or a community is one of their most important rights
and must be protected, not only in private but, in public affairs as well. A
Muslim student in the
I assure you, if a Muslim is allowed to practice Islam openly and freely and the society does not discriminate against him/her for being openly Muslim, then this Muslim will love that society and will help in protecting the religious rights of the followers of other religions. A true practice of Islam develops a kind and loving person, not a hatemonger.
The media seems to emphasise the negative aspects of Islam, why do you think this is?
Let me begin with
some background to this problem. From the start, the unity of American society
was established on xenophobia or an irrational fear of foreigners or strangers.. They had to have a fear of something in order to unite
against that fear. If the fear is gone,
the reason of unity would be gone too. American xenophobia operates in the
service of American nationalism. Initially,
the settlers feared from the aboriginal people and they united against
them. They killed millions of aboriginal
people in order to remove their fear. When these settlers found their identity
as Americans they feared the British monarchy and fought against it. They
The American media
always played a very significant role in keeping this “foreign fear” against
other cultures and nations alive. During
the last forty years the unprecedented expansion of Islam and the growth of
Muslim community in Europe and North America frightened the Christian
fundamentalists in the
On one side, the Christian ministries especially the evangelical church has significant influence on the media. The TV evangelists bring millions of dollars to TV corporations every week by buying time for their ministries. On the other side, coincidently at the time of 9/11 tragedy, the White House was occupied by the most fundamentalist Christian government in American history. Therefore, the propaganda of TV evangelists and the pressure from the fundamentalist government in the White House encouraged the media to create greater fear against a religion that was foreign to the ordinary Americans. Moreover, we should realize what makes for interesting news. If a Muslim person gives her neighbour a bouquet of flowers, it does not make the news but when a person kills the other person it makes news.
Looking to American history once more, at one
point the Americans financed and trained Muslim warlords in
One of the greatest misconceptions is that the American media is free from censorship and bias. Various interest groups and the owners of network stations, newspapers and other media forms exert significant influence on what is reported in the media. Moreover, concentrated ownership of media results in less diversity in the views represented. Thus, mainstream media do not want to run stories that will offend their advertisers and owners. In this way, the media end up censoring themselves and not reporting on many important issues.
In his article on media monopoly, Michael Parenti, a political scientist
and author writes about further problems with the media in the
What is Jihad?
The word jihad literally means to "struggle or strive." The Arabic root of the word is jahada "to strive for." This is a struggle against evil and wrong. This struggle (Jihad) is the most integral part of Islam. In the holy Qur’an, the most frequently occurring orders from Allah are those for the establishment of prayer (Salat) and those for the struggle in His path (Jihad Fi Sabilillah). There are three levels of struggles in Islam.
First Level: The struggle to acquire, sustain and foster the righteousness within ourselves. In other words, the struggle within a person to keep him/her away from sins and evil beliefs or actions.
Second Level: A struggle by using one’s speaking or writing power to acquire, sustain and cultivate righteousness within a community. In other words, if a person sees or hears any wrong doing in the community, the righteous person stops that wrong by creating awareness about it through his/her speeches or writings.
Third Level: The struggle against evil by using force. In other words, fighting a war against evil. A further explanation of this level of Jihad follows.
Jihad – The Holy War
The difference between Islam and other religions is that the Islam provides complete and specific guidance to its followers in all possible aspects of life, while the other religions provide guidelines only in a few aspects of life. Islam tells its followers how to run a government, how to run a community, how to run one’s own house and how to run one’s own life. From world affairs to the affairs concerning one’s neighbours and family members, Islam tells its followers what to do in nearly all human situations.
Just like any sovereign nation, Muslims are required to defend the sovereignty of their country. In other words, a Muslim country should not initiate any aggression against any other country but should defend itself against the aggression of the other country. Similarly, Muslims are also required to help the needy and the oppressed and bring freedom to the people. Therefore, the defence against the aggression and arrogance is called Jihad.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has given very clear guidelines to Muslims regarding wars. A Muslim must not do the following at any time including war time (Jihad);
1. Kill or hurt women and children even if they are from the enemy
2. Kill the sick and elderly people even if they are from the enemy
3. Do not destroy hospitals
4. Do not cut down green tress
5. Do not contaminate water sources
6. Do not destroy the places of worship of other religions
Where else do we find these great ethics during war time except in a religion founded over 1400 years ago - that of peace loving Islam.
What are the requirements and conditions for proclaiming Jihad?
If Jihad (War) is needed then the head of an Islamic government can proclaim jihad. The head must consult with the appropriate advisors / military experts (in today’s time parliament or cabinet) before announcing Jihad. An individual or an organization of few individuals can not declare Jihad (war). Moreover, when Jihad is declared by the head of an Islamic government, the war must be fought with strict enforcement of the above mentioned guidelines. Biological, chemical, or nuclear warfare, hijacking of planes, indiscriminate killings of civilians is NOT allowed in Islam.
What is martyrdom in Islam?
When a Muslim dies while defending his or her religion, country, life, honour or property he or she is called martyr. Just like a US soldier, when he/she dies while defending USA or US interests abroad, the soldier is recognized as a hero by Americans, similarly, when a Muslim dies while fighting for his country, that fighter is acknowledged as a martyr and honoured as a hero by Muslims.
What is the future
The outlook looks
very bright and promising for a future
Yes, two sovereign independent states of
Can Islam and Christianity truly co-exist peacefully?
The holy book of Islam, Qur’an recognizes Christianity and Judaism as religions and calls them the people of the book. Qur’an asks Muslims to establish dialogue with Christians and Jews on common ground; the monotheistic belief in one common God (Allah).
In holy Qur’an, chapter 30, Allah favoured Christians over pagans and gave them victory over their enemies.
when the second caliph of Islam, Omar Ibn Al Khattab (May Allah be pleased with
reputation among Christians during the crusades, as a man of chivalry and
honour, derives above all from his treatment of the Christian inhabitants of
In the history of
Father George Qanawati in his book, Christianity and Arab Civilisation, has stated that “in order to understand how Christians could live within Arab Islamic civilisation and feel part and parcel of it ...constituting an active element in its development and helping their Muslim brethren to safeguard their beliefs and views in scientific fields and in the requirements of civilisation, we must refer to ...Common grounds and meeting points between the two religions, for instance; ‘One God’ , the One Living Self-Subsisting Eternal’, ‘God who loves human beings’ and ‘God the Forgiver and Compassionate’…”
Islam and Christianity did coexist peacefully in the past and these two great religions can coexist in peace today provided that the Muslims follow the teachings of Islam and the Christians follow the teachings of Christ (peace be upon him).
Why are there sectarian differences in Islam? Is this good or bad?
During the first century of Islamic history, Muslims were divided into two sects. The division was purely political, not religious or theological. The minority group called Shi’a believed that the Caliph-hood should remain within the family of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), while the majority of Muslims called Sunni believed that the Caliph must be elected by the community. However, this political division never created a widespread animosity among Muslims. The differences remained very strong at the level of intellectuals / scholars but ordinary citizens were never affected by it.
During the last
extremism was planted among Muslims by a small number of fanatics funded and
trained by the European imperialists and colonialists during the fall of
How is a terrorist defined according to Islam?
A government, a military, an organization or an individual that employs terror as a political, economical, social or religious weapon is called terrorist in Islam. An individual or a group of individuals are considered to be terrorists if the individual or group of individuals;
§ Indiscriminately destroy properties and /or kills civilians
§ Kidnap or hijack civilians for ransom or hurt them or kill them
§ Attacks a country in order to occupy the country with the intent of controlling its resources and institutions to further their own purposes
A terrorist is a
terrorist regardless whether the terrorist is an ally or a foe of
When the American
government wants to use someone to fight against American enemies, then that
individual is an honourable “freedom fighter.” When the individual refuses to
fight for the American cause OR fights back against
example is that of the Talibans in
When Osama Bin
Laden and his army were fighting for
For a Muslim, one of the conditions of faith is that a Muslim should like for others what he/she likes for himself/herself. Repentance of a Murderer is not accepted unless the Murderer receives punishment for his/her crime OR unless the immediate relatives (parents, children, spouse, etc.) of the victim forgive the murderer. Therefore, a terrorist must be punished for his/her crime.
Has Islam been hijacked by the likes of Osama Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Jihad, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, etc?
Islam cannot be hijacked by any individual, government or an organization. In order to hijack Islam 1.5 billion Muslims need to be hijacked. However, the increased aggression against the Islamic faith by a few followers and the enemies of Islam has put increased pressure on the faithful Muslims to be responsible citizens and safeguard the “true” way of Islamic life.
Muslims and particularly Canadian Muslims condemn the recent kidnapping of two
I also urge
How much support does Islam give to those named above?
Islam does not support these individuals or organizations. Islam only supports those who follow it and condones actions in line with its teachings. Any individual or organization that supports terrorism has no support from Muslims and Islam. Any individual or organization that kills innocent children has no support from Muslims and no place in Islam. In fact, Islam condemns and rejects them.
What is your
opinion of the growing anti-Muslim sentiments in the
Indeed this is an unfortunate and a very disturbing situation created by anti-Islam and anti peace agencies (Note: If a person claims that he/she is a Muslim but does every thing against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the holy Qur’an, I consider that person anti-Islam).
All over the world, all major Islamic scholars and organizations have condemned those so- called Muslims who are creating terrorism in the name of Islam but media gives more coverage to the terrorists, not the peace preaching and practicing Muslim scholars.
However, Muslims do have a responsibility of educating the people. It is the duty of each individual Muslim living in the western countries to be faithful to his/her country and must reach out to his /her neighbours, classmates, coworkers and share with them the blessing of Allah. Muslims need to start their own TV and radio stations and newspapers and they need to make this as a priority. If the world is to see the true face of Islam; then we cannot depend on the sham that is the western media.
What is your a thought or opinions on the War on/against Terrorism?
I have written an article on this War on/against terrorism. Please visit http://www.islamicsupremecouncil.com/psychopaths.htm
I consider this war as a “War of Psychopaths”. This is a war of warlords and religious fanatics that is producing more terrorists and killing more innocent civilians everyday.
What are the
aspects that are beneficial to
No doubt that the tragedy of 9/11 has brought sadness and destruction, however, this tragedy also provided an opportunity to ordinary citizens, Muslims and non Muslims, to unite together as peace loving humans. Although, religious fanatics -Muslims, Christians and Jews do not want this union of peace loving humans to succeed but we must try our best to defeat the terrorists and the fanatics.
have been cases of racism and hate crimes against Muslims in
The media in
What I am doing to help?
I travel across this huge country of ours on a weekly basis and educate the young and old, boys and girls about the true peaceful and loving nature of Islam. I have founded two organizations called; Muslims Against Terrorism (www.m-a-t.org) and Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (www.islamicsupremecouncil.com). By the way, MAT was founded long before 9/11 in 1999.
We produce two TV
programs on a weekly basis. We have established an Islamic centre in
Islam 101 – designed for non Muslims to learn basics of Islam
Islam 201 – designed for non Muslims to study the Qur’an and its interpretations.
Islam 301 – designed for Muslim youth
Islam 501 – Presentation and Communication skills
For details on our programs, please visit www.islamicsupremecouncil.com
I am also writing two books, one regarding Islamic beliefs and other on the topic of issues faced by Muslims. These books will be published within the next few months.
I will be more than happy to present Islam 101 course to your group or anyone interested free of charge.
Thank you for asking these questions. I am looking forward to meeting with you soon.
(Acknowledgement: I am very thankful to Nadia Ahmed for proof reading this document. May Allah reward her with the best of the both worlds.)