Muslims have been denouncing Islamist extremism for far too long but what do they have to show for it? When will this peace-loving majority of almost 1.5 billion realize that it’s being overshadowed by a bunch of lunatics who happen to profess the same religion as them?
It’s always the same: an Islamist kills innocent people, chaos ensues and Muslim leaders immediately release statements to the press, denouncing terrorism.
And what happens after that? Well, the answer is quite simple, isn’t it? It happens all over again.
Case in point: Just two months after the Muslim world condemned an attack by a Muslim convert in Ottawa, Canada, an Iranian self-styled sheik – identified as Man Haron Monis – killed two people and injured four others during a 17-hour siege in Sydney this week.
As per routine, Muslim leaders in Australia were quick to denounce the incident. Moreover, in what was truly a heartwarming gesture, everyday Australians initiated a campaign offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims who feared reprisal attacks.
Social media websites were bombarded with messages from all over the world reiterating “not all Muslims are terrorists.”
But is it really enough?
Time has come for peace-loving silent majority of Muslims to realize that their silence is as harmful to the image of their religion as the acts of terrorism carried out by a small percentage of extremists.
Although Muslims in Australia make up just 2.5 per cent of the entire population, they are a fast-growing and highly visible minority group. They can (and should) definitely make an effort to rise above a handful of Islamists. As far as the question “how?” is concerned, apart from protests, there are various other ways to go about it.
For instance, following multiple terrorists attacks in the West over the past decade, Muslims in the United States have made several attempts to make themselves heard. As author Qasim Rashid stated in a Huffington Post blog last year:
“…the fact is Muslims have gone far beyond mere condemnation but taken action. The Muslims for Life campaign has raised over 25,000 blood donations in the past two years to honor 9/11 victims. The #MyJihad campaign serves to demonstrate Jihad's true meaning. The Muslims for Peace campaign champions true, peaceful Islam.”
Imagine what can happen if these initiatives – and more inspired by them – were endorsed by Muslims not only in the U.S. but all over the world.
An Interesting Question: Is The Silent, Peaceful Majority Among Muslims Responsible For Terrorism?
The Muslim world must realize that a united effort is essential if it wants to confine and defeat extremism.