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The Islamic Congress’s President, Mohamed Elmasry

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    Mr. Elmasry said there are bad Muslims just as there are bad Christians and Jews. “We treat them as such and so should you. But Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims have a religious duty to be tolerant of other faiths and other ideologies.” Mr. Elmasry said journalists need to differentiate between the peaceful teachings of Islam and the claims of some Muslim extremists that their actions are justified by their He likened the situation of Canadian Muslims today to that of Canadian Jews 50 years ago. “Jewish children were being (wrongly) called Christ-killers just as Muslim children In their letter to the editor in the April 27 issue of the College Hill Independent, Jumana Musa and Shadi Nahvi made some excellent points. They rightly asserted that the Western press tends to portray Arabs and Muslims according to stereotypes and these myths persist partly due to Western popular ignorance about Arabs and Muslims.

    Since the Muslims students at Brown condemned the bombing of a Tel Aviv bus last year, I am learning to separate the handful of Muslim and Arab extremists who commit terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish civilians from the millions of Muslim believers who do not participate in this violence and sometimes express opposition to it. Since I began interacting with Muslims students through the kosher/hallal meal plan this year, I am changing my perceptions of Muslims and seeing them as people instead of abstractions. I think that many, many people in the United States and in western countries, in Europe, are afraid of a monster called Islam. And as the honorable Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said, it is an insult to consider the whole of Muslims, to take them into one side, and make them extremists. Really it is not correct. It is a little bit insulting. What is the definition of extremism? We can see in all of history: even when the first settlers came to the United States they were from different countries; Spain, England, France, European Countries.

    They were fighting on this land and fighting with the Indians. Do we call this extremism? A fight for a better living, which you understand you are doing not for a religious motive, is not extremism. Extremism in Islam, or in religion, is when you use religion to label intolerance, to turn from religion and take ideas that you can extract for yourself, or deduce for yourself, and use to make a militant movement and disturb the peace in your country or around the world. That is called “extremism,” and “Islamic Extremism.” But a movement for better living, that is not extremism. These people nowadays are developing two ways of understanding the situation of Islam. From one side they think that they have to reform it; it is a duty on them, they have been brainwashed to think that they have to cleanse the world of devils and demons and of countries that suppress them, oppress them, and try to shut them down. Logicians argue that one cannot pass a judgment on something unless one has a clear conception of it, because the unknown and the undefined cannot be judged. Therefore, we first have to determine what “religious ,extremism” means before we can condemn or applaud it.

    We can do so by considering its reality and its most distinguishing characteristics. Literally, extremism means being situated at the farthest possible point from the center. Figuratively, it indicates a similar remoteness in religion and thought, as well as behavior. One of the main consequences of extremism is exposure to danger and insecurity.! Islam, therefore, recommends moderation and balance in everything: in belief, Islam is frequently misunderstood and may even seem exotic in some parts of today’s world. Perhaps this is because religion no longer dominates everyday life in Western society; whereas, for Muslims, Islam is life. Muslims make no artificial division between bin laden: “The treacherous attack has confirmed that Britain and America are acting on behalf of Israel and the Jews, paving the way for the Jews to divide the Muslim world once again, enslave it and loot the rest of its wealth,” the US magazine quotes bin Laden What particularly interested me in the report was the military demand that terrorism be eliminated and extremism be abolished. Both terrorism and extremism, however, seem to include, at least in their minds, most of the features of normal Muslim life.

    Following this line of reasoning, extremism and Islam become two faces of the same coin. And this, surprisingly, was being broadcast by a Muslim Gulf state. Is familiarity with the Holy Qur’an a mark of extremism? Is calling upon young people to pray in the mosques a mark of radicalism? Is traditional Muslim dress an outward sign of terrorism? We are all familiar with the tendency in some quarters to equate Islam with terrorism. As we know, this is not only blindness but also total ignorance of Islam and what it stands for. Extremism of course means taking an intolerant stand at one limit or the other of an issue; the stand is never moderate, easy nor middle of the road. When we look at the good Muslim people of Turkey, we are aware that they have been prevented from practising their religion as freely as they might wish. Now, they have decided to review their Muslim traditions and incorporate them into their lives. How can we possibly consider these people outlaws or extremists?

    It seems that what secularism asks of us Muslims is that we should become empty vessels — without faith, without any standard of what is proper or improper behavior. The secularists would have us copy what is worst in the West, to be neither Muslim nor Christian, to believe in nothing and have no religion except hedonistic materialism “They violate our land and occupy it and steal the Muslims’ possessions, and when faced by resistance they call it terrorism,” bin Laden said in an interview the Arab world’s most popular television channel —-* The Associated Press ABC news. has consistently demanded the eviction of the estimated 5,000 U.S. forces based in Saudi BIN LADIN: We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli .The mention of the US reminds us before everything else of those innocent children who were dismembered, their heads and arms cut off in the recent explosion that took place in Qana (in Lebanon).

    A reaction might take place as a result of US government’s hitting Muslim civilians and executing more than 600 thousand Muslim children in Iraq by preventing food and medicine from reaching them. So, the US is responsible for any reaction, because it extended its war against troops to civilians. The cause of the reaction must be sought and the act that has triggered this reaction must be eliminated. The reaction came as a result of the US aggressive policy towards the entire Muslim world and not just towards the Arabian peninsula. So if the cause that has called for this act comes to an end, this act, in turn, will come to an end. So, the driving-away jihad against the US does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula, but rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world. The US today as a result of the arrogant atmosphere has set a double standard, calling whoever goes against its injustice a terrorist.

    It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose on us agents to rule us based not on what God has revealed and wants us to agree on all these. If we refuse to do so, it will say you are terrorists. The US does not consider it a terrorist act to throw atomic bombs at nations thousands of miles away, when it would not be possible for those bombs to hit military troops only. The US does not consider it terrorism when hundreds of thousands of our sons and brothers in Iraq died for lack of food or medicine. It is known that every action has its reaction. If the American presence continues, and that is an action, then it is natural for reactions to continue against this presence. In other words, explosions and killings of the American soldiers would continue. A man with human feelings in his heart does not distinguish between a child killed in Palestine or in Lebanon, in Iraq or in Bosnia. So how can we believe your claims that you came to save our children in Somalia while you kill our children in all of those places?

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