Hampshire, United Kingdom — Like clockwork, when a Muslim commits an act of violence, right-wing politicians, pundits and millions of Westerners insist all Muslims must condemn the attacks. While this standard hardly ever applies to Christian, Jewish or Buddhist terrorists, there is another inconsistency in right-wing reasoning: they claim Muslims refuse to condemn terrorism.
But Muslims do oppose radical Islam. In fact, every time an Islamic extremist commits an unthinkable act of violence, protests and renunciations ring out around the world. Muslims issue these condemnations even though they believe anyone who commits violence in the name of Islam is not Islamic at all.
Most recently, 30,000 Muslims from around the world gathered in the United Kingdom to voice their opposition to the Islamic State and other radical groups.
“The only thing the terrorists are achieving is to completely violate the teachings of the Holy Koran and of the Holy Prophet Muhammad,” Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the group’s caliphate, said before the three-day convention in Hampshire, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“Let it be clear that they are not practising Islam, rather it seems as though they have invented their own hate-filled and poisonous religion.”
Attendees came from over 90 countries to make that statement, “reaffirming peace and rejecting extremism while forming a human chain with their arms,” the Daily Mail noted.
For fifty years, the Ahmadiyya Islamic movement has held annual events to renounce violence and extremism in the name of Islam.
The movement was launched in 1889 in Qadanian, a town in Punjab, India, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed the “Muslim religion and society had deteriorated to the point where divinely inspired reforms were needed.”
Ahmad challenged the notion that Mohammed was the final prophet sent to guide mankind and, conveniently, also claimed to be a messiah. But while his claims may provoke skepticism in non-Muslims and hatred from some orthodox adherents to Islam, the message of peace for all is also a cornerstone of the movement.
As Ahmad said:
“We continue to witness grave injustices being committed against innocent people, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews or people any faith or of no faith. This is most reprehensible and there is no justification for such atrocities. All people who wish to promote peace must stand united against such bloodshed.”
The leader also appeared to reference ongoing injustices that often help radicalize vulnerable Muslims.
“Furthermore the world powers must use their influence to engender justice for all,” he said
“Without justice there can never be peace and unless serious thought and selfless action is taken by governments then the world is slipping rapidly towards an increasing state of conflict. We must turn to God and make every effort to work for unity and to help all those who are suffering. That is the true path to peace.”
The movement has over 129 centers, including the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London, the largest mosque in the Western hemisphere. But they are not the only group — or the largest — to condemn radical Islam.
Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, was founded in 1926 and boasts 50 million members.
As Huffington Post has explained, it is “part Sunni religious body, part political party and part charity.” NU says its goal is “to spread messages about a tolerant Islam in their respective countries to curb radicalism, extremism and terrorism,” which the organization argues “often spring from a misinterpretation of Islamic teachings.” To do so, the group launched a global anti-extremism campaign last year.
NU was originally founded as a counter-movement to radicalism from Saudi Arabia. In fact, the extremist ideology of Wahhabism has been linked to the growth of ISIS.
As for the United States’ record of disavowing dangerous behavior? Not good. Saudi Arabia, an American ally, has been implicated in the 9/11 terror attacks. The Saudi regime is a gross human rights violator but continues to enjoy the support of the United States government. One would think the United States government would condemn them and sever ties. One might expect millions of Americans who despise violence and tyranny to demand their government renounce Saudi Arabia.
Instead, the United States has backed the Saudis’ pummeling of hospitals, schools, and civilians in Yemen, highlighting the double standard the West harbors when it comes to extreme violence. Apparently, organized violence at the hands of some governments is permissible. Individual acts of violence by adherents to a scapegoated religion are intolerable.
Many Americans and other Westerners insist Muslims do not do enough to combat Islamic extremism, which likely leaves many wondering when Jews will condemn every attack on innocent Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. When will Americans condemn their government’s decades of preemptive war, which have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people?
While Westerners preach morality and peace to Muslims they claim hate the West, the Muslims who gathered in the U.K. this weekend took a different approach: They expressed gratitude for their refuge and pledged loyalty to Britain. The president of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Rafiq Hayat, said:
“The 30,000-plus people from over 90 countries gathering at the convention come in the spirit of fraternity – and to give thanks for the security and freedom they have found in Britain.
Many have fled persecution in other countries and together, they will re-affirm their pledge to follow the true teachings of Islam – that are teachings of peace – and to counter all forms of extremism and intolerance.”
The group’s official motto is “Love for all, hatred for none.”
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