“The truth shall set you free? Maybe. But first the truth must be set free”. (Wole Soyinka).
First of all, I begin by asking; what is the truth? Is there such thing as the truth? Is the truth not just a subjective opinion? Is Islam terrorism? What is terrorism and what is islam?
In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. The word, Islam as derived from the Arabic root “salema” means peace, purity, submission and obedience. Indeed one can say that everything and every phenomenon in the world other than man is administered totally by God-made laws.
Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. In fact, Dictionary.com defines it as “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purpose”, one can easily deduce from the definitions in clear terms that Islam is antithetical to terrorism. But then, majority of the world terrorism acts in contemporary time have been associated with Islam because the culprits “claim” to be Muslims and recite Quranic verses or speak Arabic during their acts. I beg to ask then that, are terrorist really Muslims as it is claimed? Is it only Muslims that know and recite the Quran? Are all Arabians or Arab speaking people Muslims? A critical mind may and should question the fact that terrorists say Allahu Akbar, which literally means “God is the greatest” when they carry out their veracious acts.
An African sage has it explicit that “the little opportunity given to a monkey to wear cloths, does not guarantee it to join the drinking table”. That is, one’s ability to speak Arabic does not, in any way, make one Arabian. It is very similar with one who knows how to read the bible in English. You have to ask; does reading the bible in English make everyone a Christian?
With this, it is pivotal to note that the Quran is written in Arabic, which is the language of the Arabs. Therefore all Arabs which include the Muslims, Christians, and pagans alike can say “Allahu Akbar”. There are nearly a million Christians, as well as Hindus and Buddhists in Arab (wikipedia.com). This shows that it is not solely a Muslim society. And the fact remains that all these aforementioned denominations speak Arabic.
Do you believe that Islam has a relationship with terrorism? In fact, no religion of the world preaches violence. Quran 5: 32 notes that “if you kill one person, it is as if you killed the whole humanity”. Furthermore, the Bible says in Psalm 11:5 “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence”. With these evidences, it seems quite clear that just as Christianity is not branded terrorism, Islam should not be also.
Is it propaganda that Islam is a violent religion? As much as there are good Muslims, there are the bad ones and as much as there are good Christians, there are the bad ones. The same holds true for the Atheists and the pagans.
Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons” appears to have shaped my opinions about religions and life in general. He conceived that whether you are a Muslim or a Christian depends on where you were born. Religion is like language or dress; we gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for the power that created us.
Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. It then appears to me that Dan Brown had envisaged that “mankind maybe doomed to an ignorant future of senseless holy wars”, much like we see today, holy wars are still making headlines, pronouncement like, My God is better than your God.
Furthermore, to me there is a ‘politigious” (political cum religious) force somewhere trying to create a religious war all over the universe. As much as the older ones, the younger minds have also been “brainwashed” on the war of superiority between the Western and the Arab world, with both using religion to save faces. The philosophies of unequal regard for different racial and identity shade of humanity from the 14th to 20th centuries are still officially very strong in this 21th century despite the hypocritical “declarations” of the United Nations that hardly goes beyond the papers they are written upon.
I am a Muslim, and I know full well that Islam does not teach terrorism- to kill or be destroyed. Terrorism has no place in Islam. Before one blames Muslims for the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nigeria, Baghdad, Japan and so on, one should remember that terrorists have killed over fifty thousand Muslims in the past few years. Well, not until moderate Muslims stand up together and fight the terrorists, then Islam may not change perception of a peaceful religion.
They should also be wary of the extreme Muslims who are hiding amongst the moderate ones. Mankind needs to do what is needed. It is time to stand up! There is delight in virtuous action and is vexed at vicious. Everything we do has its effects. Let us all encourage virtuous deeds within ourselves.
Render to God the things that are God’s. Let God judge, for only He can see man’s heart. Let God kill guilty men for only He can proclaim man as guilty. Let God seek justice, for only He is just and has wisdom. In a country that has already been torn apart by religious strife, terrorism, violence, ethnic division, what we need is not a “politigious” interference, but oneness. A recent comment about the banning of hijab because it has been reported that ladies in hijab are used as suicide bombers, seems to find favour in the sights of many Nigerians. But one needs to ruminate well on these. Who would call for the ban of police, or army uniform simply because robbers disguise themselves in them to rob and murder.
Terrorism has no religion. Instead of pointing accusing fingers to a particular religion, let us unite to fight terrorism. Pray for Nigeria, Paris, Baghdad, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Iraq, Syria and the rest of the word bedevilling by terrorism. Pray for the new world; pray for peace.
God bless Nigeria.
MUMIN, Ganiu 300l,
UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS.