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To be a Muslim...

Islam is under scanner because many people have come to believe that it's the religion which advocates violence...

india Updated: Aug 17, 2006 11:59 IST

As a Muslim, my head goes down in shame each time I find a Muslim name attached to insane acts of terror.

I feel let down by such Muslims. It agonises me when I hear that Muslim tenants are refused accommodation in many cities.

Recently, in London, a Muslim of Indian origin was arrested for suspected links to the terror plot aimed at blowing up planes flying from Britain to the US.

Sane Muslim voices aren't loudly heard. Even British Muslims condemning the July 7 London bombings added a "but" (root cause) to their denunciation. Killings of innocents cannot be justified for any reason.

Many Muslims are guilty of not speaking out against what happened in Darfur while many are guilty of being sympathetic to Saddam Hussein who was responsible for the deaths of thousands.

Many Muslims are guilty of not speaking out against the unjust acts of fellow Muslims against non-Muslims.

O terrorists! Whatever you do, however many of us you kill will not stop life where freedom is strong and people can live in harmony.

Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail. Extremist attacks anywhere are acts depravity and wickedness - planned to take innocent lives.

It is not the weapon of the weak against the strong but one of the angry against the defenceless and innocent.

The terror attacks on the makeshift Ram temple at Ayodhya was aimed at derailing the India-Pakistan peace process besides damaging the country's secular fabric.

Muslims must openly condemn terror attacks so that they do not get clubbed with the terrorists on account of their silence.

Note that 'jihad' is the most misunderstood and misconstrued concept by non-Muslims, and even Muslims.

The true concept of jihad is not to be against other communities, groups or religions but against one's selfish nature, vices and shortcomings. First an individual wages jihad against himself to get cleansed.

He then continues the efforts with his wife, family, locality and the entire community. This is Jehad-e-Akbar, the right meaning of jihad.

Muslims must come out openly on the streets against terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Sipah-e-Sahaba and such others.

Today Islam is under scanner because many people have come to believe that the religion advocates violence.

Not all of them can be wrong as people judge by what they see. Today terrorists speak and act violently in the name of Islam.

The terrorists who struck on Mumbai's trains in July sought to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims.

Militants have no religion except death and destruction of the innocent.

At the same time, the government must find out if these tragedies take place because of security lapses or whether the fight against terrorism has slackened.

It is perplexing how terrorists repeatedly gain entry into sensitive areas despite heavy security.

Indian Hindus and Muslims are to be congratulated for acting with restraint following the Mumbai disaster.

Given the fluid communal situation in India, the saner elements in the communities should take adequate steps to thwart attempts by communalists to play up such incidents.

(Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on social, educational and political issues.)