The trouble with “radical” or “fundamentalist” Islam is not that it’s “Islamic,” but rather that it’s radical, as in: “marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional,” in other words, it’s “extreme.” Radical Islamists, tend to, or are “disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.”
It’s not unlike the trouble with fundamentalist Christianity; fundamentalist, Zionist Judaism; Neo Conservatism.
Remember: “Islam is not the problem. Islam is the solution to the problems.”
One problem is, most people are afraid of Islam. As a result of their fears, most politicians–from Lahore, Pakistan to Washington, DC–don’t know how to answer “the Islamic question,” mostly because they do not know what it is.
Islam is an Arabic word which means “entire submission to the will of Allah (God.), the religion of Allah (God), and His prophets.” That number includes “traditional” Prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Job, David, Solomon, Jonah, and a new, and for many in the West, an un-traditional Prophet, Muhammad.
Islam is righteousness, righteous behavior, and a Muslim is someone who submits and attempts to live according to the righteous codes taught by Allah (God) through His Prophets. End of sermon.
Some folks today, prefer a world where evil–racism, sexism, exploitation–are the order of the day, and would like to see the institutions which perpetuate evil, continue to rule the world.
Those who support this “dark side,” have and continue to rule the day. In the Islamic world, they supported and continue to support despotic, corrupt rulers: Shah Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne in Iran; for a long time, Pres. Saddam Hussein in Iraq; the House of Saud in Arabia; Hosni Mubarak in Egypt; Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan.
Now all of a sudden, we see on the world scene a number of radical Muslims opposed to those despots, like the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban are extremists who absolutely restrict women and girls among other restrictions. When they were in power, they enforced a number of radical ordinances, which are cultural and not religious. So-called “honor killings” of girls raped by sick men, is not an Islamic practice. Punish the guilty rapists, not the innocent women and girls!
In some Islamic societies women cannot vote. In others, women are not even permitted to drive automobiles. In some places, women are not even permitted to pray inside the mosques! In Cape Town, South Africa, women are not permitted to speak on the Muslim-run radio station there, all in the name of religious orthodoxy.
How can those customs be authentically and traditionally Islamic, when there was no such thing as an automobile or radio broadcasting at the time of Islam’s Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)? Those are all cultural mandates which have nothing to do with the religious beliefs or practices taught by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and now observed by the majority of the faithful, pious, God-fearing Muslims throughout the world. But it’s all viewed as part of the mosaic of what it means to be a Muslim in the world today.
How can women be fairly restricted from even entering the houses worship when the Holy Quran (the Holy book of Islamic scriptures) refers to: “The believing man, the believing woman. The charitable man, the charitable woman. The sacrificing man, the sacrificing woman?” The truth is there is no such Islamic religious distinction, men and women are to be judged equally by Allah, for without a knowledgeable, sacrificing, believing woman, you will never have a sacrificing, charitable and believing man.
So in today’s modern world, liberals and civil libertarians don’t know what or whom to support politically, in the Islamic world. The despotic, corrupt rulers, backed by the West, such as Pres. Musharraf, say they are opposing the radical Islamists, of whom liberals are understandably afraid. What to do? What to do?
Remember this, and you won’t err in judgment when it comes to the Islamic world: “Islam is not the problem. Islam is the solution to the problems.” That’s true in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen.
Those who oppose peaceful Islamic development, only incubate violent, radical Islamic efforts to improve the conditions of the world’s people.