Violence and terrorism in some form or the other have been part of Human Condition from day one. History is full of wars and atrocities inflicted by most people over others as they saw weak to be exploited or for various other real or fake reasons. After the Second World War, the World had calmed down to a large extent, except a few pockets of violence here and there.
A few reasons for some of this violence, centered in the Middle East, led to the infamous 9/11 incidence. After that all broke loose and now it seems it is “The Age of Terrorism"
Followers of some self appointed leaders who misrepresent Islam are resorting to acts of violence not only in the Western Countries but in their own.
Terrorism is not exclusive to the Muslim groups in the past or present. People resort to terrorism and violence when as weak they perceive injustice, by the more powerful, be it from within or without, a foreign country or their own corrupt government. Unfortunately innocent suffer directly or as collateral damages.
These terrorists feel that the West is doing injustices to their Muslim populated world. Western writers are themselves pointing at the power (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) in the West being the cause for upsurge of Muslim group terrorist such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the like.
As it looks, the leaders of the Muslim populated world are silent and non participant from the beginning even though their countries are claimed to be harboring terrorists or being associated with terrorism.
In this chaos one hears humanly, justified, well understood and sincere voices of a Western Leader – Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, on different occasions making statements on various aspects of related problems:
"Former president Wulff said Islam belongs to Germany. That is true. I also hold this opinion," Merkel said at a news conference hours before marches by the movement of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, were to begin in several German cities.
In another statement said the Chancellor, “Every exclusion of Muslims in Germany, every general suspicion is forbidden” emphasizing that the free practice of religion, including Islam, was protected under by the German Constitution. She further added, “We will not let ourselves be divided”.
Paul William quotes her, "Our country is going to carry on changing, and integration is also a task for the society taking up the task of dealing with immigrants,” Ms. Merkel told the daily newspaper. "For years we've been deceiving ourselves about this. Mosques, for example, are going to be a more prominent part of our cities than they were before.” Paul Williams also quotes the figures of rising Muslim population in Europe.
And she has a very valid question directed to Muslim leaders,
“They want to know why terrorists have so little regard for the value of human life and why they tie their crimes to their faith. They ask how they can trust the phrase that murderers who claim to act in the name of Islam have nothing to do with Islam,” Ms. Merkel said.
“I want to emphasize that these are valid questions. I believe we urgently need a clarification of these questions by Islam’s religious leaders. This issue can’t be evaded any longer,” she said.
Terrorists may believe that they are “allowed to act, punish, kill on God’s behalf,” she said, “but for me, this is nothing but blasphemy.”
No doubt and rightly so she is acting expeditiously to take all security measures for protection from terrorism. She favors freedom of speech, in my opinion not that which may cause hatred leading to violence.
These suggest that she has a vision to rectify the existing situation related to terrorism. In my opinion it is also an invitation to the world as a whole.
She is the only leader along with her predecessor who has made such bold statements amongst supporting and opposing German population at large. She made these statements in the German parliament, attending anti-Muslim and pro-Muslim rally, the latter by German population let alone Muslims. Is there any leader in the West who is paying attention to stand up and support her which I believe that she wishes to put into plan? Thus she has a vision for future of Germany which if implemented will serve as an example for others to follow
Various Western leaders lately have made statements particularly differentiating general Muslim population from the terrorists and putting challenge on the shoulder of the Muslim leaders asking them to take various responsibilities and pointing to terrorism in their countries (6, 7, 8, 9, 10).
She displays knowledge of controversies in Islam by various Islamic scholars and pointing to the acts of terrorists being done in the name of Islam as blasphemous. She wants answer from Muslim leaders what answer she should give the people, when they ask her what Islam she meant. They want to know why the terrorists have such little value for human life and why they always link their deeds to their faith.
The answer should come from the German Muslim Community across Germany in one agreed consensus. In my experience of three decades of service to the Muslim community with people of other faiths in various capacities under various conditions, this expectation is unlikely to be met. Muslim community has diverse origin. It is established fact that various versions of Islam are preached by various Islamic scholars according to their background. There is Pope in Catholicism but no such authority in Islam. The Grand Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb has shown concerns regarding the misrepresented Islam in the West. He is an accepted and respected authority by the majority of Muslims.
For the success of these valuable initiatives steps ought to be taken by the Chancellor for their success otherwise it will die down as any. I put forward some suggestions here.
A council under the authority of the government and working with the government will be required. The council should consist of Muslim scholars born and raised in the West or who have lived majority of their life in the West. Their credentials should show knowledge and non biased opinion. Jamal Badawi , Tariq Ramadan , Hamza Yusuf , and Non Muslim Islamic scholars, John Esposito and Karen Armstrong are few suitable for this task to sit on the council as reflected on their credentials.
An Islamic Scholar nominated by the German Muslims should be included. The informative document should be prepared by this council answering these raised questions and presented to the Chancellor. Any other new problem that might occur from time to time should be addressed by this council. The respected Chancellor Angela Merkel ought to be the Chair with a Vice Chair for day to day running of the council but requiring final approval by the Chair.
All decisions are to be according to Quran and authentic Hadith (told and practiced by the prophet). In rare circumstances the Council ought to use the God-given conscience as stated by Quran(11, 12) as well as use of consultation(13, 14) , as per Quran and Hadith. Islam is a very practical and accommodative religion. It also advises the Muslims to obey the law of the country where they live. Of course it asks to raise constructive voice with authorities for inappropriate matters.
If wisdom permits, public opinion may be sought on such documents in a democratic country but not approval if it violates the Quran and cannot be accommodated by the authentic Hadith. The respected Imam of Al Azhar may be an asset for consultation and speaker on the subject of misunderstood Islam.
What about the rising Muslim population in the West? This fact is confirmed by the Chancellor in the article by Paul Williams. Some Western writers are alerting the West of this rising population (P. Williams / Mark Steyn.) So what is the solution to this rising population – genocide, mass deportation or shutting down the immigration? Are all these possible solutions? World has seen an attempt of genocide in Bosnia and the result genocide of the native Indians. No doubt West stood up to help in Bosnia although late. World has also seen mass deportation by Edi Amin of Uganda who ended up in exile. The West depends on immigrants. Muslims are among them. The contribution of the immigrants for the West to sustain itself and progress are exemplary with no cost to the West for the progress made by the immigrants. The Muslims are not part of the economic loss that occurs on a day to day basis in dealing with the alcohol abuse, gambling etc related problems that occur in the Western Countries. Many immigrants come for better economic life; others come because of rampant corruption and undemocratic acts by the democratically elected leaders in their countries. The administration of the government falls in the hands of these democratically elected leaders who rule over their population. This may be limited to some families who rule the country decades after decades.
Live in peace and let live is the ideal goal of life for the world. This goal is not achievable. There is nobody to reconcile or negotiate for justice to prevail. UNO meant for that purpose is obviously powerless. Ego and greed for whatever objectives are forcing one against the other to let chaos prevail after their occurrence. This is very obvious across the world.
All Muslims across the board were considered to be associated with terror. The situation that occurred with the Italian, Japanese and others were repeated. Some from among the Muslims became determined to act violently considering the injustice done to them; a group feeling hurt isolated themselves and minded their own business, although living in the fear. The Chancellor has made note of paying attention to the fear of suspicion by the Muslims noted in her statement above.
It would have been a wiser step to incorporate the Muslims as participant to solve this problem right from the beginning as being pointed out now by the Westerners (Ian Buruma). They would have felt dignified serving their country as their religion dictates to serve their country. They would have worked shoulder to shoulder. Unfortunately, they were target of mistrust and of victimization. There has been plot to lure Muslims into fake terror plots and reactions of the Muslim community against it (15 , 16).Of course it is necessary to be alert for any terror and be vigilant for surveillance but not creating suspicion and degrading Muslims. They ought to be included as partner with dignity. Islam upholds dignity and respect. A shy attempt has started to some extent
Islamophobia continues. It is on the rise (17. 18 ). The leaders of the Muslim populated world have remained silent all along other than trying to protect themselves in their positions. They could have played important role right from the beginning. They could have contacted the West maligning and victimizing the innocent Muslims. They should have entered into negotiation with the terrorist group educating them and learning their grievances for peaceful settlement. They could have asked the West to deal with terrorism jointly even if not invited by the West. They could stand up now to start such participations with still rising Islamophobia. There are reasonable voices of supports from some public, some journalist and churches.
While Islamophobia continues, there is sympathy and help from some corners of the world as lesson to be learnt by Islamophobes. Where there is anti Muslim rally there is Pro Muslim rally by general population in larger number such as in Germany , Australia , UK, Canada . Muslims thanked Non -Muslims who help clean a vandalized mosque in Foam lake city (Alberta) of Canada.
There is lesson learning in the persons of Rachael Jacobs and Stacey Eden . How they exemplified in defending the victimizing Muslims. These waves of understanding and support may be by others not included in this write up.
There is anti Christians drive in Muslim and Hindu populated countries which require attention.
The Chancellor is sincere in her statements in Germany and wants to put these in practice.
It requires reciprocal response from the German population at large and much more from the Muslims to stand and show it to the Germans who they are and what they can do to live in peace with accommodation in their new home even if they have to make sacrifices. They must not stand openly or secretly to demand German as Islamic country or even a location of it. They must not demand anything that will offend another German population and that is what Islam tells them to do.
It requires cultural integration, maintaining their own culture happily as demonstrated in our book with the theme of Integration of Culture in the back ground of the History of Muslims of Regina ... It is two way traffic of respect and accommodation.
As to Germany under the leadership of the Chancellor it can stand alone, which has large German population and new German Muslims to show the world as lesson learning how they can coexist in peace. The suggested Council and others can serve as resource in UNO and followed by other countries.