During the last 20-30 years we have seen a marked increase in sectarian violence. Unfortunately today more Muslims are killed by the Muslims than any other group. If this behavior continues this will cause a serious damage to Muslim Ummah. The atrocities committed by Muslim groups are extremely painful and intolerable. By blaming each other and foreign influences are not going to alleviate the problems. It is our responsibility to overt this serious situation before it damages the entire Muslim world.
The barbaric sectarian violence continues unabated in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world, resulting in loss of thousands of innocent lives. These violent practices are contrary to the true teachings of Islam. Publicly it is impossible to equate Islam with peace when the very countries that are supposedly practicing Islam have this level of violence. The purpose of our religion Islam is to spread peace and humanity, not violence and terrorism.
The obvious question is, while Islam is the religion of Peace, what are the main contributing factors for the increased violence and terrorism? In my humble opinion, they are:
· The politically driven theocratic forces among Muslim sects.
· Intolerance due to lack of clear understanding of Quran and Islam.
During the last few years hundreds of Muslim scholars, Imams and Muslim organizations have issued Fatwa’s and made statements condemning the atrocities in Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world.
Articles have been written exploring the underlying causes and pathology of the problem and recommending an educational process to highlight and promote harmony among different factions.
ISNA and other respectable organizations in US and other parts of the world made strong statements on Muslim code of Honor promoting religious harmony. Unfortunately, these writings have not produced any significant impact on sectarian violence around the world. In fact, it has much more intensified in recent years.
How can we develop the Intra-faith harmony:
It is time that we Muslims, specifically the scholars and leaders, sit together to focus on commonalities between various sects instead of elaborating the differences and nurture our youth to tolerate the differences and learn to live in peace and harmony with humanity at large.
It is time for a collective, sincere and unbiased grass root effort to bring Muslim power brokers to negotiating table and must continue this process until the goal is achieved.
Please remember in Islam, the highest importance is given to the sanctity of human lives.
Last year we organized IQRA (Institute of Quranic knowledge &Intra-faith Religious Acceptance), to express our condemnation, concerns, dismay and frustration over the extensive loss of lives due to the ever escalating, brutal, senseless, and futile Shia Sunni sectarian civil wars .This mayhem does not have any religious or theological roots, reasons or justification.
We would like to Caution all American Muslims, belonging to various sects to be watchful of any hate-literature from back home and / or from some European Countries for moral, financial, political, emotional or logistical support towards creating sectarian disharmony.
We would like to inform all area Muslims, regardless of their sectarian preferences that under the umbrella of IQRA, various distinguished Imams, organizations and community leaders are here to listen to you. We will be glad to brief, explain or clarify the seriousness of the current situation back home or to answer any related question or concern, in these confusing times.
Together we form the majority. Together we stand for tolerance, love and peace. Together we will, Insha’Allah prevail
We know that our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is the best example. Even though he had been informed by Allah about the disbelief of the hypocrites, he never allowed people to engage in violence against them. In fact, he even went out of his way to extend the hand of tolerance towards them. This was wisdom on his part, and we should employ the same wisdom with the different minorities that at least believe in the same fundamental things that we believe in.
We have developed the following goals for IQRA:
Start dialogues with community leaders of the Islamic faith, irrespective of their being Sunni or Shia or any other minority sect
The purpose of these dialogues is not theological debate; rather, it is a discussion of how as leaders we can relay the message that violence between the sects is counter-productive for all involved
Together we must denounce all forms of sectarian violence.
Once we have created this model, we can hope that others will replicate it on a global level
We can also hope that the general public will then realize that it is in their best interest to shun violence and engage in dialogue.
We can make this world a better place to live for entire humanity in general and Muslims in particular - God says he has made us into different tribes and communities, and the best ones among us, per him, are those who are pious and follow the Quranic guidelines. We need to learn to respect each other and learn to live with each other irrespective of different believes and faiths we follow. A few among us are hung up with Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi and other sects. We do not have to agree with each others believe and we do not have to convince that who is right and who is wrong but we need to tolerate and learn to accept the differences without anger and hatred.
May God guide us guidance to shelve our arrogance and humbly acknowledge each other. If our acts do not build friendships, extend kindness, take care of the one who is down, and just to others, then we are not following the teachings of Islam.
For further information about IQRA please contact:
M. Basheer Ahmed, President Emeritus 817-907-6080