Islam

Mr. Elmasry said there are bad Muslims just as there are bad Christians and

Jews. "We treat them as such and so should you. But Islam is a religion of
peace. Muslims have a religious duty to be tolerant of other faiths and other
ideologies.'' Mr. Elmasry said journalists need to differentiate between the
peaceful teachings of Islam and the claims of some Muslim extremists that their
actions are justified by their interpretations of Islam. He likened the
situation of Canadian Muslims today to that of Canadian Jews 50 years ago.
"Jewish children were being (wrongly) called Christ-killers just as Muslim
children are called terrorists today.'' In their letter to the editor in the

April 27 issue of the College Hill Independent, Jumana Musa and Shadi Nahvi made
some excellent points. They rightly asserted that the Western press tends to
portray Arabs and Muslims according to stereotypes and these myths persist
partly due to Western popular ignorance about Arabs and Muslims. Since the

Muslims students at Brown condemned the bombing of a Tel Aviv bus last year, I
am learning to separate the handful of Muslim and Arab extremists who commit
terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish civilians from the millions of

Muslim believers who do not participate in this violence and sometimes express
opposition to it. Since I began interacting with Muslims students through the
kosher/hallal meal plan this year, I am changing my perceptions of Muslims and
seeing them as people instead of abstractions. I think that many, many people in
the United States and in western countries, in Europe, are afraid of a monster
called Islam. And as the honorable Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said, it is an
insult to consider the whole of Muslims, to take them into one side, and make
them extremists. Really it is not correct. It is a little bit insulting. What is
the definition of extremism? We can see in all of history: even when the first
settlers came to the United States they were from different countries; Spain,

England, France, European Countries. They were fighting on this land and
fighting with the Indians. Do we call this extremism? A fight for a better
living, which you understand you are doing not for a religious motive, is not
extremism. Extremism in Islam, or in religion, is when you use religion to label
intolerance, to turn from religion and take ideas that you can extract for
yourself, or deduce for yourself, and use to make a militant movement and
disturb the peace in your country or around the world. That is called
"extremism," and "Islamic Extremism." But a movement for
better living, that is not extremism. These people nowadays are developing two
ways of understanding the situation of Islam. From one side they think that they
have to reform it; it is a duty on them, they have been brainwashed to think
that they have to cleanse the world of devils and demons and of countries that
suppress them, oppress them, and try to shut them down. Logicians argue that one
cannot pass a judgment on something unless one has a clear conception of it,
because the unknown and the undefined cannot be judged. Therefore, we first have
to determine what "religious ,extremism" means before we can condemn
or applaud it. We can do so by considering its reality and its most
distinguishing characteristics. Literally, extremism means being situated at the
farthest possible point from the center. Figuratively, it indicates a similar
remoteness in religion and thought, as well as behavior. One of the main
consequences of extremism is exposure to danger and insecurity.! Islam,
therefore, recommends moderation and balance in everything: in belief, ibadah,
conduct, and legislation. Islam is frequently misunderstood and may even seem
exotic in some parts of today's world. Perhaps this is because religion no
longer dominates everyday life in Western society; whereas, for Muslims, Islam
is life. Muslims make no artificial division between the secular and the sacred.
bin laden: "The treacherous attack has confirmed that Britain and America
are acting on behalf of Israel and the Jews, paving the way for the Jews to
divide the Muslim world once again, enslave it and loot the rest of its
wealth," the US magazine quotes bin Laden saying. What particularly
interested me in the report was the military demand that terrorism be eliminated
and extremism be abolished. Both terrorism and extremism, however, seem to
include, at least in their minds, most of the features of normal Muslim life.

Following this line of reasoning, extremism and Islam become two faces of the
same coin. And this, surprisingly,