Skip to comments.Imams hit road to beat extremism
Posted on 02/26/2006 9:12:09 PM PST by Lorianne
It is a Friday night in west London and nearly 1,000, mainly young, men and women are packed into a hall eagerly anticipating the evening's main event.
Naveed Mustaghfar said there was a lot of "confusion" about the Koran But it is not a pop concert they have come to attend.
All these young people are giving up their Friday evening for the latest event in what has been dubbed the "imams' roadshow".
The audience are nearly all Muslims who have come to hear influential Islamic scholars - or shaykhs - from all over the world give their views on the Koran's teaching.
It is one of a series of talks aimed at steering Muslims away from extremism by clearing up misconceptions and misinterpretations of the Koran, part of the Radical Middleway Project.
The initiative was one of the suggestions from the Muslim Taskforce set up by to advise the government in the wake of the London bombings last July when four young men blew up themselves and 52 commuters.
It's not a narrow audience. I've seen members of Hizb ut-Tahrir and sympathisers of al-Muhajiroun at these events
Abdul-Rehman Malik, Q News
Events such as this have been taking place around the country over the past three months with the project to run until December.
It is a completely different face of Islam from the angry, banner-waving Muslims seen recently after cartoons satirising the prophet Mohammed sparked outrage in Britain and around the world.
Marwan Ghannam, of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis), one of the groups behind the events, explained one of the roadshow's main tasks.
"When you're young, you always want to change the world for the good which you can do with radical ideas.
"But they don't have to be extremist ideas, they don't have to have a destructive effect, they can be constructive," he says.
The peaceful nature of Koranic teachings was emphasised
Scholar Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, of the US Zaytuna Muslim educational foundation, who has written several books about Islam, is among the speakers.
The Koran stresses Muslims should "speak well to people" and "debate in a beautiful manner", he says.
"These are the type of Koranic teachings which need to be highlighted especially when the Muslim community feels under siege and the media amplify minority voices from within the community which are not representative," he says.
It is a theme Shaykh Hamza and his fellow speakers - Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, a Mauritanian-born scholar renowned throughout the Muslim world and Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, an adviser to the government on Muslim matters - expanded on.
Afterwards audience member Kobir Ahmed, 22, a medicine student, said he found the topic very pertinent in light of the Danish cartoons row.
"Most of the scholars raised a very important point that before we start accusing others we need to look at ourselves.
"If we start to embody what our religion says we won't have these problems," he said.
Saliha Afzal, a scientist, said she believed such events would help tackle extremism.
Denise Khadijah is thinking about converting to Islam
"One of the reasons people get so frustrated is because we don't have Islamic leaders in this country to provide us with a measured response to people who try to create tensions in the community.
"I think the response of the shaykhs is exactly what we needed," she said.
Naveed Mustaghfar agreed, saying there was a lot of "confusion" about the Koran.
"When you have someone like Shaykh Hamza who can give you some guidance on how to interpret it the way it was intended to be interpreted, that can really help people to understand the religion and apply it the way it was meant to be applied," he said.
Non-Muslim Denise Khadijah said: "I'm looking into becoming a Muslim so I came along to get more information.
"I enjoyed the event because there's a lot of negative press at the moment so it was nice to hear something positive."
While the audience reaction was overwhelmingly positive, is there a danger the shaykhs are preaching to the converted?
Not according to Abdul-Rehman Malik, of Q News, one of the event's organisers, who says people from groups across the spectrum attend.
"It's not a narrow audience. I've seen members of Hizb ut-Tahrir and sympathisers of al-Muhajiroun at these events.
"I think the very fact that they're in the auditorium, they're listening and they're respectful, they're out here debating, agreeing and disagreeing is engagement in itself," he said.
Radical and yet Middleway.....
LOL, Imams--good luck on that futile task...
This sounds like the differences btwn socialism and communism:
Socialism is communism but with a timetable
Socialism is communism with manners
First thing they will have to do is ban the Koran and get rid of that Mohammad guy's teachings. In other words, terrorism and Islam are the same thing, this is like dressing a wolf in a sheepskin and calling him fido. It's rough on the children in the end.
It is a good thing and I am glad you posted it. But notice the comments? Ugly and nasty even though the article was saying that the talks were for the express purpose of combating extremism. Comments that make me sick. I just finished reading a thread where everyone was screaming about how the Muslim moderates don't speak up. And right here we are reading about moderates that are tying and the majority of posts just trash them. There is a lot of extremism right here on FR.
Islam is Peace!TM
Well the middleway is obviously still very radical for Islam.
"And right here we are reading about moderates that are tying and the majority of posts just trash them. There is a lot of extremism right here on FR."
That is because in the past (And past actions are all that we have to make judgements about future behavior), many of these clerics, who put on these dog and pony shows for public consumption, were preaching out of the other sides of their mouthes and calling for killings, bombings, etc. This has not just been happening recently. This has been the history of islam. This is how they are taught to operate. Open your eyes...but first, take your head out of the sand...
Damned if they do and damned if they don't.