Using Ramadan to fight terrorism
As Muslims all over the World begin their annual Ramadan fasting and prayers, I wish to use this medium to felicitate with them and pray that the Almighty Allah will accept their supplications and grant their good heart desires. In as much as Islam is a popular and highly respected faith that can be found in all continents of the world; it is sad and disgusting that some people are tainting it with criminality. Islam preaches peace, love and unity amongst the people and should not be associated with violence and destruction of lives and properties. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all Muslims to fight against any acts that are capable of distorting the truth about the Islamic faith. It is based on this fact, that I have found it expedient to reach out to brother and sisters all over the world to use this year’s exercise for sober reflections and to make firm efforts to disabuse the minds of the people.
Personally as a Christian, I attended a Muslim Secondary School back in the late 70’s and early 80’s and today, I stand bold to say that it was a pleasant and memorable experience. We co-existed harmoniously and happily without any form of discrimination and hatred. It was fun all the way and, there was never any incident pertaining to clash of interests between Islam and the others. It is therefore, disheartening that the religion I grew to know and appreciate is now being erroneously and injuriously associated with evils. In as much as I do not have a deep knowledge of the teachings of the Holy Quran, I have been privileged to listen to various messages and sermons of renowned Islamic Scholars and Preachers and; none of them preached violence. Those that are supporting and advocating wanton destructions of lives and properties in the name of Islam are doing so for reasons best known to them, but definitely not sanctioned or supported by the tenets of the religion. The protagonists of this negative thinking are obviously in the minority and, hiding under the perception that they are fighting God’s battle against oppression and discrimination by perceived infidels and enemies of the faith. This is wrong and unjustifiable and should be discouraged in this civilized age and time. Furthermore, there is no reasonable and progressive law or body of rules that support taking laws into our hands. Even, if there are grievances of any sort (which is normal due to the heterogeneous nature of the world); there are numerous ways and avenues to seeking and getting remedies or redresses without resulting to violence.
As a result of the aforementioned, all true Muslims should take it upon themselves to protect the good image and objectives of their faith by joining hands with the relevant authorities and agencies in their home states and places of residence with a view to eradicating the activities of the so called ‘Freedom Fighters.’ We should be prepared to always ‘Say something, when we see something’.
Furthermore, any act of terrorism (no matter how minute it may appear) should not be condoned and encouraged. In as much as I deliberately will not make references to any specific attack in order not to prick the sensibilities and emotions of the injured and families of those that lost their lives; it will not be out of place to say such actions have always brought sorrow, tears and gnashing of teeth. Some people might feel unconcerned because it has not affected their country or any of their relatives but, they should have it at the back of their minds that, it could happen anywhere and to anyone. Thus, the fight against the menace should concern humanity and all countries of the world.
Therefore, we should take full advantages of this period by utilizing every available medium to educate the people (especially the youths) on the need to avoid any association or activities that are capable of tarnishing the global image of the founding fathers of the Islamic religion. Sermons and lectures should center more on the need for all hands to be on deck towards ensuring that we disabuse the minds of the youths who are very prone to being radicalized. Also, the people should be encouraged to always see other religions as the fundamental rights of those who practice them. Therefore, they should always live in peace and harmony with one another. The time to stop this erroneous insinuations and misinformation about Islam is now.
At this juncture, I would call on world leaders to join hands together with a view to finding lasting solutions to this menace. It is time for all appropriate international organizations to work round the clock with relevant agencies in member states with the aim of dealing with the problems from the grass roots.
Also, respective nations and authorities should always close monitor the activities of manufacturers of arms and ammunitions and ensure to track the movement of raw materials and end products to avoid leakages and diversions to wrong hands.
The world Super Powers should come together and prioritize the fight against terrorism over proliferation of nuclear weapons. The world would be safer when, the activities of terrorist are largely curtailed or totally eradicated rather than building and stockpiling of ammunitions for ‘assaults and defence’ against perceived and prospective enemies.
People of other faiths and religions should also desist from attributing any act of terrorism to Islam. This erroneous and injurious perception should be erased. I can say it without any iota of doubt that, it is a religion that promotes love and peaceful co-existence amongst the people regardless of their races. Therefore, it is pertinent that we should all join hands together to say ‘NO TO TERRORISM in the world.
Oise-Oghaede is a Political and Public Policy Analyst based in Lagos.
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