Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Call for an Islamic Reformation

A plot by six foreign borne Muslims to kill as many soldiers as they could at Ft. Dix was stopped today. The FBI attributed the victory to a video store clerk. The clerk was asked by one of the men to copy a video that showed many of the conspirators firing weapons and talking about jihad. The clerk contacted the FBI. Three of the Muslims were illegal immigrants and two had green cards. The plot had been in the works for some time, and the six had acquired a map of Ft. Dix and were purchasing weapons for their attack. Based on the detailed complaint filed by the FBI, there is no doubt these men thought they were acting in accordance with Islamic Jihad.

Most articles I have read end with the following paragraph:

"If these people did something, then they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Sohail Mohammed, a lawyer who represented scores of detainees after the 2001 attacks. "But when the government says `Islamic militants,' it sends a message to the public that Islam and militancy are synonymous."

"Don't equate actions with religion," he said.

Not all Muslims wish harm to the United States and her citizens. I reviewed a book in February entitled American Islam which discusses how different Muslims in America see themselves and their faith. It also discuses how their lives have changed since 9/11. However, to ignore the violence that some Muslims in the world feel Islam dictates they use in the name of Allah is to ignore world events today. It does not help that many feel unable to safely discuss Islam without being labeled a racist or being painted as a target by certain Muslim groups. However, if Islam and the West are going to continue to co-exist, there must be a Reformation within Islam.

Is Islam a religion that endorses violence against Israel, Judaism, Americans, or even other sects of Islam, or is it a religion that has simply been misunderstood and manipulated? Muslims must come to terms with how they wish their religion to go forward. Will Islam continue to be used to kill untold numbers, silence dissent, kill and beat women under the term “honor killing”? Will Islam become the true religion of peace where Mohammad’s message can be taught and discussed without fear of violence? I can not answer these questions; this is a Reformation that must be lead by Muslims and come from Muslims.

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