Dr. Ali S. Awadh Asseri
(Former Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon)
In the West, Muslims are frequently labelled as terrorists and killers, and Islam is portrayed as a religion that incites violence and hatred. The fact is that Muslims, as a whole, do not believe in terrorism, and Islam abhors violence in any form and shape. It is, however, true that there are groups of people who call themselves Muslims, but have deviated from the path of Islam. It is they who commit acts of terrorism. It is important to note that while committing terrorism, such deviant individuals or groups do not make any distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is this deviant category of people in the world of Islam whose deeds and behavior contradict how Muslims are religiously obliged to conduct themselves in life under the principles of Islam.
It is also important to note that this problem, i.e. the gap between what religion says and how some of its followers behave, is not peculiar to Islam. Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, in fact all of the world’s religions or religious cults, have shown such deviant tendencies and their militaristic outcomes. The followers of many religions often focus on what is different i.e. theological aspects and rituals, instead of focusing on what is common, i.e. values and principles. From such an approach stem the differences, which are fed upon ambitions and narrow interests. Consequently, hatred, conflict, violence, war and prejudice become the outcome of such an approach.
(To be continued)