Originally posted in The Baltimore Sun
Recently, a Sun poll asked readers whether “avoiding the phrase ‘Islamic extremism’ when referring to certain terrorist groups take[s] away their power as religious leaders, as the president contends?” (Feb. 19).
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and a majority of them disagree strongly with the actions and ideologies of terrorist groups. It’s unfair that the religion of all Muslims should be represented by such people
The sole purpose of terrorist organizations is to gain power, and the only way they can realize their goal is by preaching violence in the name of Islam. In an era in which anyone can easily look up the teachings of the Holy Quran and the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, it’s a shame terrorists can fool people into believing they represent Islam.
The phrase “Islamic extremism” actually hurts the fight against terrorism because it seems to legitimize the terrorists as some sort of holy warriors. They are not. They are extremists, pure and simple, and what they do has nothing to do with religion.
Zafir Ahmed, Columbia