Originally posted in The New York Times
As a Muslim-American, I completely agree with President Obama’s comments that Muslim leaders must speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance.
Muslim leaders have a major role to play in the war against terrorism. Perverse interpretations of Islam are the root causes of radicalization prevalent in some parts of the Muslim world and are also affecting a small minority of American Muslims. It is imperative that Muslim leaders promote the peaceful Islamic concepts of “no compulsion in religion” and “loyalty to one’s homeland.”
By merely condemning terrorist acts but not forcefully rejecting the extremist ideology that promotes these acts, the Muslim leaders cannot truly claim that they are playing a significant role in the war against terrorism. Unless this is done, I am afraid that ISIS and similar terrorist organizations might continue to influence a small fraction of Muslim youth.