Originally posted on The Detroit News
The recent spate of violence conducted by the Islamic State in France, Lebanon and Sinai is a cause of deep concern for all. The extremists have committed outrageous acts that bring disrepute to Muslims over the world. There is a false perception that some media outlets have promoted that all Muslims are passively sitting and do not condemn atrocities by Jihadi groups. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in metro Detroit has worked to address this misperception with efforts like the recent event “What is the pathway to peace?” at Henry Ford College. Members of this Islamic community have organizing a counter-narrative campaign to the hatred which IS or like-minded extremists have been spreading.
In the past several years, its members nationwide have helped collect more than 30,000 blood donations to honor 9/11 victims, and held more than 60 interfaith events engagements with academia, churches and synagogues. It has engaged its youth in campaigns against hunger, adopt highways and other positive social activities as a counter-response to radicalization.
The irony is IS has committed most of its crimes against their fellow co-religionists and has forced thousands of ordinary Muslims from their homes as refugees. Contrast this with the reality that Muslims have a protected right to practice Sharia in the West which includes offering prayers, preaching, construction of mosques and publication of religious books.
Defeating IS requires confronting an ideology of hate and to engage troubled youth. This happens when ordinary Muslims promote inter-communal harmony and charity to remove the misperception.
This response is inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s words that “a (true) Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands others are safe.”