GLEN ELLYN – In light of the recent deadly attacks in Paris, Azam Akram wants the world to know the face of Islam is not the one portrayed by terrorist group ISIS.
“We condemn any act of violence, any act of terrorism,” Akram said during a discussion Nov. 18 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
Akram is an imam – an Islamic religious minister – within the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has a mosque on Route 53 near Glen Ellyn.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Paris that killed 129 people and injured more than 340 others. Akram spoke as part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Stop the CrISIS initiative that was launched to counter radicalization, terrorism and ignorance.
Akram said to refer to groups like ISIS as Muslim is “absolutely wrong.”
“Terrorists are those that instill terror in you,” he said. “And I tell you, in the Muslim world, the Muslims are terrified.”
Akram uses the word “Daesh” in referring to ISIS. In Arabic, “Daesh” means “something that you stomp on,” he said.
“That is what we’re doing,” Akram said.
Although some politicians are calling for increased military action against groups like ISIS, Akram said that won’t stop them.
“We can bomb them back to the stone ages, but there is more waiting in line,” he said. “What you have to do is eradicate this tactic that they use. You have to eradicate the ignorance within us. Because ignorance leads to misunderstanding, and misunderstanding leads to fear. Fear leads to hatred. Hatred leads to anger. And anger ultimately leads to violence.”
COD student Maxim Sklodowski, 20, of Westmont, said he wanted to attend the discussion to gain more knowledge about the issue.
“Ignorance breeds hate,” he said. “That’s why there is a lot of people against Islam these days.”
Faran Rabbani, who also is an imam within the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said ISIS can be stopped by giving the 1.6 billion peace-loving Muslims in the world a voice.
“The only way you can beat an ideology is to present a better ideology,” Rabbani said. “They are using the violent ideology, and we have the peaceful ideology. We need to give the peaceful people the platform to come and voice what they have to say.”