Let’s not allow a fringe group of twisted terrorists to divide Canadians- Lal Khan Malik

Source: Montreal Gazette

Lal Khan Malik

Lal Khan Malik

Lal Khan Malik, of Vaughan, Ont., is national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Canada and is one of the founders of the “Stop the CrISIS” campaign. lmalik@ahmadiyya.ca

“Allahu akbar” — God is great. I believe this with all my heart.

And yet that same heart breaks at the thought that this has now become the clarion call for murderous terrorists, who wreak havoc in God’s name, seemingly all across the world, from Paris to Mali to San Bernardino, and so many places in between.

In the aftermath of all this carnage, with the fear and paranoia toward Muslims in the West at an all-time high, the most important question now becomes, “how do we move forward?”

It’s a two-part question, because there are two distinct groups — Muslims and non-Muslims — who each need to understand what roles they must play in order for our society to become stronger out of these tragedies, rather than split apart or become seized by paranoia.

First off, what do Muslims need to do at this critical time?

Quran 1For me, the single most important thing is to come out with a highly vocal response that condemns this concept of a bloody, violent jihad, in the strongest terms.

While the Muslim community’s response in recent years has in fact become more vocal, there is a pervasive sentiment among non-Muslims that there is a general silence from Muslims that is both deafening and damning; a silence that indicates that perhaps Muslims are in tacit agreement with such a “jihad.”

To combat this perception, Muslims must speak out in a big way, and do whatever they can to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about how utterly un-Islamic these attacks are. They must start by showing that the Qur’an and the Prophet teach peace and are diametrically opposed to terrorism of any form. It is the Qur’an that states “whosoever killed a person … it shall be as if he had killed all mankind” (33:5), and it was the Prophet who stated that “the greatest Jihad is that which is waged against one’s self.”

JihadAfter the attack on Parliament Hill in 2014, I was fortunate enough to partner with some other leaders in the Muslim community to launch a nationwide anti-radicalization campaign, called Stop the CrISIS, which actually ended up going international, and proved that this is what non-Muslims need to see and hear to really feel our solidarity.

Next, how do non-Muslims in the West need to respond?

Well, they have to realize that while the people of the world are under attack, so too are Muslims. Not only do innocent Muslims bear the brunt of these atrocities in Syria and throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa, but here in the West, too, there is a real and dangerous backlash.

This is Canada-Local synagogue welcomed Muslims for Friday Prayer when local mosque was burnt down

The mosque in Peterborough being set on fire, the hijab-wearing woman in Toronto getting beaten up; the assaults on Muslim women riding public transit in Toronto; the Quebec man who threatened to kill one Muslim or Arab a week — these things worry Canadian Muslims. I’ve spoken to dozens of Muslims who are expressing anxiety at the current social atmosphere and rising anti-Muslim incidents.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Non-Muslims need not fear Islam or their Muslim fellow citizens. We are part and parcel of the fabric of Canadian society. We love Canada and we love our fellow Canadians. We are your neighbours and your colleagues and your friends and your brothers and your sisters. We are you.

Muslim MPs CAnada

And this religion we follow — it’s not a manual for militants, it is a guide for more than 1.6 billion people, and for 99.99 per cent of us, it gives us inner peace and spiritual uplift.

Love of LAndSo let’s not let this fringe group of twisted terrorists tear us apart. We must be wiser than that. The peace and stability of our society depend on it.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “we must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

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