Thursday, February 16, 2006

An Appeal...

This is an appeal to the people following a certain religion. Islam. I am not an Islamophobe. I am not a Muslim-hater. Some of my best friends are Muslim, and there are things about the religion that I admire strongly. Now hear me out before you jump to conclusions about me. Recent events have sown in me a great distaste for your religion, and I hope you look at this not as a condemnation or criticism, but rather a plea for improvement.

I have heard all the arguments that it is just a small minority that conducts such abhorrent acts, and the news media popularizes those minorities' actions, because sensationalism sells, dull reality doesnt. And I absolutely agree that they are extremely valid and true. So basically, people following Islam can be split into two categories, the insane extremists, and the decent moderates, the latter forming the overwhelming majority. However, the fact remains that it is only Islam that in recent times has caused the recent carnage and destruction we have all witnessed. Well, maybe caused is not the right word: Lets say, been unjustly used to justify those heinous acts. Islam, you will say does not condone any of the things those terrorists do. Yet, a relatively large number of people are convinced that Islam does indeed give them the liberty, nay the obligation, to kill or maim in the process of the spreading of God's words. This could be the result of one of two things, 1) Islam actually inherently supports violence, something I am not ready to believe, if for nothing else for the fact that I am an optimist, 2) That it is being mischaracterized, which I hope is true.

However, my belief that the second situation is true angers me even further. Since moderate Muslim's (who form the majority) version of Islam is being so grossly distorted, why are they not doing anything. If you are a moderate Muslim, I am sure you will reply that cartoons misrepresenting Islam in the western media do nothing to help your cause. But I am not talking about Western people's beliefs of Islam. I am talking about Muslim's beliefs about Islam. About the minor fringe, which has the greatest influence on your religion's image. If a significant percentage of Muslims themselves have trouble understanding what the religion is all about, after having lived in its fold all their lives long, how can you expect Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Hindus to understand your religion?

I have no answer for how moderate muslims could reform their religion, or their image, but I do believe that making sure that your religious educators stop spreading the word that blowing up buildings is a sure way to heaven, is a good starting spot. Mend your house before you trying fixing others.