Wrong Interpretation of Islam

Terrorism and Islam are absolutely different phenomena

Terrorism is one of the challenges of the modern reality. Its ideology is often disguised with the religious factor - the Islamic factor first and foremost. However, terrorism and Islam are absolutely different phenomena. Nevertheless, the international terrorism is closely associated with Islam now, inciting hostility and religious intolerance between nations. The issues of terrorism, religious extremism and other actual problems of the national security were discussed at a conference in Moscow on September 22nd. The conference was organized by the council of muftis of Russia in cooperation with the Spiritual Administration of Muslims in the Orenburg region. The conference took place under the motto "Religious tolerance is the foundation for multinational Russia to prosper."

The heads of Russian traditional religions (Muslims, Orthodox, Catholics, Jews) gathered to take part in the conference. Presidential envoys in Russian regions, politicians, State Duma deputies, spokespeople for foreign embassies and so on participated too. All participants of the conference agreed that it was time one should put an end to the religious intolerance. Chairman of the Russian council of muftis Ravil Gainutdin and chairman of the Russian association of mosques Ismail Shangareyev said, Muslim organizations currently exist under extremely favorable conditions, experiencing the new stage of relations with the state.

The state realizes the significance of the Islamic factor. President Putin has recently suggested Russia should join the Islamic Conference Organization. Nevertheless, there are still several problems connected with Muslim people's religious freedom. Local laws in several Russian regions contradict to the federal law. Officials set up obstacles for Muslim communities under the pretext of struggle with terrorism.

Islam is currently presented as the major reason of all social, economic and political problems. As a result, the society forms a negative attitude to Islam and Muslims, which cannot have a positive influence on the national security. If a country suffers from internal contradictions, it becomes very weak as a state, which makes it open to external aggression. Unfortunately, both mass media outlets and all kinds of politicians give a reason for that to happen. Most often, they act so because of the lack of knowledge. For example, there are two words that can frighten people and cause great indignation simultaneously - Jihad and Shakhid. Every person knows that Jihad is the war against the unfaithful and Shakhid is a suicide terrorist. Furthermore, a lot of young Muslims have the same interpretation of these words - they do not realize that it is simply a phrase out of the context passed off as the ultimate truth.

"A Shakhid possesses seven distinctive features to Allah: everything is forgiven to him with the first drop of blood, he sees his place in heaven, he adorns himself with the attire of faith, he will have 72 wives, he will be relieved of punishment in grave, he will be saved from the Doomsday horror, his head will be crowned with the crown of nobleness, and each stone in the crown will be more expensive than life."

This is the fate that a Shakhid will have to experience - it is a rather attractive perspective for Muslism. However, things are not that simple as they seem to be. A Sakhid is a warrior, who sacrifices his life to faith and dies as a martyr. Russian politicians and journalists do not realize that they pass off terrorist acts as martyr deaths in the name of faith.

Any Muslim person can become a potential pseudo-Shakhid hoping to lead a perfect life in heaven. However, such people will have to face something absolutely different. Prophet Mohammed said: "Do not kill a child, a woman, an elderly man or a man praying in his cell." It means that Islam allows to kill the people who kill, wage war and attack Muslims. Therefore, the actions that lead to numerous casualties are virtually a great crime against the Shariat law. Suicide bombers are self-murderers, doomed to never-ending torments in hell.

There are a lot of wrong perceptions of Jihad too. The word "Jihad" translates as the struggle with the use of all possible efforts. The word "struggle" implies the struggle with the faithless, as well as the struggle with soul, the evil spirit, the struggle with doubtful pleasures and so on and so forth. Jihad does not imply only a military struggle.

However, statements from journalists and politicians about terrorists and warriors of Islam incite anti-Islamic sentiments, intimidate people for bandits' benefit.

Probably, such meetings as the mentioned conference will assist in a more profound analysis of this complicated subject. There were booklets on conference members' tables - "Guidebook for Peace Through Human Rights. The Church of Scientology." Being indignant with terrorist manifestations, the authors of the booklet referred to Human Rights Watch international organization. They think that the ethnic and religious belonging leads to violation of human rights and conflicts in many countries of the world. The authors believe that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is capable of removing all problems.

In addition, conference members could read the booklets published by the organization Vatan (nationalist organization under the guise of democratic freedoms). Vatan blames Ivan the Awesome for all troubles of the Tatar nation because he had conquered the Kazan khanate. They blame Stalin for the extermination of Tatar people and culture. They also blame contemporary Russian politicians, who continue the bloody traditions of tsarist Russia and Stalinism.

Religion - a central layer in building a society and a state - may also become a weapon in the hands of extremists, who pursue their own goals. In conclusion, we would like to recollect a parable about true friendship.

Once upon a time, righteous Caliph Omar was walking far from his palace. He encountered a group of men, who told him that they were in close unity and brotherhood. "How do you treat each other's property? Do you spend someone's money without the knowledge of the person who owns it?" asked the caliph. "We spend the money that we own. We know nothing about gold and silver that someone of us has and we do not want to know anything about it," the people of the "community" answered.

Caliph Omar thought about their words and then said: "Your words prove that you are not right. You can say that you are close to each other when you use each other's gold and silver, when you share your problems and money with each other. Everyone must be equal - the poor and the rich - and then you will become the true brotherhood of man."

Igor Pridorogin

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Author`s name Olga Savka