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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Youth and Hate-Preaching Imams

Guest Name Imam Sadullah Khan, Director of Muslim Affairs at the University of Southern California, (USC)
Subject Youth and Hate-Preaching Imams
Date Thursday,Aug 25 ,2005

Name Omar - United States
Profession Marketing
Question

Assalamu 'Alaikum, there are imams who always mix political issue and
Islam. They don't give the main point of Islam, like the important
duties. Instead they give the frustration feeling towards wars and turning
into extremist point. How do we solve those problems?

Answer
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

First of all, Islam is a comprehensive way of life. It governs and
guides every aspect of human life, so it would incorporate all dimensions
of social life as well. Therefore, Islam would address the political
dimensions. It is due to improper emphasis on particular aspects over
other important ones that people tend to go into extremes. If Islam is
taught and used not purely as a political tool but rather as a living
guideline, I believe this problem would be solved. In this case abusing the
frustration of people to create pathways for hatred and misusing the
compassionate message of the Qur'an as a tool for hatred greatly affects
the promotion of extremism.

Name Kaleem - United States
Profession
Question
Do you actually believe that "Hate" preaching Imams are the problems
for youth? Being closely involved with muslim youth I truly believe that
this propoganda on "Hate" preaching has been completely misdirected to
the real issue, and that is the occupation as Prof. Robert Pape Univ.
of Chicago puts forth. What do you think?

Answer
Every problem is multi-dimensional, and human beings too are
multi-dimensional. Blaming one particular aspect, as problematic as it may seem,
creates more problems than it solves. Youth have many problems just as
they have many positive aspects. Hate is not a major common problem
among youth, merely among some of the youth.

Regarding the question of "Hate" preaching, it does exist. When some
preachers respond purely on emotional basis to the problems that the
Ummah encounters, it gives an indication to people, including the youth,
that Islam requires us to respond to the imbalance we see in the world
with hate. We must, however, acknowledge that this is not as common as
some of the media purports it to be. What I believe is more inflammatory
is the bias of much of the media to report and comment on the reality
of the injustices suffered by the oppressed including the Muslims.

Name Salma - Australia
Profession
Question
Why do you think many youth are attracted to violent interpretations of
Islam?

Answer
It is erroneous to assume that many youth are attracted to violence.
What needs to be understood about any text is that it depends on the
pretext of the reader. If the text is taken out of context then the pretext
(purpose/excuse) of the reader will determine what he/she thinks it
means. It is, therefore, important to understand the text in its original
context, having a pure pretext that will ensure the text is used in its
proper context.

One who seeks war in any scripture will highlight that, while one who
seeks peace will highlight that. Islam looks at the reality of human
struggle and intends to manifest peace but on the condition of justice.

What attracts the youth to any particular interpretation depends on the
capacity of the religious teachers to influence their thought in one
way or another.

Name Nafisa - United Kingdom
Profession
Question
Has there always been so much hate preaching among imams, or is this a
recent phenomenon?

Answer
I get the impression from the question that some people assume that
hate preaching is a common phenomenon. I am not aware of it being as
widespread.

There have always been people who preach love and people who preach
hate. Whether this has increased cannot be accurately determined since we
live in a global village and have more access to information than ever
before. This may lead us to assume that because we are more aware of
something happening somewhere that it may be happening everywhere.

Name Marriam - Egypt
Profession
Question
How do you suggest the youth can turn their thinking to the moderate
path of Islam which is the true spirit of the deen? I mean what can
family and friends and the community do to help?

Answer
Islam, by its very nature and definition, is the middle path; not the
path of extremes. The best we can do is to imbibe in our youth the
fundamentals of our faith in a direct, open and honest manner. The
fundamentals of our faith being truth, justice and goodness. Islam must be
manifested in how we interact with each other and how we respond to the
world we live in. By being aware of our faith, our legacy and our global
community and acknowledgement of all Muslims being part of the global
family of humanity with all its promises and problems it is a catalyst for
treading the middle path.

It is when the youth see Islam as a way of life and as a solution then
their thinking will be less problematic.


Name Farouq -
Profession
Question
May be youth who follow the words of hate preachers want to see change
occur and perhaps they see violent means a a quick fix - what are the
alternatives for youth - i mean, what can they do to make social change
in a positive way?

Answer
The best thing is to get the youth involved practically in assisting
local communities and thus address the real issues surrounding them. Very
often people tend to be more concerned about the suffering of people
further away in the world then bothering about their neighbors.

Yes, we do live in a global village but it is focusing on both the
local and the global that we realistically engage ourselves in solving real
issues. So do the best you can with what you have from where you are.


Name Abu Zakariyya - United States
Profession Software Engineer
Question
How do you differentiate or draw the line between hate-preaching imams
and ones who emphasize sticking to Quran and Sunnah (w/o compromise to
secular ideologies) at times when our youth are falling into complete
blind and unconditional assimilation with the West, specifically pop
culture and feminist movements? Please take the concept of "Al-walaa wal
baraa" into consideration.

Answer
The Qur'an does not preach hate, and the message of Islam is one of
truth and compassion. This does not imply that we compromise on any
principles of our faith. That is why the greatest emphasis is on justice and
goodness (Qur'an 16:90).

Addressing the issue of losing identity should not be made synonymous
with hatred for other people. Each issue needs to be dealt with on its
own merit and merely "loving the Muslim and hating the Kafir" is not
what Islam subscribes as a solution to our problems. It is when we try to
define the problems of the world as if it is a single problem that we
mystify the solution.

Name Shahzad Badar - Pakistan
Profession
Question
The contemporary state of the ummah and many social circle that
represent it struggle to express facts of hegemony that the Muslim ummah
suffers and sadly experiences. These varying social circles vary from circle
to circle in their intellectual understanding of the Creed and all that
emanates from it. My question is: is this expression of identification
of global injustice and hegemonic torment conducted by other global
forces and their mentioning falls in the category of Hate preaching?

Answer
Hate is preached in different degrees in different circles. Hate is
still hate and it can never be a positive expression.

However, speaking out against global injustice and the hegemonic forces
of colonialism/imperialism is just that...condemnation of oppression.
Condemnation of oppression and of oppressors is not hate speech; it is
merely stating the fact.

Name Mahmoud Abdelghani -
Profession
Question
Do you believe that the Islamic Jurisprudence is in need of some kind
of rejuvenation in terms of clearing the doubts caused by literal
interpretations of some jurists which were proven later as preaching
extremism? For example, if we read some jurists calling the verse of Jihad in
the Qur'an as the "verse of Sword" and try to make it dominant and even
abrogating to all other verses preaching peace, do you think we need to
stop and say no to those jurists with my due respect to them, instead
of leaving the orientlists use those statements as evidences against us?

Answer
Scholars throughout history interpret Islam in accordance with the
social, political and economic milieu that they live in. It behoves any
scholar to realize that previous scholars wrote to the best of their
ability, according to their understanding, in response to the reality they
encountered. We should build on the legacy that we have inherited and
enhance the understanding of Islam for future generations by doing the
best we can for our time.

Regarding the example of the verse of jihad, I do agree that calling it
the "verse of the Sword" may have been acceptable and inoffensive at
the time the scholar wrote his or her book. But the reality is, without
being apologetic, there is no verse called "verse of the Sword" except
that some scholar chose to call it that.

If refraining from using such terms helps to clarify the truth about
Islam then why not.

Name Mohammed - United Kingdom
Profession Student
Question
As-Salamu`alykum, some scholars are labelled hate preachers for
speaking out about Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Actually the most of the
decent scholars talk about violence in this context but they are still
cracked down upon. By talking about hate preachers and what not are we
not aiding the oppression of the other scholars who speak the truth.

Answer
As mentioned earlier, speaking out against injustice, whoever may be
the perpetrator, is a moral and religious duty. Speaking out factually
and passionately about injustices in Palestine, Kashmir and other places
is a duty of every person of conscience.

Speaking up for justice is one thing and preaching hatred of other is
another. Let us not confuse the two.

Name Harry Balz - Costa Rica
Profession Dental Archivist
Question
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about Islam's contributions to
terrorism and world understanding?

Answer

The best thing we can hold for the future is hope and the best thing we
can do for the future is to engage ourselves in such a way that our
hopes become realities. I am optimistic about what positive people could
do to improve the world.

As for Islam's contribution to the world, it is civilizational, moral
and globally empowering. It is not Islam that contributes to terrorism,
but rather the forces of injustice, oppression and greed that leads to
terrorism.

Was-salaam
Imam Sa'dullah

NameEditor -
ProfessionAnswer
Finally, we would like to thank Imam Sadullah Khan for taking the time
to answer the questions of Islamonline viewers today, and we also thank
all those who participated in this dialogue. We apologize for not being
able to accommodate all the questions within the time allocated to this
session. If you feel your question is very important, feel free to
contact us at EngLivedialogue@islamonline.net and we will try our best to
answer your question. We request our readers to join us in upcoming
sessions.

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