During the month of Ramadan, a state owned fuel company in Jakarta, Indonesia is offering two liters of free petrol per chapter read to motorcyclists. There are prayer rooms set up in the gas stations to accommodate this endeavor. The program organizers say the goal is to promote Islam in society. Click for more!
Coming from a Sunni-Sufi background, there was a great emphasis on dreams and visions in my religious upbringing. People would have conscious “visions” and dreams of Prophets, angels and jinns coming before them and sending them a message about the truth, dreams etc. This would have potentially dangerous effects because if a religious authority had a dream that someone he knew was fornicating, that person would get into unwarranted trouble. Even though it could easily have been just a dream.
We called these visions “Kashf” and they were believed to be messages from Allah and the Prophet.
A few days ago, Charlie Hebdo published an editorial titled “How did we end up here?” It was a piece questioning why suicide bombing comes as such a shocker in a social atmosphere that is fearful of criticizing Islam and its practices.
The author brings up three different examples: Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic scholar; a woman in a Burqa; and an elder baker who is a Muslim. Click to keep on reading!
So it’s been a while since I have written here. I have been doing some thinking and reading. I have much interesting material coming your way!
So A few years ago I was immersed into comprehensive academic study on Terrorism, namely Islamic Extremism and the processes of recruitment. During the time, I was just leaving Islam and my only real criticism of Islam was that it claims universality which does not exist in any belief system. I was still perceiving Islam as inherently a peaceful religion that extremists exploited for their own political gain (I would analyze the world from the lens of political and economic gains mostly.)
I stressed the theories scholars already have on terrorism and neglected a large part: The ISLAMIC part of ISLAMIC Extremism. I would blame the rise of Islamic terrorism on the global landscape, and their perception of a neocolonial westernizing process that would harm their traditions. I would claim that terrorism is often a political movement in response to existing oppression and target the oppressing factors that give rise to Islamic movements. These are all valid evaluations of global jihad in contemporary times, but they are also incomplete and dishonest. We need to include Islam the religion, Quran the book, and Muhammad the man as factors that motivate ISIS, Al Qaeda etc.
After my brief time in EXMNA thus far, I’ve become more honest in my understanding of Islam. I don’t think it’s inherently a violent religion like some may think, nor do I think it’s some “pretty bird chirping love everything peaceful religion” like the apologists think. I simply think: It’s a religion of its time that if applied today, can be turned into a violent political movement (Islamism) or a peaceful lifestyle (the moderates).
I’m revisiting my old research and I realized How much in denial I was of the Islamic side of things. I’ve certainly been exposed to concerning occurrences: such as Sharia Courts in UK.
I would say things like “those terrorists aren’t real Muslims. They’re just misguided.” What I realize now is by doing that, I was trying to declare what real Islam is. The Quran and Hadith are so vague, numerous different interpretations have come out over the centuries and there is no “real Islam.” We even have LGBTQA Friendly Muslim Movements nowadays, along with homophobic Sheikhs on the other end of things. They all utilize scripture to justify their narrative. They are all, in their own way, Muslim. The Fundamentalist and Extremist MUSLIMS are Muslims as well. They also utilize the same scriptures my peace loving Muslim family use to guide their lives. But their interpretations are completely different and far more literal.
Of course, I don’t proclaim expertise on the subject matter.
I’m going to revisit my learning of Islamic extremism and approach it more comprehensively. I will also be vocal about Islamic extremism in this blog. It won’t be tomorrow, or the day after, but for weeks to come. Stay Tuned!