In the past couple of years, the world has seen the new face of terror known as ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria) . ISIS did what Al-Qaeda or Taliban failed to do in the post 9/11 era. What was it that ISIS did differently? Well, ISIS successfully managed to brand “their own version of Islam” in a manner which caught the attention of Muslim youth living in the West.
In the past year or so, about 700 Britons have migrated to Islamic State permanently and have taken part in “their so-called Jihad”. Their activities have not only been limited to Iraq and Syria, they have also launched their inhumane and terrorist attacks in France, America and Canada. This growing wave of radicalism and extremism is unsettling not only for the Non-Muslim community, but also for the Muslims.
The Non-Muslim community can be grouped into 2 subcategories. Those who understand the teachings of Islam and know that ISIS has nothing to do with the message of Islam and those who are not familiar with the teachings of Islam and have been misled by the false propaganda of ISIS. Likewise, the Muslims can also be grouped into 2 subcategories. Those who know the real teachings of Islam and openly condemn ISIS through their words as well as actions and then there are those Muslims who are ignorant about their own religion and have been led astray by the false ideals of ISIS.
As shown above, those who are familiar with the teachings of Islam whether they be Muslims or Non-Muslims, understand that ISIS represents an evil and a twisted ideology which has nothing to do with Islam. Those who are not entirely familiar with the real teachings of Islam may fall into error by taking ISIS to be the legitimate face of Islam.
Unfortunately due to our own ignorance the narrative of ISIS seems to be gaining popularity. One of the most common questions posed by the Non-Muslim community is that why are Muslims failing to come up with a counter narrative? If Islam really is a religion of peace, then why are more and more people going to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS?
These are valid questions undoubtedly. Ever since the 9/11 attacks, Islamic scholars have faced this problem of coming up with a counter narrative against terrorism and extremism. However, due to the seemingly complex nature of this problem, there have been lapses. The Islamic scholarship in general has been slow to wake up to this menace and this slow reaction has been taken as reluctance to touch this subject in the West.
Terrorism is not an easy phenomenon to tackle, it has multiple dimensions. Terrorism may take roots in status quo, racial discrimination and sectarianism etc. Therefore a single definition of terrorism cannot deal with every instance. But there is one thing in common. Terrorism, regardless of the form always results in the loss of innocent lives.
It was Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri, a religious scholar from Pakistan who went ahead and pronounced a religious edict which categorically denounced terrorism and extremism in all of its forms. His “Fatwa against Terrorism and Suicide Bombings” proved to be a foundation stone for the rest of Islamic scholars to build upon. He brought forth evidence from Quran and Hadith (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad [ Peace be upon him ] ) and proved that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, radicalism or extremism and those who indulge in such activities are hell bound for shedding the blood of innocent people.
This fatwa, however was launched almost 7 years before the world came to know the horror in the form of ISIS. Emergence of ISIS posed, yet again a complex scenario for the Islamic scholars of how to stop the radicalization of youth? Everyone at some level of their understanding knows that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, but how to stop them from gaining more followers?
The root of this problem lies in the fact that Islamic youth has been slowly drifting away from the real teachings of Islam. ISIS took advantage of their lack of knowledge about Islam to fill their minds with bogus and false concepts about Islam. For this reason, it is vitally important to target the root of this problem. Ignorance!
Earlier this week, Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri once again came forth with a unique solution. He launched a 900 page Anti-Terror Curriculum in London which will serve as a counter narrative both for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike against the terror of ISIS. If we want to stop our children from running away to join ISIS, then we must tell them the real teachings of Islam.
There is a need to provide authentic, comprehensive material against extremism to all people, from every walk of life, according to their needs, so that the conceptual and ideological confusions which may lead to terrorism can be eliminated.
The Islamic Curriculum on Peace and Counter-Terrorism was prepared for this purpose. This curriculum aims to provide resources from the Holy Quran, Hadith and authoritative books to provide a comprehensive ideological and theological background to all the key areas that are utilised to brainwash youngsters.
The curriculum is aimed for students, teachers, clerics and for people from all walks of life. It provides a strong counter narrative to the brand of Islam being promoted by ISIS. It has been designed to equip the mind of the reader to be ideologically safe and sound against the propaganda and brainwashing of ISIS. By going through this, the people will understand the real concepts of Islam and they will be equipped with the necessary ideological tools to recognise the lies of ISIS propaganda.
The curriculum has already received a good response from the Islamic community in UK.
Faiths TOGETHER against Extremism.
The curriculum is there, the books are there. Now all that is left is for the Islamic schools to adopt this curriculum. Time will tell how serious all the countries and concerned authorities are to curb this wave of terrorism and extremism. Dr. Qadri has shown the path, he has given us the necessary tools to fight back against the terror of ISIS ideologically. I cannot speak for Britain, but as a Pakistani, it is my wish that Pakistani government adopts this curriculum. Pakistan has been on the forefront of the war against terrorism and 70000+ civilians and military personnel have laid down their lives against the menace of terrorism. The country is already facing sky high rates of illiteracy which will further fuel terrorism. However it should not be forgotten that the same government massacred 20+ unarmed supporters of Dr.Qadri in 2014 and injured 1000+ to prevent Dr.Qadri from leading a protest against the corrupt government.
If you wish to purchase a copy of the curriculum or other books by Dr.Qadri. Click here.