On Thursday 3rd November, Muslim Public figures met at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C to address what have widely been assumed an epidemic consequence upon the entire world, as regards to the rate at which Islamic extremists fuel terror in various locations of the world this days.
In the panel it was generally admitted by all that Islam is in an urgent need of “reformation”, a kind that can only be achieved by Muslims not only via speaking-out against extremism but also putting all hands on deck to promote human rights for all, no matter the region or circumstances, as Islam is not a religion of judges and executors.
Farahnaz Ispahani, former member of the Pakistani Parliament (Part of a panel of Muslims speaking out against ISIS and Islamist extremism) called on all Muslims in various locations to emulate the peaceful co-existence the other religions have long been offering them and embrace Christians despite the differences of faith and believe; she said:
“If Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries are to be protected, we must demand the protection of non-Muslims within Muslim-majority countries,"
She insisted saying that Muslims and Western democratic countries can not deny the fact that Islamist extremism is behind almost all acts of terrorism and human rights abuses worldwide, but rather should work harder to counter that ideology.
“As Islamic extremists gain power and rule, human rights abuses including oppression of women, homosexuals, and religious minorities, as well as governmental tyranny, sectarian warfare, and bigotry inherent in Sharia law come to the fore," Ispahani said.
She further called on her fellow Muslims to seek earnestly in their hearts for “modern pluralistic values" and “human rights" as established by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.She confidently stood out to say;
“We have all heard you ask ‘where are the Muslim Voices that are speaking out against ISIS?'” and She answered loudly to herself saying “Here we are! And there are others like us”
The Panel cried out saying that the acts of the mislead Islamist extremists are now generalized by the rest of the world to be an act the entire Muslims in the world are all guilty of. They condemned that ideology as a false one.
Dr.M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy said:
“Too much deflection has been happening on this issue. Muslims must acknowledge the fact that radical Islam has fueled human rights abuses and must push for a reformation that involves a separation of mosque and state with religious pluralism and respect for human rights,”
Naser Khader, a member of the Parliament in Denmark of the Conservative People’s Party said:
“When Islamist extremists commit acts of violence, Muslims must resist the temptation to simply say that ‘extremists are not Muslims’, simply denying that the extremists are true believers excuses the moderates from having to advocate for reform in Islam,” he explained
“We cannot say that the Islamic State are not Muslims. That is what they call themselves, ISIS has a state built on a “jihadist vision of Islam," he said, murdering and enslaving other people with the Koran in their hands. If we the Muslims do not face the problem of violence that links to Islam in our time, how will we ever succeed in ripping Islam out of the hands of these destructive powers and lift our religion into the 21st century?" he asked.
The Panel spoke largely on the issue of the ill-treatments that Muslim women face in the hands of the male due to the fact that many Islamists, including ISIS, still holds on to centuries-old standards for women that ignore and limit the “progressive changes" that have being in existence for long now. They argued that misogyny is rampant in these Islamist sects, which insist upon segregation of women at mosques and schools and the role of a woman being only to fulfill a man’s needs. The Panel agreed that “The rights of women and religious minorities in particular should be central to an Islamic reformation”.
In the Panel a female Muslim journalist Asra Nomani suggested that the Islamic concept for the Jihad need to be refuted as fast as possible. She Said:
“Chapter 9 verse 5 of the Koran instructs to ‘kill the Mushrikun or those who equate someone else with God.’ ISIS members used this words when they beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya in February.”
“Common sense prevails that that is both unethical, immoral, and illegal” she sadly insisted.
“Critical thinking shows that the verse was from the 7th century when Mohammed was surrounded by enemies intent upon destroying him. It is not a timeless verse that exists forever until today. We now reject this literal reading so that it cannot be used any more as a sanction for murder. Our jihad is a struggle for reformation. We are in a struggle for the future of our world…it is a struggle of ideology.”