The Centre for Islamic Studies (CIS), Sri Lanka’s pioneering Islamic Outreach organization, has called on governments to do more to defeat religious extremism and terrorism in the name of Islam. The call comes in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait, France and Kobane in Syria claimed by ISIS where innocents including little children were massacred in cold blood, all this in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Asiff Hussein, Vice President, Outreach, CIS said that ISIS along with other terror outfits like Al Shabab and Boko Haram have consistently shown a callous disregard for the teachings of Islam as taught by the Prophet Muhammad and have taken as their inspiration, not the commands of the Prophet of Islam, but rather their self-appointed caliphs and warlords whose orders go without question, even if they go against Islamic teachings.
“Such an attitude was also seen in the early days of Islam, when the extremist group known as the Kharjites emerged. The third Caliph of Islam, Ali, was not harsh enough in dealing with them and was finally assassinated by one of their number. This is a lesson Muslim leaders of today can learn from. Give room to extremism and it will consume you”.
Hussein also pointed out that it was equally important that states not bow down to the dictates of extremist elements. “ The recent verdict by a so-called Shariah Court in Kano, Nigeria, sentencing nine people to death for blaspheming the Prophet is just one such example. The defendants do not seem to have even been given the chance to repent, whereas in the life story of our beloved Prophet we come across several examples of how he forgave those who lampooned him no sooner they sought his forgiveness, a good example being the poet Kab Ibn Zuhair”.
He noted that the Kano verdict was driven by the fear of the authorities that extremists would riot had the death sentences not been handed down. “This is a travesty of justice since the authorities were bowing to the will of the mob than let the law take its usual course and serves as a bad precedent for mob rule, as we have seen in Pakistan with all its attendant evils. Give the mob power and you’re only paving the way for anarchy and chaos” he warned.
Hussein noted that the Covenant given by Prophet Muhammad to the Christians of Najran and the Treaty entered into with the inhabitants of Jerusalem by Caliph Umar in the early days of Islam show how tolerant a faith Islam really is. “To let a few, sick misguided extremists hijack the faith for their nefarious ends is the worst thing that can happen in our times, and as such must be dealt with very harshly. Muslim states must seriously think of reviving harsh punishments like crucifixion to deal with these criminals. Likewise mobs taking the law to their own hands should be shot on sight. Those who show no mercy should not be shown any mercy. This is the only way we can rid this cancer from our society” he added.