On Islam, from Within

Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former dean of the shari’a and law faculty at Qatar University, has recently published several articles in Gulf papers about terrorism and its root cause. This excerpt from an op-ed published by the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa on May 15 was translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (www.memri.org).

The young people who have become tools of murder and human bombs are the sons of the culture of hatred, the outcome of a fanatical culture and extremist ideology that sees life, its pleasures, and its beauty as unimportant. Ultimately the political, economic, social, and religious motives that push [the young people] to blow themselves up lie in a single main cause – and that is the culture of hatred.

These young people, at the age of flowering, have become the enemies of their society, avenging, hating and exploding. They are our terrorist sons, raised in our bosoms, suckled by our culture, taught in our schools, and taught religious law from our religious pulpits and by the fatwas of our clerics.

What, then, has made them prefer death to life? I have no answer except the fact that we have not managed to make them love life. We have taught them to die for the sake of Allah, but we have not taught them to love, to build, to create and to help society for the sake of Allah. We have taught them that nationalism [means] attacking America and opposing imperialism, but we have not taught them that nationalism is love, loyalty and belonging to the homeland…

How can this miserable creature called the Arab and Muslim individual not turn to extremism, when he is surrounded by an overall atmosphere of extremism, bound by the shackles of repression and prohibitions, and girded by the ideas of intimidation and terrorization, and of almost endless torment? These accompany this creature from birth to death, beginning with dire warnings about the torments of the grave and enemy plots lying in wait for Islam and the Muslims, [as well as] the long list of prohibitions that has made blessed life – the gift of theCreator – into a prison of pain from which the individual seeks to escape to Paradise and to the lovely maidens in it.

AS IF ALL this were not enough, we even employ religious police to follow the people, to restrict their freedoms, to spy on them, and to interfere in their personal affairs. So how can there not be widespread phenomena of tension and worry in the souls [of the people]?…

Go to hear a Friday sermon, and you will find a preacher who is enraged at the world, angry at civilization, spreading the poison of hatred and enmity.

Then you will leave [the mosque] tense and angry!…

The world’s young people engage in music, art and enjoyment of the pleasures of life. They create, discover and participate in building the strength and the culture of their society – while we engage our young people in religious law disputes on the veil, the beard, how long garments should be, and how to greet Christians – or we engage our young people in adults’ political and ideological disputes, or push them to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to commit suicide!

Hatred is a culture of prohibitions, and the result of our viewing the world as an enemy lying in wait [for us.] Many factors have played a part [in shaping this world view], including the religious messages anchored in fears of plots, the educational messages that have produced in young people alienation from the [modern] era, and a great number of publications by the Muslim Brotherhood and by the nationalists, which have, for the past 50 years, spread hatred of the other and conspiracy theories [against the Muslims].

We need a culture that will restore the importance of life and the value of the individual, and will make young people love the arts and the humanities…

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