In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving
The events that have unfolded in the Islamic Republic of Iran are truly extraordinary. While there are serious questions about the validity and credibility of the vote conducted on June 12, what is beyond question is the ugly response of the government to protests that have erupted all over Tehran in response to the disputed results. Violent crackdown, mass arrests, and even the killing of several protestors, some caught on video for the world to witness. And all I keep asking myself is, “This is Islamic?”
Islam is more than a personal faith: it is a way of life. It has a set of principles that govern, in a broad sense, every aspect of life, including in the political arena. Principles that are central to the Islamic ethos include justice, respect for the sanctity of life, equality of all before the law and God, among many others. As I read of the violent crackdown of the protests in Tehran, I think to myself of how un-Islamic the Islamic Republic of Iran is behaving.
And this got me thinking…in so many instances in our world today, so many of those who call themselves “Islamic” have been anything but Islamic: the Taliban, the neo-Kharijite murderers of Al Qaeda, the “Islamic” courts of Nigeria, among others. In each instance, those who have acted in Islam’s name have been wholly un-Islamic. In fact, I wonder if these quite un-Islamic “Islamics” have not done more damage to the image of Islam around the world. In fact, the Islam-haters and Islamophobes across the world have taken advantage of the barbarism committed by these “Islamic” people to smear the true face of Islam.
Yet, the truth is, the majority of the world’s Muslims are not like these vocal “Islamic” hooligans. They quietly pursue their lives, working for the common good, and trying to make a good life on earth before they have to meet their Lord to account for their deeds. They quietly contribute to the greatness of whatever nation in which they reside. They quietly show the beauty of Islam to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
The criminals and barbarians who claim to act in Islam’s name are hurting the overwhelming majority of innocent Muslims who are trying to live their lives. The criminals and barbarians who claim to act in Islam’s name are not doing the faith any service. The criminals and barbarians who claim to act in Islam’s name, in fact, are Islam’s worst enemies.