Since 1980, the Muslim world has experienced an enormous growth of religious fanaticism and extremism the likes of which Islam has not experienced in its 1,400 years. This movement continues to grow because of the spread of Saudi-created and funded Wahhabi Islam, a sect that used to number no more than one percent of all Muslims. But now because of money and technology, it has spread around the world.
Extremism is also growing because of an ideology called political Islam. The basis of political Islam is the rejection of secularism and the belief that the mosque and the state should be completely intertwined. Unfortunately, history has shown that when politics and religion are completely intertwined, disaster results.
Will Muslims wake up before it is too late? Or will we continue blaming an imaginary Jewish conspiracy and “the media” for all our problems? The blaming of all Muslim problems on others is a cancer that is destroying Muslim society. And it must stop.
Muslims must wake up, look inward and put a stop to many of our religious leaders who spend most of their sermons teaching hatred, intolerance and violent jihad. We should not be afraid to admit that as Muslims we have a problem with violent extremism. We should not be afraid to admit that so many of our religious leaders belong behind bars, and not behind a pulpit.
Only moderate Muslims can challenge and defeat extremist Muslims. We can no longer afford to be silent. If we remain silent to the extremism within our community, then we should not expect anyone to listen to us when we complain of stereotyping and discrimination by non-Muslims. We should not be surprised when the world treats all of us as terrorists. And we should not be surprised when we are profiled at airports.
Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel, wrote here that "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims."
Kamal Nawash takes this to the next logical and necessary step:
Simply put, not only do Muslims need to join the war against extremism and terror, we need to take the lead in this war.