Muslims blamed for terrorist acts: Saudi aide


Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the ongoing Islamic conference organized by Islamic Research Foundation here on Saturday, Sheikh Othman said that accusations that madarsas were venues for extremist education and brainwashing the youths are totally untrue. “After 9/11, many Muslims realized the difference between jihad and true Islam. However, I strongly feel Westerners too must understand what true Islam is,” he said.

Stating that the five pillars of Islam transparently lay down the rules that a good Muslim should follows, the Saudi official refuted allegations that Islam encourages people to kill people for the sake of jihad. There are several so-called scholars who lead youth astray, but a true scholar will never do such a thing, he said.

Asked as to why madarsas were blamed for preaching terrorism, Sheikh Othman said “When the people in the West witnessed Islam growing by leaps and bounds, alarmed, they started linking it to terrorism.”

To a question as to why the need for reforms being felt in Islam now, the minister said that the Muslim faith is based on five essential pillars. When we see how other countries are affected by terrorism, it is time to renew these basic principles that alone guarantee a true Muslim identity. Some Muslim countries have moved away from the basics of Islam, which is a problem. We must defend the fundamentals of Islam and convey that its true message is peace.

Replying to a question about moderate Muslims, Sheikh Othman said that moderates are seen by youth as those who are scared. Youth get instilled with a sense of angst and aggression after they see how the world looks at their faith. They tend to get influenced by those who adopt a more aggressive stance rather those who encourage taking the middle path. This is where the true teacher’s role becomes vital. Our madarsas teach the Holy Qur’an, and teachers have a crucial role in bringing about change. The more moderate they are, the more they can steer youth away from aggression.

To another question as to whether modern education will prevent Muslim youth from becoming isolated, Sheikh Othman said, “Along with the study of Qur’an, modern education is important. But that can happen only when a teacher is good and helps his students adjust to the modern world. We were taught to read and study the Qur’an and given modern education as well. Islamic scholars who have traveled around the world can guide local teachers to bring about change.”

The right schools can show the way. Students from such schools help you become global citizens and keeps extremism at bay. Islamic education is like the sun, you can get it anywhere if you really want to learn the right way, the Saudi official added.



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