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Islam,Terrorism and Jihad (13 Jun 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

A Muslim's response to the Orlando tragedy





By Saif Shahin

June 13, 2016

Islam can itself be the best guide for Muslims in this globalized world of ours.

The bullets had hardly left Omar Mateen's assault rifle before America was arguing over the reason why 50 people were suddenly lying dead at an Orlando nightclub. "Lack of gun control," said liberal America, for Mateen had had little trouble in obtaining his AR-15. "Islamic terrorism," came the voice from the right-wing, for Mateen was a Muslim. "Homophobia," protested some Muslims, including Mateen's father, insisting that his act had little to do with Islam.

To be sure, poor gun regulations have caused much heartbreak in this country year after year, and the anti-gun lobby rightly raises the issue after every mass shooting. Had gun laws been stricter, Sunday's tragedy may have been averted. Yet Muslims should not let this fact -- nor the bigotry of right-wing Islamophobes who paint all Muslims with the same brush -- distract them from the reality that Mateen was, after all, a misguided youth who committed a horrible act of violence against "infidels".

Mateen pledged allegiance to the Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the latest globally recognized face of radicalism. Not too long ago, radicals from Australia to America would claim an affiliation with Al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden. What is it that betroths misguided youth around the world to such egregious allegiances and makes them commit such horrendous acts?

Singular identity

It's a complex question, but a simple answer is that misguided Muslims tend to take a singular, exclusivist view of their identity. For them, being a Muslim often means being just and only a Muslim -- nothing else. This is dangerous, and this is wrong.

Of course, we are Muslims, but we are also a lot of other things -- Americans, Emiratis, Indians, Pakistanis, security professionals (in the case of Mateen), students of some college or university, fans of some football team or baseball franchise and so on. All of these identities bind us to different social groups, share in their joys and sorrows, and learn to love many kinds of people. They make us realize that humanity is not divided into black and white, but has many, many hues. Nor are we, as individual human beings, of a solitary allegiance: we carry all those hues within us.

A singular "Muslim" identity primes Muslims to interpret every little misfortune they face as an instance of Islamophobia. And like Cervantes' Don Quixote charging against windmills, it also makes them willing and eager to take up imaginary causes in the name of Islam.

Postmodern Islam

National and regional Muslim groups in the US, such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Colorado Muslim Society, have strongly condemned Mateen's action and even apologized for it. But Muslim response to this tragedy should not stop there. There needs to be a deeper rethinking about what Islam means, and how it is discussed, understood and practised in our homes, and outside.

A crucial component of this rethinking ought to be the promotion of a more diffuse sense of identity among Muslims -- a realization that being Muslim does not stop us from being other things and identify ourselves with other people. In an age of globalization, when cultural practices are everywhere in flux and every society is becoming more variegated, such a "postmodern" sensibility has become a necessity of social harmony.

Ironically, Islam itself has always encouraged such a sensibility. The Holy Quran clearly notes that Allah could have made the whole world a single community but chose not to do so. It also tells Muslims that while they follow their faith, they should let others follow theirs. Thus, Islam -- not just as a religion and identity but as a deeply understood belief system -- can itself be the best guide for Muslims in this globalized world of ours.

Saif Shahin is a doctoral candidate at the School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin, United States.

Source: khaleejtimes.com/international/americas/exclusive-a-muslims-response-to-the-orlando-tragedy

URL: http://newageislam.com/islam,terrorism-and-jihad/saif-shahin/a-muslim-s-response-to-the-orlando-tragedy/d/107622

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  • Rashid Sb,

    The American President and administration are showing maturity and are seeing the issue precisely the way you say they should:

    This is an excerpt from what Obama said. You may read the full article which covers the role of gun licensing etc.

    "As Director Comey I think will indicate, at this stage we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally.  It does appear that, at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by ISIL.  And there also at this stage is no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot.  In that sense, it appears to be similar to what we saw in San Bernardino, but we don’t yet know.  And this is part of what is going to be important in terms of the investigation."




    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/14/2016 7:57:28 AM

  • Agreed that--“ISIS has nothing to show for all that it boasts and takes "credit" for anything that happens”

    Also, as the homophobe is not alive to deny or accept the alleged claim of association with ISIS, it is obviously cashing in on the claim. It is a gift from its god on the platter.

    Conspiracy theories abound, such as Mateen was heard shouting Allahu Akbar. But it is also claimed that he has been a regular at the Pulse for the last two years.

    Hope the American people and Administration will have the maturity and ability to see this tragedy in the light of “Right to carry Gun”, “mental health” and many other issues in their country. There are any numbers of examples in the past to draw from, not only the US but from the World over.

    By Rashid Samnakay - 6/14/2016 5:48:02 AM

  • Dear Saif Shahin,

    I am Indian and thereafter Muslim by religion. My forefathers might be Hindus and they converted to find the spiritual journey of Islam and Sufism is the way to find Almighrt Allah as described by Quaran and our Last Propher Mohammad (PUB). But the Islam at present is not such that as taught by our beloved Prophet and followed by Sufism thereafter. It has become the slaves of two thought of school One "Devandi" and second "Barevly". Both are selling their thought and making slaves to their followers. Now the time has come to awake and stand unitedly against these thought of Islam. They keep mum on all issues. One ullema charges 20000/- to  50,000/- for two hours speech at Mild shariff. All are selling islam. They donot bother the happening in the world. Their mission is to keep the follower of Islam away from other faith. They propagate such thing that help the elimination of Muslim from other faith and helping ISIS. 
    I am also Muslim. I pray 5 times and follow the real teaching of   Islam. I hate terrorist activities and help the needy. Needy is only needy not Hindu and Muslim.

    Now we should raise our voice against all thought of Islam who teaches even a single line against humanity. W need a Mustafa Kamal Pasa. 

    By Harun Rashid - 6/14/2016 3:57:42 AM

  • All that we know is that he was a homophobe who happened to be a Muslim. Homophobia is common to all extreme right wing groups in every religion

    The US investigators and even President Obama are discounting his connection with the ISIS.

    The ISIS ideology stands for killing of homosexuals because they consider these people to be depraved and an evil influence on the rest of the society. So while we can understand them killing the homosexuals in their own society to "cleanse" it, why would they "cleanse" the society of the "enemy" of their "filth"?

    This is simply an act by a homophobe and while homophobia may be related to religious beliefs, it is not an act against the Christians, Jews or the American society. In the killer's perverse way of thinking, since it is an act to "cleanse" American society, it shows love and affiliation for that society.

    ISIS has nothing to show for all that it boasts and takes "credit" for anything that happens. The US investigators know this and are not falling for it.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/14/2016 1:52:14 AM

  • Being Muslim does not take precedence over being human. And being an inhuman Muslim banishes you from both humanity and Islam.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/13/2016 1:34:15 PM

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