By Maulana Waris Mazhari
(Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand)
Critics claim that Islam conduces to, or explicitly preaches, extremism and mindless violence. Some radical Islamist movements, that are a product of local circumstances as well as certain international political developments, are undoubtedly engaged in extremism in the name of Islam. This is particularly unfortunate in that it gives Islam a bad image as well as provides ample ammunition to Islam’s critics. Lamentably, Muslim leaders, especially the ulema and other religious figures, are so enraged and offended by this unjustified criticism of Islam that they are simply not ready to admit that radical Islamists are indeed misusing the fair name of Islam to engage in extremism, which is readily apparent across the Muslim world and even elsewhere.
It is imperative, however, that serious and committed Muslim scholars and activists critique and condemn the politics of extremism in the name of Islam. What is the best way for them to do so, especially since these radical groups claim to base their ideology, politics, and practice on the Islamic scriptures?