Debunking the Myth of Islamist Ideology

The spate of deadly terrorist attacks during the Muslim holy month of fasting (Ramadan) left hundreds of people dead and wounded.  This wave of attacks – in Istanbul, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia — has shaken the Muslim world to its core.  These were preceded by similar recent attacks in California, Orlando, Paris and Brussels.  What separated the Ramadan attacks from the previous ones were the three separate, but apparently coordinated, acts of terrorism launched in Saudi Arabia in one day (July 4, 2016).  The most shocking being the suicide blast outside the Prophet’s mosque in Madina and in the holy month of fasting; the other targeted a Shia mosque.  Ironically, while mosques of competing sects are considered fair target and have been attacked in the past, the terrorist attack on one of the holiest sanctuaries of Islam – the Prophet’s mosque – highlights the dilemma confronting the Muslim world.

The month of Ramadan is considered a period of reformation when the faithful establish closer communion with God.  Many utilize the last 10 days of this month in seclusion, in a mosque, praying, reflecting and staying away from worldly affairs.  It was during this period in June 2016 that the terrorists launched their deadly attacks.  Their target selection and timing has traumatized the Muslim world with the dawning realization that terrorists will not even spare such holy and revered sites as the Prophet’s mosque even during the month of fasting.  Realizing the gravity of the situation, some Muslim intellectuals have now concluded that their failed policies of denial, absolving Muslims of orchestrating such heinous acts and labeling the criminals as non-Muslims, must change.  They have thus been forced to acknowledge that the pervasive politicized version of Islam, also known as Islamism, motivates and radicalizes Muslim youth across the world.  This ideology was formulated and propagated after the defeat and disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the termination of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924. Hamza Yusuf’s[1] blog The Plague Within[2] is a case in point.  This noteworthy US Muslim scholar has finally acknowledged an ideology as “…a faith-eating plague has been spreading across the global Muslim community.  This insidious disease has a source, and that source must be identified, so we can begin to inoculate our communities against it.”  Click the link below for reading or downloading the full article Debunking the myth of Islamist Ideology.docx.

[1] Hamza Yusuf is an American Islamic scholar, the co-founder of Zaytuna College and a proponent of classical learning in Islam. He has promoted Islamic sciences and classical teaching methodologies throughout the world.  He serves as an advisor to the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.  He also serves as a member of the board of advisors of George Russell’s One Nation, a national philanthropic initiative that promotes pluralism and inclusion in America.  In addition, he serves as vice-president for the Global Center for Guidance and Renewal.

[2] http://blog.zaytuna.edu/the-plague-within

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