Communalization of the Religion

Another reason for public alienation from the real Islam is that the faithfuls fall from the high pedestal of principled religion to the level of communal religion. Then, this communal agenda is Islamised, the ideals of Islam being replaced by communal aspirations. This is the result, in modern times; of Muslims being faced with many kinds of communal problems, such as the usurpation of their land, deprivation of political power, cultural invasion, exploitation in terms of economic resources, etc.

All over the world, Muslims have launched movements on these scores. In some places they take the form of protest and demands, while in others they develop into armed conflicts. If such activities have any justification, it is purely communal. Muslims fight for their communal objectives, but they call it Islamic jihad. Their leaders form political parties, they enter into violent conflict with other rulers in order to gain power, but they carry out all these activities in the name of Islam. Power play, pure and simple, is given the name of Islamic politics. The so-called Islamic jihad is the most glaring example of engaging in non-Islamic activities under the banner of Islam. In different parts of the world, wherever Muslims are engaged in fighting for their own communal purposes they inevitably call their activities Islamic jihad. The harm done by such violent jihad has multiplied thousand-fold due to the modern media’s selective coverage of news. Since hot news is more profitable than soft news, examples of Muslim jihad are seized upon by the media as grist to the mill. This has distorted the image of Islam to such an extent that, today; Islam and violence have become synonymous.

A state of affairs has developed in which Muslims have come to believe that the cause of Islam can be served only through jihad activism, that is, armed struggle. With this mindset, they are unable to understand the significance of peaceful struggle. Anyone who talks in terms of peace and tolerance finds his integrity in question. Any attempt at making them understand the importance of peaceful struggle is seen as a conspiracy to keep them from performing jihad as a “religious duty.” It is thus an extremely difficult task to call Muslims to peaceful Islam. Such a mission involves the risk of being discredited among one’s own co-religionists. In consequence, the call goes unheeded.