We may be witnessing a revolution. Out of the recent spate of bloodshed and terror a movement of hope is emerging. French Muslim leaders refused to bury priest-killer Adel Kermiche after he murdered 86 years old priest Father Jacques Hamel last July.
Mohammed Karabila, president of the local Muslim cultural association and imam at the local mosque told the French press: "We're not going to taint Islam with this person." Fellow Muslims supported his decision.
The following weekend Muslims gathered at the cathedral in Rouen to show solidarity and support to the local priests and the church. Over a hundred Muslims attended church services. "They've told us, and I think they're sincere, that it's not Islam which killed Father Hamel," Archbishop Dominique Lebrun told the local broadcasters BFMTV.
Outside the church Muslims unfurled a banner: "Love for all, hate for none." Similar activity was seen across France and into neighboring Italy.
Muslims leaders expressed a longing for peace. Dalil Boubakeur, rector at the Mosque of Paris told BFMTV: "The situation is serious. Time has come to come together so as not to be divided."
Mohammed ben Mohammed, a member of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy called on his people 'to report anyone who may be intent to damage society. I am sure that there are those among the faithful who are ready to speak up," he said. "Mosques are not a place in which fanatics become radicalized. Mosques do the opposite of terrorism: They diffuse peace and dialogue," he added.
Muslim writers boldly declared "Islam is to Blame for Global Terror." They accused Muslim leaders and clerics from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco of ignoring the problems.
Last July Arab columnist Hussein Shobokshi called on the Muslim world to 'purge' extremism. He suggested Germany after the Nazi regime is the process needed.
"Today we witness the repeated murders and terror attacks by the organizations of blood and death, such as Al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, and ISIS; they murder and destroy based on fatwas and bizarre opinions. So long as this matter is presented and handled with kid gloves, we will never obtain results that are serious, helpful, influential, or vital. We must realize fully that we need to take a number of steps to uproot the ideology of terrorism, and that the road will be wearisome. We must be convinced that we are not doing this in order to please the West or anyone else, but rather to protect the religion and Islamic societies against this danger, since they will suffer its heaviest damages and the most victims" he wrote for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. (MEMRI – The Middle East Media Research Institute.)
After the July attack in Nice, France, Khaled Al-Hroub called on Muslims to acknowledge that terrorism perpetrated by Muslims is in fact inherently tied to Islam. "Our repeated claims that the perpetrators of terrorism are nothing but 'a gang' that does not represent us are no longer effective," he wrote. "We must first of all admit that education in our schools and mosques lays the foundations for 'implicit ISISism,' " Al-Hroub concluded.
The Basic Problem
Moroccan writer Sa'id Nasheed responded to the Nice attack: "The basic problem of the Islamic world is the lack of sufficient courage to pose the most important and relevant question: From where do we draw this ability to be resentful and filled with hate, to disregard human life and to permit the shedding of blood?
We lack sufficient courage to answer this question; in fact, we seem to lack even minimal self-integrity when we insist on ridiculously blaming others.
Last June Egyptian journalist Bothaina Kamel commented after two Arab gunmen killed four at a restaurant in Tel Aviv. "What's heroic about entering a restaurant and shooting people who are dining there?" she asked. On her Twitter account she said: "Sadly, the weapons mafia is leading the world, and mankind is paying the price. There is no choice but to end this cycle of evil."
This mounting evidence suggests there is a move among Moslems to confront Islamism. Islamic leaders are calling for a revolution. They are reaching out trying to find a way to make peace in midst of rampant terror.
I read a letter from a Muslim in the USA. She described the killing of disbelievers as 'outdated.' It was OK in the 7th century but not now. She described the problem with Islam is that Islam 'must not be criticized.' She preferred 'the way westerners treat their religions.' It seems like a conversation has started. Let us pray the Muslim leaders can encourage their followers to denounce terror as openly as possible.
Last July thousands of Sunni Muslims gathered at Swalat Nagar for a night of prayer. They declared Islamic State (IS) is not only un-Islamic but anti-Islamic. As one, they pledged: "Even as we take pride in being Muslim, we respect and honour all other faiths and their followers. We will keep a continuous vigil against forces such as the IS that work to destroy the oneness of humanity."
The chairman Sayed Ibrahim Khaleel Bukhari said the self-proclaimed caliphs of IS violated the fundamental principles of Islam. "Islam embodies love, tolerance and respect for all. The barbarous deeds of the IS, like killing innocents and persecuting women and children, have tarnished Islam. We will not allow them to hijack our faith," he said. "We reiterate that we will defend the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries," he said.
The Apostle Paul spoke of a light that shines out of darkness (2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 6) I am praying that process has begun.
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html