An Open Letter (about Muslims)

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(reprinted with permission)

I am from Indonesia. I live and work as a senior lecturer at state university in Indonesia. I am a Muslim who received western education.

Indonesia is the country with the biggest number of Muslim in the world. Majority of Muslims in Indonesia are moderate. We also have suffered from some terrorist attacks so far.

Fortunately we have government elites and politicians from secular parties (the ruling parties). The Government of Indonesia has cooperated with some countries on the program of counter terrorism and deradicalisation.

Our country, Indonesia has a close relationship with western powers including UK, EU, Australia and USA. We have some bilateral and collaborative program including education program, military program and economic program. Furthermore, President Obama used to live in Indonesia with his mother and his Indonesian step father when he was a young boy.

Majority of Muslims around the world are against Islamic state and and as Muslims, we want to live and enjoy our life in nation state. We reject the idea of Caliphate and strongly condemn all forms of violence and atrocities.

Members and sympathizers of Islamic state hijack Islam for their political purposes. So please do not put all Muslims in the same basket. Stereotype, negative prejudice and racial profiling must be avoided.

According to the real Islamic teaching, killing someone means killing humanity. So never kill innocent civilians. In Islamic teaching, Muslims are not allowed to kill children, women and elderly people during war.

Most Muslims do not share hatred ideology. Just a handful of Jihadists and radical Muslims have hijacked Islam for their political purposes. As a Muslim I strongly condemn all forms of violence and atrocities in the name of Islam.

On the other hand, illegal war in the modern time and the issues in war crime should be questioned as well. There lots of innocent civilian killed during war over the last few decades. Many innocent civilian were caught in the middle. They have to become refuges and asylum seekers in the foreign countries to escape from terrorism and war campaigned by western powers and the allies.

Thousands of innocent civilians are stranded as very poor refuges in foreign countries because of war. Anyway, love breeds love and hatred breeds hatred.

There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy, there is nothing good in war except its ending. Anyway, collateral damage and warmonger should be avoided if we want peace.

As far as I am concerned, there is nothing in Quran and Hadith saying explicitly that Prophet Mohammed was a violent man. Only those who have biased views would say so.

Unfortunately many people suffer from Islamophobia, stereotype and negative prejudice. I understand your feeling and share the pain you feel because of horrific and barbaric acts of terrorists.

If you have not read Koran and Hadith and if you don’t understand the history of Islam, please don’t talk rubbish things about Islam and Prophet Mohammed.

Maybe many of You have not visited countries with majority Muslims. How can you jump to the conclusion with irrational and emotional criticism on Islam.

I am a Muslim by birth and I am very proud to have received western education and learnt much about Western values.

The duty to kill infidel or unbelievers only refer to the ancient context during war in Mohammed Era. Those Quran verses interpretations are not applicable anymore in the peaceful area and era. And the interpretations of Quran verses by radical Muslims are not applicable to the peaceful and modern Era. However, the incidence of war mongering could also provoke radical Muslims to react agressively.

Most Muslims do not interpret Quran as you assume. Only a handful Islamic extremists interpret and translate Quran literally based on their wrong mission, barbaric and immoral political purposes. Those extremist and radical Muslims do not represent Islam. They just hijack Islam for their own political purposes. In fact, So far there have been more Muslims who are victims of tortures and killed by those barbaric terrorists. So We also suffer much from those violent and barbaric acts of those terrorists acts.

Now days Majority of Muslims interpret and translate Quran more progressively and contextually. Most of us do not share hatred ideology. We promote peace, harmony and tolerance. So do not put Muslims in the same Basket.

The counter terror campaign will fail if all Muslims are put in the same basket. Just a handful of radical or extremists who tend to promote violence act and hatred ideology and their barbaric acts have stigmatized Islam. Those who are involved in terror and barbaric acts are common enemy. Those who have extreme views and tend to perform inflammatory rhetoric are similar to those barbaric terrorists so it could be said, “radical people Vs Radical People”.

My sympathy and condolences always go to all victims of terror acts and their loved ones. Terrorists have no religion. they just hijack Islam.

Warm Regards, Mochtar Marhum

Academic, Peace Activist and Internet Blogger Concerned with the Issues in Social-Humanity

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