Muslims are crushed by governments using the words ‘Islamic terrorism’, believes Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He said this while addressing the Islamic Society of North America in Houston via video link on Sunday morning. Like any community, there are moderates, radicals, intellectuals and extremists but there is only one Islam, he said, which is why it hurts when people use terms like ‘radical Muslim’ or ‘Islamic terrorism’ or ‘Muslim extremist’. Using the word Islamic terrorism creates Islamophobia, said the prime minister.
They don’t view religion like we do, he said of people in the west. He said after spending years in England, he found that the way people there talk about religion, they just don’t understand how Muslims love and respect their prophet and how much it affects them when he is ridiculed.
“We must sensitize them about this,” he said. You can’t use freedom of speech to hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion people, he said.
We must tell the people in western countries that there is only one Islam, the Islam of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he said. It becomes difficult for the average man on the street to distinguish between moderate Muslims and radicals, he said, adding that the whole Muslim community is tainted by this.
Every Muslim become suspect, he lamented. PM Khan said suicide attacks have been blamed on Islam because of a myth that if Muslims blow themselves up, they’ll go to heaven and get 72 virgins. But the Tamil Tigers, who were Hindu, were responsible for 70% of suicide attacks before 9/11 and no one blamed Hinduism for it, he said. “No one blamed Japanese kamikaze fighters either.”
Terrorism has nothing to do with religion, he reminded the audience, saying it has everything to do with politics. The fundamentals of all religions are peace, compassion and justice, he said. And we have to make people understand the difference between religion and human societies, he said.
We can’t concentrate on the worst and extremes of human society, he warned. Citing the example of ‘skinheads’ in the UK, he said when he went there in his youth, they were rampant attacks by skinheads who beat people up because of the colour of their skin. What would happen if we looked at the whole country based on them, he asked.
Since 9/11, all terrorism has been related to Islam and this has created Islamophobia, which leads to armed attacks, he said. This has de-legitimized Muslim freedom struggles, believes the premier.
He the spoke about Kashmir and how the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was used by India to suppress and oppress people. Once those words were mentioned, all worries about human rights and justice disappeared, he said, adding that once something is labelled ‘Islamic terrorism’, that’s it. “Western countries just cast a blind eye on it,” he said.
He also spoke about the oppression of Muslims in India, not just in Kashmir, and said ISNA must use Islam’s platform to make people understand the phenomena that has taken over India. He discussed the Nazi origins of the RSS and how its goal is the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in India. PM Khan said that is why Jinnah created Pakistan, because he saw this ideology and knew where it was heading. That’s what’s happening in India today: Muslims are treated as second class citizens, he said.
But this isn’t like what happened in Bosnia, he warned. This a nuclear armed country of one billion people taken over by extremist ideology, he warned. They see no minorities, especially Muslims, as equals and this ideology is responsible for the massacre of Muslims in Gujrat and the lynching of Muslims over accusations of cow slaughter.
There are 1.9 million Muslims whose citizenship is going to be taken away in Assam and nine million more in Kashmir who have been under curfew for 26 days, he said. Kashmir is a disputed territory and under a UN resolution, it was given its right to decide its own destiny through a referendum. But India annulled articles of its own constitution and annexed it, said the premier.
It is their stated aim that they want to change the Muslim majority state to a Muslim minority one, he said. This is a violation of Article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention, he said. In these 26 days of curfew, the Indian government has shut out all media and internet and there’s no news coming out of there, he said, adding that they believe that RSS goons have been let loose in the area and that people, boys, are being picked up. Around 8,000 people are in prison and 4,000 have been taken out of Kashmir, he said. “Leaders are under arrest and even the opposition leaders were not allowed to go inside Kashmir.”
ISNA needs to raise awareness about this, he said. This is an ideology which openly states that Muslims don’t have same rights as Hindus, he said. And i’m afraid it’s not going to stop here, said PM Khan. This genie of hatred is out of the bottle and it’s not just Muslims that are at threat, he said, citing attacks on churches. Secular India is at threat, he warned.
The premier also said that Pakistan fears an attack similar to the February 27 one to divert the world’s attention from the oppression in Kashmir. You, as the largest Muslim body in North America, must play your role to make people aware of what’s going on, he said, adding that he’s doing his part and will be addressing the issue at the UN General Assembly this month.
He urged them to look at the State of Madinah and how the Holy Prophet (pbuh) told minorities that their places of worship will be protects till the day of judgement. In the Holy Quran we learn to respect everyone, he said. He once again urged the organisation to raise its voice and said most people don’t understand Islam in the west and a tiny minority portrays it as terrorism. “I hope you’ll be able to tell people and make them understand what Islam is and the propaganda against it,” he concluded.