On Sept. 25, nearly 3,000 gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol for a mass Muslim prayer service that was part religion and part pep rally for the U.S. The organizers considered this day of prayer an opportunity to show how peaceful Islam is. They had expected 50,000 Muslims to attend. The slogan was, “Our Time Has Come”.
This event raises several points for discussion.
First of all, it would have improved the image of Islam if the American Muslim community asked its fellow Muslims in areas like Saudi Arabia to allow non- Muslims to have the right to pray in public and carry their religious symbols. It would be important to hear the voices of the event’s organizers asking that equal rights be given to followers of other faiths in the Muslim world. Enjoying the right to pray freely by the thousands on Capitol Hill without asking the Muslim world to do the same for its small religious minorities is unfair. The image of Islam will only change when non-Muslims see Muslims defending rights of other religious minorities to worship and pray freely in any part of the Muslim world.
Second, selecting Capitol Hill as the place of the prayer and choosing the slogan “Our Time Has Come” is very symbolic for jihadists, as they will see it as partial fulfillment of their dream of having “the flag of Islam on the White House,” as they have articulated on several occasions. For them, “having the flag of Islam on the White House” means controlling the U.S. by Shariah laws rather than by the Constitution. The message that has been conveyed to the jihadists by choosing Capitol Hill to be the site for this prayer is, simply, “we are on the march to fulfill your dream.”
Third, the Muslim leaders who organized this event have not yet clarified their position on the cruel teachings and interpretations within Islam that promote killing apostates, beating women, stoning adulterers, hanging gays, etc. Praying on Capitol Hill actually proves the peaceful nature of the U.S., which gave permission for the prayer, rather than the peaceful nature of Islam. The peaceful nature of Islam can ONLY be proven when Muslim leaders and scholars provide new interpretations of the religion that stand clearly and unambiguously against the aforementioned cruel Shariah concepts, and when non-Muslims are given the same rights as Muslims to gather, pray, and carry their religious symbols freely inside Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad." He was a former associate of Dr. al-Zawahiri (second in command of al-Qaida) and currently he is a reformer of Islam. To know more about Hamid please visit www.tawfikhamid.com. Hamid's writings in this blog represent only his thoughts and not the views of the institute where he works.
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