From the Times of London, Beards and scarves aren't Muslim. They're simply adverts for al-Qaeda. This is what a lot of us have been waiting for, responsible Muslims speaking out in plain language to get their house in order. This writer is clear, specific and reasonable.
But Muslims everywhere need to get to grips with a phenomenon that threatens all Muslim countries and Islamic communities in the West. This requires Muslim opinion-makers to take a number of steps.
The first is to discard the notion that anyone who is not a Muslim is an “infidel” and thus not a proper human being. Next, it is important to reject the belief that, since the goal of converting mankind to Islam is a noble one, any means to do so are justified. Muslims should accept diversity and compete in the global market place of faiths through normal channels, rather than ghazvas (raids) against “infidel” centres.
Since there is no power of excommunication in Islam the terrorists cannot be formally banned from the community. But the community can distance itself from them in accordance with the Islamic principle of al-bara’a (self-exoneration). This means that a Muslim must publicly dissociate himself from acts committed by other Muslims that he regards as sinful.
One way of doing this would be to organise a day of bara’a in all British mosques — and hopefully in mosques throughout the world — to declare that terrorism has no place in Islam.
Muslims could also help by stopping the use of their bodies as advertising space for al-Qaeda. Muslim women should cast aside the so-called hijab, which has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with tribal wear on the Arabian peninsula. The hijab was reinvented in the 1970s as a symbol of militancy, and is now a visual prop of terrorism. If some women have been hoodwinked into believing that they cannot be Muslims without covering their hair, they could at least use headgears other than black (the colour of al-Qaeda) or white (the colour of the Taleban). Green headgear would be less offensive, if only because green is the colour of the House of Hashem, the family of the Prophet.
Thanks Azra Raza for the link.