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Strategy of Tolerance in Face of Terrorism

Answered as per Maliki Fiqh by BinBayyah.net

The Vice President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Dr. Abdullah bin Bayyah stressed that there are several solutions which can be suggested to fight terrorism, and they can represent a multifaceted strategy based on security, cultural and psychological procedures in addition to the political, economic, and even media means. He said, “We can define a set of controls for the Islamic project proposed to fight terrorism.

These controls are summarised in some points, including: defining the concept of terrorism and terrorist behavior; distinguishing between defending the land and honor and terrorism; highlighting the culture of Islamic tolerance; correcting the misconceptions in the cognitive and educational system, especially the concept of jihad, so as not to be confused with the concept of terrorism; emphasising transparency in the case of the accusation against individuals or countries; respecting human rights; stressing the sovereignty of countries in this area in order for the war on terrorism to be more effective; addressing the problem of poverty and respecting the rights of poor countries to self-growth; respecting civilisational, religious and cultural diversity of humanity as being a factor of enrichment and harmony not a factor of clash and distinction; acquitting all religions from the stigma of terrorism, especially Islam; advocating an in-depth civilised dialogue; addressing injustice in the world, especially the injustices practised against the Palestinians; identifying the internationally and locally desired reform which should be comprehensive; and creating mechanisms for security cooperation through which information are exchanged between countries.”

Bin Bayyah defined the causes of the outbreak of terrorism by saying: “The verbal meaning of this term in the Qur’anic verses is that the word ‘rahaba’ and its derivatives are mentioned in the Qur’an in twelve positions mostly related to fear and dread of Allah, the Creator, Exalted be He, although the verse mentioned in the Sura of Al-Anfal (related to the preparation of force to terrorise the enemy) may suggest meanings that some may relate to the terrorism of today. However, conscious contemplation indicates otherwise; that is, the ‘terrorism’ in the Sura of Al-Anfal is used as a deterrent or what is known nowadays as the strategy of ‘prepared force to protect peace’. In addition, this word as appeared in that Sura is directed to the Muslim country not the individuals or groups.

As for the currently used term ‘terrorism’, a careful search should be made to define it according to its Western original source in particular. The term ‘terrorism’ first appeared in a supplement to the large Dictionary of the French Academy in 1798 to describe the Government of the French Revolution, which was terrorizing the people in the name of freedom and revolution. Thus, the term ‘terrorism’ was a description of the regime; however, since the end of the eighteenth century it has become a term referring to violence by individuals and groups acting against the law. It was internationally known for the first time by the League of Nations in 1934 as a criminal act intended to create terror and fear.”

This answer was collected from BinBayyah.net, which contains of feature articles and fatawa by world renowned ‘Alim, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, from Mauritania.

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