Genuine Muslims are peace-loving people

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 12:00am

Regardless of the natural bias of the American Government towards Israel, Islam forbids its true followers from committing any acts of violence, unless it is in self-defence.

What fuels the ignorance regarding Islam is the media's habitual practice of misinterpreting the Arabic word jihad or 'holy war'. What it actually means is to struggle in the way of God by striving to do good and to fight against only those who persecute. Jihad does not allow this to be done by attacking innocent civilians.

Radical Hindu groups attacking Christian worshippers in India, Serb Christians persecuting Muslims in Bosnia and fanatical extremists with delusional ideologies commiting terrorist attacks act out of ignorance. They are led by satanic individuals who represent shady organisations.

Those who genuinely practise religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, do not preach violence. However, most of these religions have minorities that form groups with grim agendas. They are bent on spreading terror through acts of violence. We saw examples of that with the inhumane attacks on New York and Washington.

The media have a habit of blaming different religions when events like this take place.

Unfortunately, this is done at the expense of accurate reporting, which does not help matters.

Violence is inevitable if we remain indifferent. We need to prevent the spread of bigotry in the world. The terrorists hope they will expose divisions in American society. However, this must not happen. Americans of all races must stand united and rebuke these acts. There must be dialogue between genuine religious groups.

The United States Government should break through the news headlines regarding the attack on the World Trade Centre and defend America's rich religious and ethnic diversity, by committing its resources to identifying and apprehending these vicious perpetrators swiftly and bringing them to justice.



I wish to express my deepest thanks to the Students' Union at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for its commemoration for those missing, dead and injured in New York City and Washington.

As an American and a new member of staff at the university, I was deeply moved by the show of support for and solidarity with the families whose lives have been devastated by the insane acts of cruelty that have shaken New York, Washington and the world.

Already, grief is passing into anger and there are calls for retribution. I hear those calls echoing inside me, inside the cavity left in the wake of such horror. But the compassion, empathy and humanity demonstrated by those who organised and attended the commemoration has been like a light guiding me out of my basest desire for revenge.

As the days progress and the numbers of dead increase, Americans and our leaders will have our deepest spiritual, political and civic values tested, but we must not confuse revenge with justice.


Sai Kung