Not all are the same [Archives:2000/32/Viewpoint]

August 7 2000

In reference to the latest attacks against journalists by mosque preachers, I realized that a great deal of mosque preachers actually do not agree with many of what has been said against journalists by Islamists. After I attended the Friday prayer last week, I was impressed to know that we are still doing well. The preacher at the mosque gave a strong lecture against those who claim to be sheikhs and accuse their brother Muslims of infidelity and coming against Islam. “Instead of going against their Muslim brothers and accusing them of, why don’t they try to focus on more important issues” is what he said in his sermon.
The good impression I got out of the mosque encouraged me to write about this group of truly dedicated Muslim scholars who give more significance to the main concerns of the Yemeni public rather than turning to less significant issues. Not every Sheikh is actually of enough knowledge to accuse anyone of being a Muslim or not. In Islam, accusing a person of infidelity is a major act, which should never be committed unless with 100% of certainty.
Every country and society should always have prominent Islamic figures that should be tolerable and understand how to deal with critical situations in an appropriate manner. The massive campaigns against journalists and against media in general has turned the normal citizens to enemies of the media simply because they follow their Islamic leaders, sometimes blindly. What would happen if these preachers irresponsibly call citizens to the slaughtering of journalists? How could one ever excuse them for committing such atrocities?
Understanding Islam in its true spirit is essential to know why accusing journalists and the media is not the right action in Islamic terms.
I am once again glad that we still have moderate and understanding Muslim scholars and preachers who realize that their role is to promote Islamic teachings and noble acts, rather than accusing others of infidelity. I am glad that they are not all the same. Walid Al-Saqqaf
Chief Editor