Every now and then, a terror attack is reported, and newspapers flash names of organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko-Haram, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-dawaa and many more. After every Peshawar, Mumbai, 9/11, Charlie Hebdo etc., wherever and whenever Islam is discussed, I see only stories of despair and pessimism. Thanks to “Messiahs of Terrorism” like Laden, Kasab, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood etc. who are discussed with disgust every nook and corner of the world. Meanwhile, every philosophy which has villains must have heroes too. But here’s my question to every Muslim, where are your role models?
Muslims, followers of Islam as faith are going through internal conflicts and social turbulence. Amongst wide-spread fear and hatred, through killing humanity and dissent, these terrorists are defaming the religion by calling themselves Muslims (also architect of Sufism philosophy). An average Muslim ends up proving and convincing others, its loyalty to the country and commitment to non-violence! One commits a heinous crime and millions face the brunt by being tagged as terrorists too! But if an average Muslim kid wants to follow the paths of any living role model in your faith, who are they? I am sure Ladens of the world aren’t. Where are those heroes, who can inspire millions to be like them? Where are your living legends, whose action ignites optimism and hope? Where are your Mahatma Gandhis, Martin Luther Kings, Lincolns and Mandelas? Where are your Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sachins and Federers? If there are any, this is the time for them to be counted! If they aren’t any, it’s time to build one and many!
I believe that behind this dearth of modern Muslim heroes, is lack of education. More the education seeps into the each and every member of this faith, more and more success stories would emerge. On a global platform, I can see Malala in the making of a role model for Muslim young women! Another reason I believe, is minimal participation of Muslim Scholars in public and political space. It’s time for the educated Muslims to jump into the political foray and create name and fame. It’s time for them to step up and be the torch-bearers of Muslim faith. So that no more Hate-ranter Owasis, Fatwa-generators Imams and terrorist organizations of the world can claim to be your leaders.
Indian sub-continent is still lucky to have local role-models in the past and present, though very few! We had greats across the era like Maulana Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, Azim Premji, Yusuf Hamied (Cipla) and Dr. APJ Kalam etc., whose stories still inspire many. From glitterati world, we have AR Rahman and Aamir Khan, who have been and can be change-agents, thanks to their body of work and popularity. At present, Indian political space is crying to have popular, good and statesman like leaders from Islam.
Finally, hope this message reaches especially to the Arab world! Remember, until new global role models don’t emerge from the shackles of conservatism; until new heroes don’t spread their reformist vision in the public space, sadly (and unjustifiably) till then, Islam would remain tagged as a fundamentalist and a terrorist-breeding religion!