Unfortunately, due to the current global disturbances and unrest the religion of Islam is gravely misunderstood. Be it the recent attacks in Belgium or threats around Europe, or disturbances in the Middle East; the likes of ISIS on one end of the scale and anti-Muslim rhetoric from some candidates for World leadership on the other, just add to the mix.
It is a shame that less than 1% of the Muslim population has become the face of Islam in the media. If all Muslims (almost a quarter of the world’s population) were violent terrorists as is suggested by some, you can imagine the repercussions.
I am a Muslim Imam and Missionary and have been in Samoa for over a month. There are very few Muslims in Samoa and therefore my religion is gravely misunderstood here too. I belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and we are Muslims who believe in the 2nd coming of the Messiah. We advocate and believe that Islam is a religion of peace, as the name suggests.
We openly condemn any and all form of violence. We believe in and practice our well known motto of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ and it is this message that we wish to spread around the world.
Why? Because we don’t want ignorance and a handful of terrorists to hijack our faith and religion. We don’t want bridges of understanding and acceptance to be broken due to the actions of a few violent individuals who have nothing to do with our faith.
Just as the violence by groups such as the KKK or the atrocities from the crusades or even the recently convicted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who masterminded the genocide of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s, according to him to “defend Christian values and culture”, do not reflect the peaceful teachings of Jesus, likewise the religion of Islam cannot and should not be understood to be represented by the violence of these extremists who are using religion to achieve their own geopolitical motives.
From my experience I have found the Samoan people to be some of the most friendly and accepting people in the world. To us, religion should teach humanity and unity. No matter what religion or denomination you belong to, we are first of all, ALL the creation of God, and should love and respect each other as brothers and sisters.
If you love the artist you must love His work! If you love the creator you must love His creation!
Let’s show the world that Samoa truly is heaven on earth. Let’s work around our differences and unite in fighting extremism and bringing peace in the world.