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Muslim leaders speak out


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
...continued from page 7

ALMASMARI:
In history, there were always communities that promoted violence, or utilized religion to fulfill personal agendas, and that's the struggle of our generation. We're struggling with it. Quran has always promoted leadership, generosity. If you look at Muslims just in Michigan, and look at their donations to the people of Flint, the people of Detroit, it's all motivated from the teachings of Holy Scripture.

Can you explain how some members of the Islamic faith are able to use the Quran to justify the violence we see around the world as something that is ordained by God?

ALMASMARI:
You'll have people who will take anything and use it for their own personal benefit. The force of religious evidence is very powerful. To understand what these individuals are going through, or what they're promoting, you have to understand their situation. Understanding that sometimes they're uneducated. If they are educated, they are individuals who went through certain challenges where these challenges were not addressed nor the community showed them any attention, so they decided to travel. Some of them were fooled, understanding this was the only way towards forgiveness, and you'll have some leaders who are well-equipped to attract youth, to get these people in.

The youth, I could say they are innocent. But the leadership is not. I think everyone knows who they are and what they stand for, and the evil they carry in their message.

OSMAN: I attribute it to gang mentality.

If we go down to downtown Detroit, if we were to go to Harlem, to Chino, Pontiac, to any of the urban, unfortunate areas, where there's a lot of crime and a lot of uneducated individuals, and they're put in situations where they really should not be – you look at the mindset of youth when he decides to join a gang, because they're in a position where they have no food, or they have no family, no education, no structure and no prospects to their life. It's not even that, "Oh, I don't want to do this, but I have to." They start finding acceptance and purpose in something greater. They find this family of a gang. And they now feel important. Significant. It's "I'm going to take it because others took it away from me."

Mirror that with what's going on in the Middle East. You have individuals who are significantly undereducated. They're illiterate, living in slums, living in areas that are very unfortunate, for them to do the exact same things – it makes sense, rationally. They're going to cling to something. These individuals are going to cling to religion. When you have religious leaders who are peddling radicalization, it's a power struggle, it's money. They utilize them and tell them, "It's the Jews that are the ones that put you in this situation." "The Americans are the ones that put you in this type of situation. Death to America." "Why don't you take this bomb, go kill yourself, and give me all your money, everything you have left."

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Tags: LONGFORM

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