Mufti Menk – Current Affairs interview

Mufti Menk
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the challenges of the peace and acceptance of Islam in the Middle East, as it is the fastest-growing religion in the world. They emphasize the need for individuals to learn to uphold laws and allow others to do the same, as it is the fastest growing religion in the world. The speakers also stress the importance of educating individuals on their values and finding one's own values, as it is the fastest-growing religion in the world. The upcoming celebrate of peace and toleration of actions by individuals is also highlighted.
AI: Transcript ©
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Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Welcome to Singapore. Salam Rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. It's an absolute pleasure to be here. Today. It's almost rare to hear Islam being mentioned, without having terrorism and ISIS being uttered in the same breath. Do you think ISIS has actually hijacked Islam and its identity? I think what is happening is that what ISIS is doing seems to have taken the limelight, not to say that the rest of Islam is not doing good work. If we were to focus on the good, it would actually eclipse the bad that's being done by ISIS. But I feel, you know, news channels obviously would carry the bad that's being done, because the good is so much. So yes, it

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is, to a certain extent that ISIS has more or less overtaken that image of Islam, perhaps that the non Muslims have. And this is what makes our duty, even much more important of spreading the true image of Islam or the true message of Islam. How do you think the situation with ISIS will pan out because there are some sectors who feel that they're actually very Islamic, I think to say they're very Islamic is, is wrong, because if you take a look at the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And even the true Halifax that followed, the non Muslims felt very safe under them. In fact, history proves this, if you were to go back to the even the Turkish Empire, the

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Ottoman Empire, the Jews who lived under the Ottomans and the Christians who lived under the Ottomans, and that's very recent, but if you take it further to the Omega period, as well as the Abbasid period, those who are non Muslim felt very secure and very safe under the Muslims. The first thing is, what ISIS is doing is they picking anyone who disagrees with them, not necessarily not Muslim. So even if you're a Muslim, but you've disagreed with them, they kill you. And that is ridiculous. That is the first point of loss for ISIS. And it's the first point of exposure of who they really are, they have, you know, gone against the instruction of the Almighty, where, in the

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Quran, Allah says that if you are to kill one person, it's as though you're killing entire humanity off. So I believe that, you know, the killing of this ad or the killing of anyone else that has happened over time, the Japanese hostages, the killing of, for example, the journalists, the killing of Muslims who belong perhaps to a different denomination.

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And even just those of similar ideologies, perhaps but who don't agree with you, because if you're following it carefully, you have the different factions of those fighting acid, for example, in Syria, who are killing each other, they all Muslim, and they all perhaps have similar beliefs. So it goes to show that there is something deeper than religion. It is it is something that is really

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terrible because religion is being used, people are saying, these guys might be following exactly what the prophet Muhammad taught. But that's not true. If you take a look at the Quran, there are verses that were revealed at times of war, and verses that were revealed at times of peace. So to implement the verses of war, many conditions need to be met from amongst those conditions is that there needs to be a war. And there needs to be a certain system in place where there is a supreme leader. I was having a laugh a few days ago, because someone asked me that if Mullah Omar was the halifa, who uprooted him who upset at him? How come there's a new leaf? I mean, what happened? was

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they hand over a baton or something. And where did it go? And and that's true that those people who considered him as the halifa to Muslim mean, you know, the halifa of the Muslims? How did they suddenly go to an anonymous man called Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi? And when I say anonymous, I'm talking of

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the fact that the media told us who he was, we had no clue, no idea who he was before the media, just like Osama bin Laden, nobody had a clue who he was, besides a closed circle. And when the when the media suddenly told the world this is the man that's when we knew who he was. So it's quite surprising to say that, you know, people feel this is Islamic, when in actual fact it isn't Islamic. And like I've said, the biggest factor that sells them, or that gives them away is the fact that they are interested in sporadic killings, destruction of infrastructure, which is prohibited in Islam. The Prophet peace be upon him says even at times of war, you don't

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rake a tree, you don't destroy buildings, you don't kill women and children, you don't kill the aged in the elderly. They're going against every teaching. And this is why it's very frustrating. And this is what the young people don't understand. And perhaps what they and I'm going to take the liberty to speak on this what perhaps the young people who are being brainwashed feel is okay, the the Westerners kill us and our children and they're killing our women and they're doing everything so we're allowed to do to them, tit for tat, you know exactly what they're doing to us. So we can go and do whatever they're doing to us. The reality is, you cannot go out and kill innocent people who

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are not involved at all in the war. You know, I take for example, the Al Shabaab,

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killings in Kenya,

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they have a problem with the Kenyan army for some reason. So because they are too coward to face the Kenyan army. What they do is they go into Kenya and start killing innocent people who perhaps are Muslims. Perhaps they were really good people who've helped Islam and the Muslims but they killed and and if that was the way that Islam had taught you, and I would not be seated here because perhaps our forefathers some way up the ladder, who, who reverted to Islam, or converted to Islam would have been killed by the likes of ISIS. So the duty of a Muslim is quite clear in the Quran and the Sunnah, Sunnah, meaning the statements of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to propagate

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and promote Islam in a way that a maximum number of people would learn about it and perhaps be attracted towards it so that they can be saved, so to speak, by turning to Islam, in this way, the opposite is happening. So rather than going out and working on the enemy in a positive way that he becomes a friend, or he becomes a person who understands the faith and turns towards Islam, what they're doing is absolutely the opposite. They don't even give him a chance to to look at Islam, they've gotten rid of him, before they've even had a chat with him. So what happens? I mean, how is all this going to pan out?

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Obviously, like I say, they're doing whatever they're doing, they probably using the Internet, and this is why I believe that nations will have to start blocking out parts of the internet over time, in order to protect the youth from being brainwashed. You know, before when we used to hear. I know, for example, in Saudi Arabia, * material is prohibited. So the minute you try and open a link, not necessarily *, but something that they deem is not fit for viewing here, in Saudi Arabia, for example, it's blocked, so they have a complicated system of blocking certain websites and so on. And I think that's gonna have to go global, you think so you think the West is

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gonna cry foul, and I think the West will be the first to do that. It's just my idea. Because having studied what's happening right now, I think the West will have to take the lead, it might sound so strange, but they're going to have to protect the you know, the young people from this type of ideology. And because it's available, so you know, in the bedroom, they're getting radicalized in a bedroom, you know, sewed under the duvet, so to speak. So it's something that's really disasters, it's something we cannot do much about, someone has to stop it. And, and, you know, we're just a part of the team. Also, what happens, and I'm saying this, because it's come to my mind is, when

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Muslim leaders say things like this, some of the Muslims feel let down and they think, oh, you siding with this? And you say, No, we're not. We're not siding with anyone, we are still against oppression and aggression. And this is why whether it is ISIS, or anyone else on the globe killing is killing. I mean, it could be a government that's doing it, or it could be, you know, private, limited doing it. It's still killing. So we believe that we condemn all types of killing no matter what it is. And we condemn all types of violence, sporadic bombing, whatever it is, and we do know that it's not just ISIS, who does this. The only thing is, perhaps others who do it are not as

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gruesome whereby they wouldn't record and video, the barbaric acts. And for some reason, ISIS is doing this. And for some reason, they,

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you know, funny, I was speaking to one young, young boy, and he was saying, the games, the video games of today are full of ISIS training. And I said, What do you mean? And he was telling me there's only violence and killing and you know, and these video games are from the west. And what they are doing is they according to some of the youngsters, you know, they making it seem like it's it's you gain a prize and an award by killing people who are slightly different and so on. So I had to sit with him and explain to him that look, that's not the case. And perhaps you should not be playing so many of those types of games. But he says they're very interesting. They they are

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available. It's the same thing. Everyone's talking about it and why shouldn't I? So what

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ISIS has done is they've taken those things and shown them in real life, they've actually given a life to it. And that's sad. So we would like to see an end not only to what they're doing, but even to these type of violent games. Because I believe as a religious leader, that that is wrong. It's wrong to have games that would incite people or even trained people to doing such things. Even if you're just joking. And even if it's just a game, some people say it's only a game. Well, that's a very bad game to play. So this is just, you know, these are just some of my thoughts on this. Now, today, the hot news out of Singapore is that we have a 19 year old, self radicalized boy, trying to

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join ISIS. And last week, there were 10 young guys from Canada, who was stopped at Montreal airport for the same thing. What do you think is the lure of ISIS? And why are these young minds so vulnerable to it, it's been so difficult to pinpoint. But what we've done, what I've done is to try and go through reasons why this is happening, and perhaps how it is happening. As for the how, I think it's more to do with online brainwashing, most of it is to do with online work, because almost all of them have been radicalized online. If you take a look at this incident, I read it in the papers this morning. In Singapore, it's very sad, but nobody that that I know of on the ground here

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in Singapore, from amongst the leaders in the religious scholars would ever promotes such behavior, or such type of thinking. But what has definitely happened is this young man has gone online a few years back, and he has been radicalized over a period of time, and what they are picking on perhaps and this is just obviously one of the biggest guesses but it's it glares us in the face and that is that the oppression that is occurring from perhaps the the, you know, or should I say against the Muslims.

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And it seems like nobody's doing anything about it, take a look at Myanmar, take a look at Palestine, take a look at Afghanistan, take a look at Pakistan. What the Muslim youngsters look, you know, perceive or how they look at it is that here are Muslims being killed by non Muslims, and nobody's doing anything about it. So because they have this burning, you know, flame within them to want to do something about it. And nobody in power opposition seems to be saying or doing anything or much about it. They are then more easily brainwashed by people who tell them listen, you can do something about it. And the best way is to start hitting out at this and that and that is wrong.

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Because people are doing things about it. And we do feel let down sometimes as Muslims, when it comes to certain issues that are occurring on the globe, whereby I think the bulk of Muslims and even human beings, not just Muslims feel that perhaps help has come a little bit, you know, too late, or Yes. And sometimes when we when we feel this way, obviously, we would write letters, we would perhaps try and mobilize people to maybe to demonstrate in a democratic way, according to the law of the land, to make their voices heard, perhaps make a statement or to perhaps write to the United Nations, perhaps try and do something in a civilized way about it. But not everyone thinks

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that way. And what we're finding is where people are trying to lure the young, and this is why if you notice, ISIS recruits, those who are very young, you know, it starts off from the early teens, perhaps 1213. And I've never seen someone or anyone, perhaps in their 40s you know who's mature enough, they've seen the world, they know what it's all about. Getting lured, in fact, something very interesting is no scholars of note have sanctioned what ISIS is doing. Nobody has approved them and nobody of note, so you do have a few young people who might be saying, you know, we are scholars and these guys are legit, and so on. But to be honest, they're not. And the senior scholars

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throughout the globe have agreed that the that what they're doing is not Islamic. Now, these young minds after they've been radicalized, so to speak. I think the fear of most governments is that what happens when they get back to society when they become reintegrated? Now, how big a threat Do you think they will pose? Well, it all depends on how serious each individual is, or was when they were, you know, in the zone of combat, so to speak, if they were really, you know, I've seen some clips of people burning their passports and so on. And I don't know if they're doing it out of immaturity, or if they really think that that's the future for them. So it's quite tricky because it's up to the

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nations to decide whether or not these people would be able to integrate. I mean, I've never come across a person or never had the opportunity of interviewing or meeting with any one of them to be able to know the depth

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There's the, you know, the the mindset. Exactly. So I think it's up to the the countries themselves. And I've seen a different laws from different nations, where they've decided I read the newspaper this morning. We Australia says the family of one of these radicalized people are one of the the men who was shown in one of the videos, they too would not be able to return. It's up to the nation, it's actually up to them. So I would not be able to advise on that, because like I said, we don't know. Now, Islam is so much in the limelight today, you know, everyday you hear stories, you read reports, his job is being attacked, mosques and Islamic institutions being torched. How do you think

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we should address this problem, the rising tide of Islamophobia. I think a lot of it, and I'm I might be wrong, but I think a lot of it has to do with the media. Sadly, the media portrays the negative image of Islam, I might be wrong. But this, this is what it seems like to me. Because there is a lot of good happening. I mean, remember, there are more than a billion Muslims across the globe. And the bulk of them are peace loving, superb human beings, who, who share the struggles of the others who don't share their faith. And at the same time, just to pick on the job and so on, is unfair, is really unfair, we feel let down. But what it's done, to be honest, is it's made the

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Muslims more conscious of their deeds, it's made them more conscious of reaching out to others, those of other faiths, and in a way, it's actually showcased Islam in the most beautiful manner to others. So I give you an example of Singapore. Since we're here right now. I've seen so many people dressed in hijab, and they get along so well, with those who are not, you know, it's it's integration of the highest level, so to speak, where they get along, they respect each other, each one has their faith. Each one adopts whatever they believe, and they're inclined to, without actually, you know, hating on the other and without having this ill feeling or intolerance towards

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the other. And that is how it should be. Do you think the West can take a lesson from that? I really think yes, yes. And I'm sure there are places even in western countries, specific communities that have built a good rapport with people of other faiths and minorities, that can showcase it for the rest of the nation. So it's not like it's happening in every city or town or car or county. But it's,

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it's made to seem like that is the case, by the media, do you think the media is largely at fault and all of this? Well, not to use the word false, but to use the word focus? Perhaps they're focusing on the wrong things maybe. And someone might argue to say, look, it's not the wrong things. But it actually is the reality. Whereas I believe that if we would like to combat Islamophobia, the media will have a big role to play in it. Let's be fair and worded that way. Fair enough. Now, let's turn our attention to what's happening in the Middle East. There's so much coming out of there. And I think the situation has rarely been as fluid as it is today. It's very challenging for the layman

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to make sense of all this, can you help us understand better What's going on? I think there's a lot of intolerance, lack of education, there is a lot of mistrust. And to be honest, if we go back, we would also find a starting point. But very sadly, where we are today is chaos, confusion, animosity, let you know, mistrust, which has caused so much of what is happening, and very sadly, life has become extremely cheap, so to speak. People wouldn't bat an eyelid to kill others, sadly. And this should not be the case. So I do agree that we sometimes are confused ourselves, the only thing we know is that what is right and wrong. On paper, we know that, you know, Revelation is clear.

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Humanity. And should I say the way the human being should be that is also quite clear. But why this is happening? Sometimes doesn't make sense. It really doesn't. And if you were to ask me, What do you see? And how do you see solutions? I really think the leaders of these people who are violent, should sit down and they should speak to each other, they should draw, you know, a map of the way forward and they should tell their followers, in clear terms that this is not the way forward but the sad reality is a lot of them do not have proper leaders. They just have this idea in their minds and, and they just following it. So it's, they themselves know, let's just pick up on that point. So

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how would Muslim scholars like yourself, you know, what role do you think you can play in all of this? Well, what I have done and I think it's quite clear

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For those who who follow me closely, I've tried to promote tolerance and peace as best as I can, within nations where this is not happening, I don't want to say not yet happening, because I have believed that it won't happen. So by doing that we are we are helping the nations to sort of streamline the Muslim ideology and belief towards tolerance and peace, so that they don't follow what the others are doing. That's the first step. And I believe all Muslim scholars can and should be

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contributing in this direction where we educate those in peaceful countries, towards tolerance and towards peace, and so on. But at the same time, wherever we can help in terms of speaking to leaders,

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we should, I've tried to a certain extent, but sometimes what I found is, people are too radicalized to actually look at someone who is a peace loving person, as a normal human being they say, but you don't know the truth. And we do know the truth. But you perhaps don't know the truth. So this is the argument. They think we don't know. And we think they don't know.

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Right now, despite all this that's going on. Islam is the fastest growing religion and will dominate by 2050. I think the projection is 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.7 6 billion by 2050. Now, that would make it like the fastest growing religion and a third of the world's projected population of 9 billion, then, isn't that an explosive and phenomenal rise? And what do you attribute that to?

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I think one of the biggest reasons, and I'm speaking here, from my personal discussions with people who have reverted to Islam, they say that all this negativity, actually may make them or makes them read from the Muslim sources about Islam. And they are aware that there are people who are trying to tarnish the image of Islam, people who are trying to find fault with the Quran, and perhaps, you know, the narrations of the Prophet Mohammed May peace be upon him. So they say the more we read, the more we realize that this is actually the truth, because they compare it to other faiths. They compare it to what's going on elsewhere, what they have been in before, and they find the truth for

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the truth itself. And this is something amazing, and it's something unique. So what all this negativity does do is it gives the opportunity to those who are sensible to look into the reality and to find it. Now, what do you think is the best way for the Muslim community to move forward?

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I think a lot of tolerance needs to be taught. And you know, if you take a look, for example, and I'm going to just raise this, for purposes of example, the issue of gays and lesbians and so on. Over the years, people have evolved in their way of thinking, I'm talking of the non Muslims, or should I say, even in the Western countries, if you take a look at the vote that happened recently, in Ireland, you find 62% voted for that means 38% voted against. So a large number of the population actually have voted against it. That doesn't make them intolerant. It doesn't make them preachers of hatred, but it just makes them people who have not, or who believe otherwise. So what I've found is,

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if this vote was perhaps held a decade back, it might have been the other way around, where perhaps 62 may have voted against it. But as time is passing, people are becoming more tolerant, not to say they agree with something. But they agree that people have the right to choose whatever they have chosen whatever they want to choose. And they have the right to change that over time. So what I believe is, as time passes, you know, people need to be taught to uphold the law of the land that they live in, as Muslims, so if you're living in Australia, or in the UK, or for example, in the USA, it's important that you respect the law of the land very important, and that will not compel

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upon you. It will not compel you to do anything against Islam. For example, it's not going to shove down your throat a bottle of alcohol, nor is it going to force you to

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consume meat that is perhaps not a kosher or halal. But if it gives the right to others to do what they want, so you need to learn that that is part of the system. So I am a firm believer that Muslim leaders need to myself included, educate people, of all nations to abide by the laws of their nations

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in order to be citizens who are Muslims.

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What is happening sometimes these people are now trying to brainwash some of the Muslims, to tell them look, the law means nothing, so you can break the law at any time. And that's not true. In fact, if you go back to the Islamic scriptures, and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he makes it quite clear that you will follow and you will obey for as long as it is not against the instruction of the Almighty. Let me give you an example. If it is prohibited for me to say my daily prayers, which happened to be one of the pillars of Islam, by law, I haven't yet seen that law, but I'm just giving an example. It would be my duty to silently pray, I cannot allow

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myself to adopt a law that goes against the law of the Almighty, when it comes to my obligations, or something that is forcing me to engage in a prohibition. So I would have to pray silently, quietly. And this is why the Prophet peace be upon him says pray standing, if you cannot pray, sitting. And if you still cannot pray, sitting, then pray lying down. So I can actually pray with the movements of my head. When I fly, for example, on an aircraft, I prayed while sitting on my seat, and a lot of the times I would tell someone who if someone is seated next to me, you know, I greet them, and I smile at them have a bit of a chitchat, and then tell them, if you can ignore me just for a few

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moments, I'm saying my prayers, and every one of them so far, has understood what I've done. And it's simple, it's as simple as that. So if I don't want to make a big scene out of this prayer, because of what's going on today, on the globe, you know, as a Muslim, people see you standing and praying on an aircraft, it becomes a little bit difficult for them to digest, one of the best things to do is to make keep it simple, understand your, what is permissible in terms of religion, and the fact that you, you are allowed to read it sitting and sit and read. So I believe that there are ways of doing things. And the same way we would like non Muslims, to tolerate us, and to allow us, for

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example, to build our mosques, or to frequent them or to dress in hijab, or to grow our beards, for example, any little belief that a person might have the same way in the same way that we would like them to tolerate us and allow that for us. We need to tolerate them, and allow whatever they believe for them. And that's quite simple. And this is what some children are not understanding. And I call them children, because really, they teen agents slightly beyond, and they sometimes don't know that if it was based on their ideas, we wouldn't even have existed. What's your vision for the Muslim community? I'd love to see a beautiful growth, tolerance and understanding between Muslims and non

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Muslims. And I think it's very possible, and I think it will, it will come but when I cannot put a timeframe, but if everyone works towards the goal, I'm sure it will be realized. Because this world can be a lovely place, you know, technologically we so advanced, people are so well educated, why then the intolerance? You know, why is it that we cannot tolerate each other? I, for example, in the past, when I was much younger, I might have been a little bit stricter in terms of certain issues. And as we grew up, we did not compromise our faith. But what happened is, we did understand that others have the same, right. So it's something very beautiful. And I think as, as we mature, we're

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supposed to become people who tolerate a little bit more. Sadly, what's happening, for now, at least, is when people are getting a little bit older, they becoming more intolerant. I mean, we are saddened by the big wars that some of you know the major countries have initiated, and sometimes without any evidence, and I'm not a politician, but what I could say is that we feel very let down. So what's the best way to deal with these sorts of situations? Well, I think to engage your leaders within community is to engage the perhaps for them to engage the politicians, and take it from there. This is for the political problems that we have. Because, like I said earlier, what the young

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people feel is that the politicians are doing nothing meaningful. So let's take it in our own hands. Now, this vigilantism, so to speak is prohibited in Islam, it's not allowed at all, but they don't care. They don't want to listen to the voice of reason. They don't want to listen to scholars who have knowledge of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed May peace be upon him. And part of the reason is frustration they so frustrated with this delay, the delay of delivering justice minister, this idealism of youth, so to speak, this seems to be the problem now what do you think is the best way to deal with this? I think education you know, and and to be able to have Islamic

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As an preachers lecturing and preaching to keep the young mind occupied because what's happening is countries are coming and saying this preachers banned that preachers man, if you look carefully, you actually need that preacher because he has a large following, for example, or his his preachings are very, very tolerant. But just because of one little issue, you've ruled him out, not realizing that the youth will follow him. If they don't get that caliber of Islamic knowledge from such a person who's going to denounce intolerance, who's going to denounce perhaps, violence and so on, they will just hunt online, and when they hunt online, only God knows that God knows what they're going to

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find. So I believe it's the duty of older nations to search for,

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not scholars who have watered down religion such that the following and realizes that these are sellouts, so to speak, and I'm using terms of, you know, some of the youth where they say, Oh, these are sellouts don't listen to them. These are puppets and they only promoting what the government wants them to promote. They've watered down religion and so on, but rather engage those who are tolerant those who understand those who have views that would promote coexistence.

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And I think that's the best way forward with the youth because this idealism that we that we've seen, and the frustration, the result, and frustration can be combated if we fill the gaps with our own local content. And that local content needs to be given respect and, and sometimes we may differ with certain opinions, I can give you a simple example. I come from Zimbabwe. And it's very difficult to strike a balance between the Zimbabwean law, for example, and if I were to travel, say, to the UK, where they have totally opposite laws regarding the gays and lesbians, in Zimbabwe to promote it is a crime to be a part of it is an even bigger crime. And in Britain, it's the opposite

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in Britain, you cannot even express your views. And this is just my own opinion, or what what my on my reading of it makes. So I believe it's very difficult. Although what I've tried to do is explain to people that look, it depends where you live, you have to be an upright citizen. And I think the whole world understands that. If you're living in the Middle East, for example, there's no point in promoting, you know, the US law in the Middle East, or Middle East and law in the US. But you have to live according to your your own nation, you're a citizen of the nation. So I think if we if we make use of scholars who have a lot of respect amongst the youth, in order to promote a beautiful,

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balanced religious note, it would really go very far in solving the problem. let's shift gears a little bit to one of the most popular Muslim scholars online, you have a combined following of about 2 million and all your social platforms. You know, there are those who feel that your daily reminders are a constant Wake Up Calls to them. So

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what motivates you? I mean, where did you get all your inspiration from? I think one of the things I I've set out to do is to show people that although these are Islamic teachings, and all, all the you know teachings that I have online, especially on Twitter and Facebook,

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what I've set out to do with that is to show that the the entire world Muslim or non Muslim, that even though it's coming from a Muslim source, it's applicable to the lives are within the lives of every single human being. These are day to day teachings that generally would help everyone and anyone so although I am a Muslim, and I do, do obviously follow as best as I can, the teachings of Islam, and my preachings would be based on Islam, they would not be against it. I do feel the need to show people or to teach people to educate people that you know, we do have common values. And we are people who do stand for what is good for what is correct for what is upright, as far as

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possible. So every time I see bad things happening on the globe, in the name of Islam, or even if it's just other faiths, or perhaps killings recently, we saw the bikers who had a shootout in the States, you know, it hurts us because human life is sacred. And we should be feeling that. And so perhaps a tweet might come out,

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you know, a tweet of hope or something where people can come to it and feel that Okay, there is someone speaking since it may not be absolutely relevant to a current affairs, but what it definitely does is in the personal lives of people, it helps them on everyone has problems. We all have issues, whether in the family, whether in the community, society, the nation, and these words of inspiration, keep me going and I'm sure they keep others going as well.

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A large number of your followers are young people. What does that speak about you? I think it's got to do with the social media a lot, a large number of the subscribers to social media are young people. And I do know of people, you know that there is a terminology used online haters, right. So the I do know of people who just hate you, because of the way you look. And I think we can change that. Because if you see someone with, with a beard and you know, dressed like a Muslim, you know, in most cases, you've been trained to just look away and perhaps, you know, feel that maybe feel unsafe or insecure for a little while. But I think we can change that, whereby when people see you

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dressed in a hijab, or they see you, you know, dressed the way I am, for example, and they have a chat with you, and they realize, you know, this is a human being they, they really stand for values that we do as well, they may have a different set of beliefs, and they may be praying differently and so on. But at the end of the day, they are also worth respecting, and being tolerated as well. So yes, I'd say that it's it's a challenge. But it's it's a very good feeling that I have when I see so many youngsters commenting even if the comments are negative, over time, they become positive comments. I mean, I've seen people who've really thought very badly of me. And as time has passed,

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they realize that you know, what he actually teaches good things to me is very cool. He's been skydiving, you've been sound? I mean, what's next on the cards of demand? Are you keeping that very close to your chest? I think you probably hear of it when when it happens, it's probably something it will definitely be something exciting. The reason why, for example, people were asking, you're a religious scholar, you went skydiving and you put up the pictures and so on. I think one of the reasons I did that, firstly, the skydiving was something on my bucket list for a long, long time. And what I felt is, I'm a normal human being I obviously I have done something that's not prohibited

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in Islam. And the youth all would like to do certain things. And when they see that, okay, there's a religious scholar who's for example, had a bit of fun, and it's clean, fun, so to speak. It's more like guiding them towards, not towards skydiving, necessarily, because some might look at it differently, but towards clean fun to say look, you don't have to be a hermit for example, you don't have to just stay at home and you know, pray and so to be a good Muslim, you can live your life in such a beautiful way that you have a religion that's not compromised. And at the same time you have you know, the fun side of it. A balanced life. And I think it's it really goes down well. So yes,

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skydiving, bungee jumping in the past I've done and the next one will be after Ramadan. Well, I cannot put you know, with when I do the bungee jumping in Victoria Falls, it was very strange, because the the the the rope had snapped earlier. And when they told me you're jumping, but the rope snapped in December. And I said, Well, now they've got a new rope, you know. So it was quite hilarious, because people were very, very discouraging, but I did it and I felt very good about it. And at the same time.

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I put it up online and and I told him I'd like to do. I told some of my friends that my you know, I'd like to do the skydive it took a few years to get it done. But it was done. And I go again, I actually would, yeah, Ramadan is just around the corner. Let's end off with your message for the community this coming Ramadan.

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I think this coming Ramadan is a really brilliant opportunity for us to collect our thoughts to be able to think ahead to be able to ask ourselves what are the real solutions, the real solutions for the crisis being faced by the Muslims across the globe. And I think we will come to a conclusion that each one of us needs to become better people. We need to learn more about Islam we need to become more tolerant of others. We need to prove ourselves as being brilliant Muslims through our character and conduct and this is why there is integration of the Prophet peace be upon him wherein he says that if a person in Ramadan is only going to stay away from food and drink, without

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concentrating on their level of character and conduct, whereby they would lie, or they would perhaps say bad things, you know, vulgar terminology, and so on, then they've wasted their time. So this means fasting is not only about staying away from food and drink, but it's also about discipline and about using the opportunity to

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correct rectify, purify and enhance one's character and conduct. So that's a beautiful message. I think it's a concentration point, perhaps for this month of Ramadan. Together with prayer for all

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Suffering across the globe in Myanmar, or Burma, as well as Bangladesh and everywhere else, you know, it said that whenever a Muslim goes through things or whenever Muslims have perpetrated crimes, that Islam becomes very, very manifest. But when others are perpetrating similar crimes, it's not even spoken about. And this is also part and parcel of the frustrations of some of the young people who seem to be taking the law in their own hands. So Ramadan is a month of pondering, praying, lots of prayer, and inshallah I hope that we can do something positive in our lives with these opportunities. 59 Thank you very much for being with us. Just like Allah Hi. Selam Aleykum

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Aleykum Salam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Thank you very much.

Current Affairs Interview published on 4 Jun 2015 Mufti Ismail Menk gives his unique insights on a range of topics from ISIS to Islamophobia and the rise of Islam to his much talked about skydiving experience.

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