The rise of media coverage and usage of the term extremism is very dangerous, and unfortunately the concept of extremism has been connected to Islam that some media outlets go for using extremism to refer to a so-called “Islamic extremism” in certain contexts.
Even some moderate Muslims who try to dismiss this concept and differentiate between “Islamic Extremism” and “Muslim Extremists” fall into the same trap; acknowledging the presence of a negative extremist side in Islam.
We don’t need to define extremism but to highlight the way it is used as an ideology, in which extremism is usually pejorative and used in a negative context. As for Islam and extremism, the media tend to spotlight this issue together with the implementation of sharia-based governance that the two concepts become two sides of the same coin.
Here we come to deal with two terminologies; sharia and extremism. Unfortunately, the world is creating ignorant chanters who are afraid of sharia set of laws without even knowing what are the laws that sharia is promoting. In fact, sharia is already implemented even in Western countries! It does not contradict with the set of good laws and principles of a country; it is rather very close to both morals and laws of any society.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” These are some among a lot other articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is also sharia!
Our panic of sharia is not occurred of sharia’s set of laws, it is because this set is tied to what people refer to as “extremist Muslims”…
Extremism… Unfortunately, both Muslims and non-Muslims misuse this word to refer to aggressive behaviors of some people under the name of Islam. This article will not justify any of the teachings of Islam because they are not even into question. If someone misuses these teachings, it is not a weakness of Islam per se, actually it is a weakness of this person who first misinterprets then misuses these teachings.
If someone is extremely respectful, extremely sincere, extremely open-minded, extremely productive, extremely faithful, extremely peaceful, extremely responsible… is any of that a sin? If we describe this particular person as an extremist without referring to his well manners, will that give a good impression of him? Of course not!
We need to be very careful with the terminology because sometimes our reactions are exactly the same that others trap us to do, leading to our weakness. What we can do in this cause, is take advantage of the trap we have been put into, and reverse the reaction by denying the use of extremism when it is tied to Islam in an individual and a national level, i.e. media. When doing so, even if some media outlets or some people still use the term extremism to refer to a negative and usually brutal concept of Islam, you won’t be the ignorant, they will.