A Gallup survey of Muslims the world over has emphatically put paid to the notion that views Muslims, the

religious community as a whole, as ‘radicals’, and Islam as the driving force of the current wave of violence

and radicalism. The poll brings out that an overwhelming number of Muslims (as many as 93 percent) are, in fact, opposed to such elements and their acts of terrorism. The strength and credibility of the survey could be imagined from the fact that it was conducted by the world famous US-based Gallup polling agency, which spent six long years holding more than 50,000 interviews in three continents. to come to a conclusion that the Muslim world has been persistently trying to convey.

Another significant fact is that the survey reveals the widespread observance of religious practices among Muslims “does not translate into widespread support for terrorism.” To those with some acquaintance with the religion of Islam, whose Prophet (pbuh) was sent to the world as a messenger of benevolence and mercy for all mankind, could not possibly have advocated acts of terrorism as means of redress for any grievance. Undoubtedly, it is a misguided belief of the few among its adherents (seven percent, as the survey bears out). Some interviewees quoted the Quranic verse that says ‘taking one innocent life is like killing all humanity’ as an argument for their condemnation of 9/11.

It is a pity that while Jews and Christians observing ultra-orthodox practices are treated as pious persons manifesting a firm commitment to their faiths, Muslims adhering to their religious tenets are immediately considered dangerous extremists. An element of deliberate maligning when showing their hatred of the Islamic culture is clearly visible. Simple issues like women’s wearing of hijab, which is nothing but a reflection of the modesty enjoined by Islam, rouse an outcry from leadership and media, as if the hijab was a terrorist outfit itself.

The Gallup poll findings should serve as an eyeopener to the Western leadership, especially the American and British, which have been playing up the perverted thesis and could justifiably be regarded as having largely contributed to creating anti-Muslim, anti-Islam feelings among their publics. As the survey maintains that the majority of Muslims admire the West for its democracy and desire to have the system with religious values, it exposes the ignorance of President Bush who is on record as having said, “They hate…a democratically elected government…they hate our freedoms.” He had better try to comprehend the causes that underlie the widespread discontent among Muslims, and put an end to exploitative practices rather than mindlessly pursuing the so-called War On Terror. The present course can bring little else than bloodshed and misery.