Medhi Noorbaksh spoke as part of the ‘Peace Not Prejudice’ Campaign to the hate campaign that was waged last week. This article speaks about the speech he gave
“The root of terrorism — it doesn’t have anything to do with Islam,” Medhi Noorbaksh told a gathering of about 60 people in the Forest Resources Building. “ … Terrorism in any shape is to be condemned.”
He underscored the religion’s past in education, capitalism, consensus-building and equity.
In fact, the faith promotes respect for diversity, including religious diversity, he said, quoting from Muslim texts.
“Muslims are obliged. … You have to respect people of other faith,” Noorbaksh said.
Radical elements in Muslim countries — such as those that promote female genital mutilation or ban women from driving — do not stem from the religion itself, Noorbaksh said.
“Of course, we have a lot of authoritarian regimes in the Islamic world,” he said. “But it doesn’t have anything to do with the faith.”
He went on to tweak the U.S. government over its relationships with a number of those regimes. Some radical Muslims develop extreme ideologies because they’ve felt left out of the political process, Noorbaksh said.
Further addressing the U.S., he said some political leaders here began looking for a new perceived threat after the Soviet Union collapsed.
“For them, luckily, of course, they got it — and that was Islam,” Noorbaksh said. “Islam substituted (for) the former Soviet Union.”
Terms such as “Islamo- Fascism” reflect a mentality “nourished mostly by a fear factor,” he said.
He said terrorists make up far less than even 1 percent of the global Muslim population of 1.3 billion.
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