Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

An Open Battle | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Whilst the Islamic world is preoccupied with analyzing extremist speeches and terrorist acts by complicated groups that have spread in the Islamic world, other groups that work hard quietly are not given the same amount of media coverage of the “slow but continuous and effective” action carried out by increasing numbers of people.

It is obvious that groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Gamaa Islamiya have monopolized the news over the recent period and most news linked to such groups is about violence, extremism, and isolation, and this has had a direct negative impact on innocent, young generations.

However, there are people who work very hard to show others that there is a real alternative to such negativity i.e. by taking part in making dreams come true.

For example we have the engineer Mohammed Jameel who has established a promising project called the Gateway to Prosperity [Bab Rizq Jameel], which offers job opportunities, training, and funding [to youngsters] in an effective and extraordinary manner. It is expanding outside of the Saudi borders to reach Syria, Lebanon and Egypt with the intention of reaching other locations as well.

There is also Soraya Salti who heads INJAZ, an institute that works towards developing the capabilities of the youth and preparing them for entering the job market with confidence through rehabilitation programs and by learning from the experiences of qualified [people] in order to increase the enthusiasm and knowledge of the youth. INJAZ, which is based in Jordan, is already gaining momentum in the Arab world, as it is opening its doors in Egypt where it promises to develop potential in a bigger way very soon.

There is also, of course, the extraordinary, honorable Nobel winner Mohammad Yunus from Bangladesh with his genius and unique model of funding very small projects in an unprecedented manner based on having confidence in people and a positive approach.

If these projects can develop under the banner of “positive work” there are also examples of “positive words” that have begun to emerge in the Islamic world with confidence in order to give themselves the space they deserve after years of angry and extremist discourse monopolizing the scene. The voices of sound and rational people took their required position. They are people like Mohammad Sultan al Ulama from the United Arab Emirates, Ahmed El Tayyib from Egypt, Issam al Bashir from Sudan and Salman al Ouda, Abdullah Fadaq and Qais al Mubarak from Saudi. These people urge Muslims to be a positive and effective part of their society and to play a productive role, and these examples (as well as others of course) represent an important, and necessary, glimmer of hope of how things should be after years of angry and negative discourse and action.

Searching for, and creating a good example is like lighting a candle in the dark and training the eye to get used to the glow. The light then begins to penetrate until its radiance becomes normal. The Quran says, “Then as for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing; and as for that which profits the people, it tarries in the earth; thus does Allah set forth parables,” [Surat al Raad; 17]. This is what should be said and done. The internal battle over the heart and mind of Islam and Muslims is still open and we sincerely hope that it will support positive work and a rational frame of mind.