Imam tells Omani youth extremism is for losers
MUSCAT // An imam delivering a Friday prayer sermon says radicalism has no place in Islam and cautioned young people to be on their guard against those who have a poor understanding of Islamic jurisprudence.
Sheikh Said Mahmood, imam of a mosque in Seeb in the Omani capital addressed his sermon directly at the young, urging them to reject extreme views.
“Knowledge needs to be properly explained. Young people must not fall prey to preachers who have no formal qualifications in Islam. These people do not understand Islam. They interpret Islamic laws in a radical way,” he said.
“They have extreme views and you should think twice before following them. In fact, stay away from them. Islam is a rational religion and every law is based on mutual respect for one another. To stay away from evil is to educate yourselves, use logic and common sense in your life.”
Sheikh Said also warned young people to stay away from websites and social media platforms promoting extreme views on Islam.
“Always use your rational thinking. These websites are constructed by people who failed in life and they want to bring others down with them,” he said. “An educated and successful person has no time for radical views or sending such messages to everyone. From education, you gain wealth and from wealth you serve Allah better by giving charity to the orphans, the poor and the widows. This is what Islam is all about, not doing harm to one another.”
Sheikh Hamed Al Raisi, a retired Islamic scholar at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said that parents have a bigger role at home in educating their children against extreme views.
“Unfortunately, parents now have very little time with their children. They don’t stay with them to teach them the basis and values of Islam. Children grow up with an intellectual void that is easily filled with radical views by fanatics,” Sheikh Hamed told The National.
“The frightening thing is that these fanatics don’t even need to make contact or be in the same country as our children. They do it through websites and the social media. It is not practical to monitor all websites or social media channels but it is practical to prepare children intellectually and that can start right at home.”
Information technology experts say the online information can influence the young in both the right and wrong ways.
“Young people have instant access to information. In religious matters, they can be swayed very easily to go to the right path or the destructive one. It is important we start putting them on the right track very early on,” said Rahaf Abu Aiman, an IT consultant.
Senior year school student Khalid Al Balushi, 17, said the internet was the only place he could find answers to his queries about religion.
“I need to know a few things about my religion,” he said. “My parents and teachers do not address some of these issues. For me it is easy to Google with my mobile and go through these websites to get the answers I am looking for.”
Updated: June 16, 2017 04:00 AM