“As Islamic extremists gain power and rule, human rights abuses including oppression of women, homosexuals, and religious minorities, as well as governmental tyranny, sectarian warfare, and bigotry inherent in Sharia law come to the fore,” Ispahani said.
Muslims should promote “modern pluralistic values” and “human rights” as established by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, she added.
“Right now there is no clear ideological campaign to fight ISIS and to fight Islamism.”
“We have all heard ‘Where are the Muslim voices?’” that are speaking out against ISIS, she noted, adding that “here we are, and we have others like us.”
While some have wrongly blamed all Muslims for Islamist terrorism, members of the D.C. panel said, others have wrongly failed to make any mention of Islam in condemning such acts.
“Too much deflection has been happening on this issue,” said Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Muslims must acknowledge the fact that radical Islam has fueled human rights abuses and must push for a reformation that involves a “separation of mosque and state” with religious pluralism and respect for human rights, he said.
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When Islamist extremists commit acts of violence, Muslims must resist the temptation to simply say the extremists “are not Muslims,” emphasized Naser Khader, a member of the Parliament in Denmark of the Conservative People’s Party. Simply denying that the extremists are true believers excuses the moderates from having to advocate for reform in Islam, he explained.
“We cannot say that the Islamic State are not Muslims. That is what they call themselves,” he said. ISIS has a state built on a “jihadist vision of Islam,” he said, murdering and enslaving other people “with the Koran in their hands.”
“If we the Muslims do not face the problem of violence that links to Islam in our time, how will we ever succeed in ripping Islam out of the hands of these destructive powers and lift our religion into the 21st century?” he asked.