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Muslims need more self-reflection

Mustafa Kishwar Kommentarbild App
Kishwar Mustafa
July 4, 2016

In today's world, many Muslim nations reel from extremism and violence, and suffer from acute political crises. As Muslims mark the end of Ramadan by celebrating Eid, DW's Kishwar Mustafa offers some self-introspection.

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Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Muslims all over the world are about to celebrate Eid, which marks the end of the fasting-month of Ramadan. The Muslim holy month teaches tolerance, peace, self-control, respect for life, and care for the needy and the poor. However, many Muslim nations today are far from these Islamic ideals and principles.

The "Islamic State" bombing in Baghdad on Sunday, July 3, which killed over 115 people, is a stark reminder of the terrorist threat in Muslim societies.

The attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on June 28, the Taliban onslaught in Kabul on June 30 and the Dhaka cafe siege on July 2 show that some Muslims have betrayed the core Islamic values that promote tolerance and peace.

Muslims constitute about one-fourth of the global population, and this sadly includes a large segment of the world's poor. Sectarian conflicts are rife in the Muslim world, particularly in the Middle East. It is unfortunate that political instability, terrorism, hunger, corruption, sectarianism, ethnic conflicts and violence against women define the present state of the Muslim world.

A recent United Nations report warned that 3.6 million Iraqi children are at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction, and forced recruitment into armed groups. Up to 4.8 million people in Southern Sudan will be facing severe food shortages over the coming months and the risk of a hunger catastrophe continues, rights groups say.

Mustafa Kishwar Kommentarbild App
DW's Kishwar Mustafa

Over 13 million Syrians need immediate humanitarian assistance and about five million have been forced to flee their country.

A call for self-assessment and accountability

The situation in Pakistan and Bangladesh is not very different. Terrorist attacks and an exponential rise in extremism have shaken the two South Asian countries.

But the ruling elites of the Muslim nations are least concerned about the harsh realities most people are facing in their countries. They have no regard for democracy and the people's desires.

In this grim scenario, fasting and then celebrating Eid have become meaningless rituals. At the same time, the recent violent acts demonstrate political and moral degradation on the part of a segment of Muslims.

Occasions like Ramadan and Eid call for self-assessment and accountability. Not too long ago, the Muslim nations were the torchbearers of culture, tolerance and pluralism. Now they have become synonymous with extremism and militancy. Even the holy month of Ramadan cannot stop terrorists from killing innocent people.

I hope the occasion of Eid this year will be more than a ritual for Muslims. I also hope it will offer an opportunity to make amends.

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