Monday, August 15, 2005

Saudi Businessman Fights to Remove Misconceptions about Islam

Saudi Businessman Fights to Remove Misconceptions about Islam

--- Polishing the image of Islam in general and Islamic banking in particular has become the obsession of Saudi businessman Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States and the unabated acts of terrorism in many capitals of the world have all smeared the image of Islam - especially among Western countries.

'Regrettably, many Western and even Arab media have done further damage to Islam by labeling groups that perpetrated terrorist acts as Muslim fundamentalists or Muslim extremists while in reality these groups are nothing more than khawarej (deviants),' Sheikh Kamel explained.

He added that those who committed these 'heinous' crimes against innocent people in the West and the Middle East have nothing to do with Islamic teaching because this religion calls for tolerance and respect of all human beings.

'Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been fighting terrorism since long before September 11 and the Egyptian government warned the U.S. that some Arab political groups that operated in the West were nothing but terrorist groups.'

After attacks around the world, Islamic groups that sought shelter in the West because of their political views have come under tight scrutiny from governments and security agencies.

To make matters worse, some Islamic banks and financial institutions were prosecuted by the United States and Europe on the grounds that they have been funding terrorist activities.

A number of Islamic banks were banned from operating in the West and instructions were given to close the accounts of any person or group dealing with these suspicious banks.

Against this backdrop, Sheikh Kamel decided to organize two important meetings this month in Sharm al-Sheikh, the scene of the latest terrorist bombing that killed dozens of people, to try to dissipate the stereotypes about Islam and show its true"

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