Muslims need one spiritual leader

Nicholas G. Hahn III
The Detroit News

Ramadan was among the deadliest months in the Islamic calendar this year, but you wouldn’t know it by asking the Dearborn-based American Human Rights Council.

The Council encouraged Muslims to “practice extra caution” during Eid al-Fitr, the concluding feast of the month-long fast. “The unfortunate increase of anti-Muslim rhetoric and the few reported incidents targeting Muslims are alarming and mandate such precautionary safety measures,” the civil rights group warned.

But a handful of alleged petty insults and vandalisms should be the least of concerns for Muslims. Last month’s holy fast was meant to encourage deeper spiritual reflection on the teachings of Islam. Instead, jihadists murdered over 400 people across the globe.

Motor City Muslims might have been better advised to reflect on what they could do to ostracize jihadists in their own community.

Ahmad Musa Jibril is Dearborn’s own Anwar al-Awlaki, the imam who inspired Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers. Jebril’s online sermons are viewed thousands of times by jihadists in Syria and they inspire countless others in the West to take up arms against the United States.

Jeibril’s growing following, and some civil rights groups’ misplaced concern, is indicative of the crisis in Islam today.

The world’s second-largest religion has an authority problem. Many who might be unfamiliar with Islam remain confused why Jibril and his ilk are seemingly allowed to preach what some Muslims consider heresy without any consequence. Some Muslim leaders may condemn jihadism, but the theological buck stops nowhere.

Mecca could take a cue from Rome and appoint a pope of sorts. Muslims would have to go far back in their faith’s history to find a time when the faithful were under one spiritual authority, a khalifa.

But since Islamic violence has reached near-apocalyptic levels, peaceful Muslims should do something to save their faith before its too late.

Twitter: @NGHahn3