Osama bin Laden is THE biggest terrorist of our time: Indian Muslim leader

JOHANNESBURG - Osama bin Laden was the biggest terrorist of our time because the methods he employed were not consistent with the teachings of Prophet Mohammed, an Indian Muslim religious leader told a gathering here Sunday.

“(Bin Laden) is hiding away rather than confronting the enemies of Islam, as had been the case with the Prophet Mohammed and his followers,” Hazrat Syed Muhammad Jilani Ashraf of the Kichochar-based Spiritual Foundation said at the launch of the new African headquarters of the Foundation.

Jilani was recounting an experience with a group of Muslim students in an unnamed European country, wearing bin Laden t-shirts as they chanted slogans comparing the Al Qaeda leader believed to be in hiding in Afghanistan with leaders of early Islam.

“I asked them whether they had studied the life the people they were mentioning, such as Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet, who left a safe enclave to confront Yazid, an opponent of Islam, and sacrificed his life in the process.

“I asked them if they understood the true meaning of jihaad, which is certainly compulsory on every Muslim, but not in the form that it is being waged by some purporting to represent Islam today.

“Jihaad has always been conditional, such as when the Prophet ordered his troops who went to war, that they should not interfere in the way of life in other countries, including prohibiting the destruction of churches and other religious and historic buildings.

Jilani said the Prophet had espoused jihaad as a way of removing bad elements in a society for the good of the entire community, much in the way that a surgeon would lift a scalpel to a patient: “The doctor is not the enemy of the patient, but is removing something that is causing harm to the patient so that he may live a better life.”

“If (the Prophet) was here today he would never have given an order such as the bombing of the twin towers in the US and other acts which kill innocent people.”

Jilani said the aim of jihaad in Islam was to win over the hearts of all people irrespective of race, creed or colour through peaceful means to instil in them the message of peace that was at the core of Islamic belief.

“This is the spark that the Spiritual Foundation has lit now here as well and God willing, it is something that can engulf the whole world with peace,” Jilani concluded as he explained that the new office would serve the needs of all in distress, irrespective of religious affiliation.