Correcting the Stereotyped Image of the West about Islam Correcting the Stereotyped Image of the West about Islam
By: Prof. Marzouk Awlad Abdullah
Professor of Islamic Studies and Researcher at the University of Amsterdam
 
   
     
 
The target of these researches is to unveil many Islamic and Christian religious issues and other ones, in addition to presenting the religions, and Islam in particular, as a religion that firmly believes in dialogue and coexistence. Islam must be absolved of the labels of “terrorizing” and “intimidation” and presented as being earnestly bent on spreading values of justice, freedom and equality not seeking for clashes or eliminating its opponents. Not to mention that Islam has gone through a terrible experience with others who notoriously labeled it as “terrorist” and accordingly arousing unsavory lashes against it and mounting the crescendo of Islamophobia.
For a long time Islam has been mercilessly pummeled, today, it is high time to exonerate such a negative attitude especially in an epoch claimed to be calling for rapprochement and harmony among civilizations. However, Islamophobia is still towering and accelerating scaffold by the press, discourses, political stances and artistic achievements. Such a mainstream calls for an urgent display for the truth by underpinning facts that stimulate reasoning and it would functionally generate a vision and knowledge-based stances void of impacts, pre-judgments and prejudices towards the other. Therefore, the comparative academic researches of religions are considered a source for clear perceptions about religions' stances toward some local and international issues. Thus, religions positively contribute to convergence among peoples and nations and building channels of communication and love. 
My contribution comes through the Islamic Christian Committee of Dialogue in the Council of Churches in the Netherlands to correct, even partially, the image of Islam in the Netherlands and the West. Not to mention that this contribution aims to embark on the issue of the use of violence and wars through appealing to the rules of  the Holy Quran, the Prophetic Sunnah and sayings of Muslim Jurists to clarify the true image of Islam in this regard and deconstruct the stereotyped image of Islam and using violence and wars as well.
In a spirit of moving from rhetoric to action, the Council of Churches in the Netherlands issued a book that includes articles from Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Indian perspectives about "How Religions View Violence". It is worth mentioning that these Articles do not defend specific stances of a specific religion, but they clarify the issue from the point of view of specific religions and let the reader reason to get the truth. Furthermore, these articles aim to create a constructive dialogue between the followers of different religions and the Dutch society with all its Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other segments of the society.
In my research of using violence and war in Islam (Jihad) or the just war in Islam, I intended to consolidate this issue from the Shari’ah perspective, particularly because of the scenes of violence that we watch in the Dutch and international news bulletins and TV programs which are allegedly ascribed to Islam and Muslims; these images are being heeded by the European societies and arouse many negative reactions against Islam the thing which impairs the welfare relations between Muslims and others, albeit Islam is innocent of all these allegations, which can be clearly detected in Quranic verses, Prophetic Hadiths and some Islamic accidents through history.
In my study, I tried to ask questions about using violence. What does Islam mean by the just war? When could the just war begin? Or what are the causes of the just war in Islam? Who has the right to declare this war? If the war (Jihad) begins, what are the controls Muslims shall be committed to? Through this study I intended to take great strides in clarifying the issue of using violence as viewed by the Westerners, or Jihad or the just war as viewed by Islam and other religions from the authentic Islamic sources and the sayings of earlier and modern jurists.