Rethinking Islamic Education in Facing the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century

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Rosnani Hashim



The Muslim ummah, as a world community, faces many challenges at the
threshold of the new century. The fateful event of 9/11 has revealed yet
another facet of the problems plaguing Muslim society: the existence of
radical, or what some media have labeled “militant,” Muslim groups.
Despite the Muslim world’s condemnation of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the
United States considered itself the victim and thus launched its “war against
terrorism” against the alleged perpetrators: the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Iraq,
which was alleged to be building weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)
and assisting al-Qaeda, became the second target. Iran would have become
the immediate third target if the international community had supported the
Bush administration’s unilateral declaration of war against Iraq. But it did
not, for the allegations could not be proven.
Unfortunately, this new American policy has not helped to curb aggression
or terrorism; rather, it has caused radical groups to run amok and
indulge in even more acts of terrorism in Israel, Palestine, Indonesia, Turkey,
Spain, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 tragedy has caused the West to hold
more negative images of Muslims and Islam and has made life more difficult
for Muslims living in the West. In response, anti-Americanism has
grown throughout the world, particularly in the Muslim world.1
September 11 seemed to provide certain Muslim governments with the
license to combat terrorism on the local front more rigorously. This action
heightened the conflicts between local Muslims and the ruling governments,
as in the case of General Musharraf of Pakistan, who decided to cooperate
with Washington in its “war against terrorism” by providing bases for
American forces. After 9/11, Egypt, Tunisia, and Malaysia all received
repeated praise from Washington for their experience and seriousness in
combating terrorism and joining the alliance against it, despite their track
record on, for example, human rights violations vis-à-vis the ruling elites’ ...

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