Most Muslims are strongly against terrorism and only a few individuals are committing such acts and trying to hijack Islam, which is a synonym of peace, Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal has said.
The Prince, one of the richest men on earth, said he believes that Islam has come under attack worldwide because of some bad groups within it, referring to the September 2001 deadly terror attacks on the United States.
“I am a very transparent person and I believe that Islam has been attacked not because of the religion itself but because there have been problems with the behavior of certain individual Muslims or small groups within our religion,” he told the London-based Middle East magazine.
He said his latest project to set up an Islamic culture centre at the Louvre Museum in Paris is intended to promote the real spirit of Islam after funding similar projects at Georgetown, Harvard and other Western universities.
“Clearly the new initiative at the Louvre will feature Islamic culture and history and tell the while world that Islam is not at all what you see portrayed by the few who have attempted to hijack and kidnap it,” he said.
“It is fully-fledged religion that covers all areas of life—personal, public, even material and legal…Islam is synonymous with peace…it is not synonymous with those acts that have attempted to ruin its international image.”
Prince Al Waleed said he was convinced that 99.99 per cent of the mainstream Muslims advocate peace and are strongly opposed to terrorism.
“Look for example at what happened recently in Toulouse (France)……the actions of one terrorist, working with an accomplice turned the clock back on all the good and important work that has been done in recent years to build bridges of peace between religions,” he said.
“I feel some of the problems we have in the Moslem world have to be faced head one…I have established a number of Islamic centres worldwide to help nurture a spirit of cooperation and understanding between peoples of the world’s major religions…these centres help in bridging the gap between Eastern and Western societies under the banner of academics.”
The prince criticized some Muslims who fail to acknowledge their mistakes and try to defend the religion, describing them as an ostrich hiding its head.
“I have to defend my religion when it is attacked and while I do believe that Islamphobia is crazy, I feel that sometimes we, in the Muslim world, do not help the situation…in order to advance our causes when errors or mistakes are made by Muslims, we have a responsibility to be honest with the public,” he said.
“We have a duty to have these errors rectified rather than being like an ostrich and hiding my head in the sand.”