Leader Like Jinnah Needed Today

Washington, DC: Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who synthesized Islamic values with modernity, is the kind of leader that the Muslim countries need today, according to Dr Akbar Ahmed, Professor at the American University.
In an interview with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the professor said that Quaid-i-Azam believed in democracy and wanted to run Pakistan according to the constitution. This was in the 1940s: Jinnah was dressed in Western suits and spoke English, yet he was elected and adored by millions of Muslims who looked up to him as a symbol of integrity, courage and principle. Ahmed said: “Muslim religious parties are very much ascendant. The exclusivist model is on the rise. But where are the mystics and the pacifists? Where are the modernists? Where are the Jinnahs of our time?
“Who wins in the future will depend largely on the USA and its political leaders. If they continue what they are doing now, then the success of the religious party is guaranteed, because the blunders being made by the US in its foreign policy ensure the emergence and consolidation of the exclusivist groups. The continuation of grievances in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and now Lebanon expands the breeding ground for terrorists to recruit more people to their cause.”
He continued: “If the US is able to understand this equation, maybe it will change its policy and help Islam regain its balance, which will calm the Muslim world and, therefore, the rest of the world. If that does not happen, if we see the continuation of the clash of civilizations theory and its implementation, we will almost certainly see the emergence and consolidation of the exclusionists. Then, we will all be in for a violent, troublesome and uncertain future in the 21st century.”

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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