NEW ORLEANS – World renowned Muslim scholar has been working for years to fight radicalization in his Irving community, correcting misunderstandings and providing clarity from the Noble Qur’an
“It’s difficult, because you’re getting hit from both sides,” Omar Suleiman, a religious scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center, told WFAA.com on Wednesday, March 23.
“On one side, you’re being told you’re not doing enough. On the other, you’re being told you’re a secret government agent… you’re a sellout, an apostate. You’re literally hit by the extremists on both sides.”
Born in the US, Suleiman is a New Orleans native, loyal Saints fan, and religious scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center who is well known worldwide on the internet.
“Yeah, what I always tell people is that we’re putting out the fire before it starts,” Suleiman said.
Fighting extremism, Suleiman offers correct meaning of the verses used by extremists to recruit.
“There’s a burden in our community to make sure no one in our community is going to jeopardize their own life, or jeopardize the family, or jeopardize society as a whole because they were misled by some crazy person over YouTube. So we have to make sure that message is clear in our community,” Suleiman explained.
Clarifying misunderstood verses of the Qur’an, Suleiman has drawn a huge number of followers on social media, estimated by 975,000 likes on Facebook, more than 218,000 subscribers on his YouTube account and 140,000 on Twitter.
However, the imam noted that hateful rhetoric in presidential primaries was counterproductive which requires more work from moderates.
“[Ted] Cruz is doing what politicians do at times, which is being reckless for the sake of appealing to peoples’ irrational fears for temporary political gain,” Suleiman said.
“There have been more people that have been killed by their own furniture in the last decade than by Muslim extremists. There have been almost 300 mass shootings in 2015, and only two were done by Muslims,” he added.