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Amjer, India - While almost certain not to be reported in the corporate main stream media, nearly 70,000 Islamic clerics issued a religious fatwa condemning terrorism, from their annual meeting in Ajmer, India during the Urs festival. The festival is a yearly gathering of Muslim clerics held to commemorate the death of Moinuddin Chishti, a Sufi Islamic cleric and scholar.

Additionally, the religious leaders asked the media to stop referring to the terrorist groups as Muslim, with the idea being that true believers of Islam do not support extremist perversions of the religion.

Since the Paris attacks, the Western media and political landscape has been rife with bigotry, hate and xenophobia, with Donald Trump leading the charge by calling for a halt to all Muslim immigration into the United States, basing admittance on a religious litmus test.

Muslims across the world have suffered at the hands of the Islamic State and their warped interpretation of Islam. In fact, they’re hated in almost every country with large Muslim population, as a recent Pew Research poll has shown.

With so many Muslims across the world opposed to the Islamic State, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that such a large number of Islamic leaders came forward to repudiate the extremist interpretations of Islam.

According to a report in the Times of India:

On the last day of Urs-e-Razvi of Dargah Aala Hazrat, nearly 70,000 clerics came together and passed a fatwa against terrorist organizations, including IS, Taliban and al-Qaida. These are "not Islamic organizations," the clerics said to a sea of followers, adding that the members of these outfits were "not Muslims".

Noori said he would like to request the media to stop calling terrorist groups “Muslim organizations”.

Hazrat Subhan Raza Khan, chairperson of the influential Dargah Aala Hazrat, said that following the Paris attacks, it was decided that a fatwa should be passed at the Urs this year, so the message went out loud and clear that the Muslim community condemns terrorism.

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Throughout history, religion has been used to justify depravity and barbarity. Not simply by non-state actors, such as terrorists either, but as a state-sponsored means of domination and control.

One of the prime historical examples of religious perversion would be the Inquisition by the Catholic Church, which exiled, tortured, killed and forced the conversion of millions across the globe. Religion has been used to justify slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, lynchings by the KKK, homophobia, and a slew of other reprehensible actions over the course of U.S. history. In Germany, Adolf Hilter used religion to stoke fear, hate and division as a means of consolidating political power and as a means of subjugating the masses.

Across the globe, many Islamic groups are fighting back against a perception that Islam is an extremist religion. One of the worlds largest Islamic groups, Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, which claims membership of over 50 million, has come forward to rebuke the extremist ideology followed by the Islamic State; Wahhabism. This is the same ideology adhered to and exported globally by Saudi Arabia, a close strategic ally of the U.S.

According to a report in The Huffington Post:

And in Indonesia, home of the world's largest Muslim population, a massive anti-extremism movement is underway.

Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, is the largest independent Islamic organization in the world, with 50 million members. Part Sunni religious body, part political party and part charity, it was founded nearly 90 years ago, in 1926, as a response to another Sunni movement, Wahabbism.

Wahhabism is the ultra-conservative reform movement based in Saudi Arabia that advocates for puritanical laws from the time of Islam's origins. It rejects the modern notion of "religion as a purely private activity" and the separation of church and state. The Islamic State is highly committed to Wahhabi principles, using its religious textbooks and embracing its hardline tradition of killing unbelievers.

Rather than allowing corporate media and politicians to sway public opinion, by fear-mongering against Islam, individuals must reject these broad assertions and labels by understanding that the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject these extremist doctrines.

When good people are demonized, simply due to their religious beliefs, it only serves to strengthen the religious extremists’ cause. In the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has been published on Ben Swann's Truth in Media, Truth-Out, Raw Story, MintPress News, as well as many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.