Islam and its holy phrase “Allahu akbar" have been hijacked by radical terrorists who do not represent the world's fastest-growing faith, a Saudi princess told a gathering of Muslims this week in Dubai. United Arab Emirates. Her remarks came days after the phrase was used during a terror attack in Germany and by law enforcement officials in an anti-terror training operation in the United Kingdom.
“There were 73 million searches on Twitter about Islam or Muslims between May 2015 and May 2016, illustrating that people are interested in find out about the religion," Princess Ameerah Al Taweel said Wednesday during the Arab Media Forum. “However, the first five pages on Google show images of people blowing things up while shouting the simple phrase that we use every day, and therefore it has become tainted."
The phrase, meaning "God is great," has become increasingly associated with terrorism after radical Muslims have uttered the words while carrying out high-profile violent crimes. In January, a Moroccan man wearing a fake suicide belt in northern Paris shouted "Allahu akbar" before threatening officers outside a police station. In February, a burka-clad nanny beheaded a 4-year-old girl and carried the severed head through the streets of Moscow while allegedly shouting the phrase. More recently, a German man yelled "Allahu akbar" before stabbing a person to death and slashing three others at a railway station near Munich this week, while police in England were criticized for using the phrase at an anti-terror training exercise Monday in Manchester.
The number of Muslims is projected to nearly equal the number of Christians around the world by 2050 thanks to the religion's relatively young following, which has a high rate of reproduction, a Pew Research Center report found last year.
Muslims can help shape the global discussion about their faith, Al Taweel said. There are about 280 million social media accounts in the Arab world across different platforms, representing a significant opportunity for Muslims to demonstrate how “Allahu akbar" is used in a peaceful way, she said. But she explained that Muslims shouldn't feel the need to defend Islam, the National reported.
“A study has shown that only 12 percent of people have a negative view of Islam; 83 percent are neutral. So why do we defend against a small minority?" she asked.