You may be asking yourself where practicing Muslims stand when it comes to the recent attacks we’ve seen in Brussels, Turkey and beyond. If the perpetrators were Muslims and did it in the name of Islam, then surely their actions are representative of the views of the rest of the Muslims?
Yes, like Daesh (ISIS) I do believe in one God, in Muhammad as the final messenger of God and we believe in the same holy book. I would even go as far as saying they follow what they perceive to be Islamic teachings, but that is where I draw the line. If you are not a Muslim, carry on reading; you may come to understand why those who believe in and practice the true fundamentals of Islam are not the same as those who believe in using terrorism as a means to an end.
What do groups like the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), ETA, IRA and others have in common? Terrorism. None of them are Muslim or Islamic by nature, but they have been as dangerous as any other recent terrorist organisations causing havoc and destruction.
Do we as individuals blame the white Christians of the US for the actions of the KKK, or do we blame the Irish Catholics for the horrendous acts of terrorism caused by IRA, or do we blame the Spanish for the years of bloodshed caused by the separatist movement ETA? No we do not, and rightly so.
So why has it become so easy for non-Muslims to believe that the acts of terrorist organisations like Al-Qaede or Daesh are representative of some hidden Islamic agenda to take over the world?
Let’s be frank my dear reader, let’s not be swayed by the naturally sad emotions we feel at this time. Let us not look to despair and hatred as a means to comfort ourselves and fall into a trap that is being planned for us by those who orchestrate these terrorist acts and by those who support them.
More Muslims have been killed by the same terrorist groups than Europeans citizens. The World Health Organisations estimated that in Iraq alone, 151,000 civilians had been killed between 2003 to 2008 from violent deaths. 
It’s important that people are not tricked into thinking that the terrorist organisations represent Muslims or Islam by any stretch of the imagination. If you read the official publication of Daesh called Dabiq, you will notice that most Muslim scholars and politicians in the magazine are referred to as apostates, because they have rejected Daesh and its ideology.
Within the house of Islam, there are serious issues that need to be tackled. It is true that Daesh bases their ideology on some scholars who have advocated many of the ideologies they follow and use. This is why we as Muslims first and foremost, must tackle the extreme ideologies taught by our scholars who interpreted Islam many hundreds of years after Prophet Muhammad passed away. By identifying this problem, then accepting that we have responsibility to address it, then formulating ways to counter it, is the first step to countering extremism.
We must not accept and teach blindly the teachings of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyah, Muhammad ibn Abdel Wahhab and scholars like them any longer. There works need to be reevaluated and their great deficiencies need to be highlighted. We as Muslims must not be afraid to question previous scholars no matter how saintly we have made them to ourselves.
“O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.” Quran 49:6
Revaluation about what was taught by previous scholars should be rolled out in all our religious schools and universities, in all our religious institutions and our Friday sermons. Our youth must be taught Islam without biases and with an open mind, making them ready and thirsty for dialogue not violence.
The problem will not stop at our Sunday schools alone. The second phase of such a counter movement against extreme ideology is to tackle it at its source. It sadness me to say this, and I am not one to cause division amongst my Muslim brothers and sisters. Even the US congress knows that the Saudi petro dollar from the 1970s has been utilised on an industrial scale to generate extreme scholars trained in Saudi Arabia and sent forth around the world, to spread the extreme ideology that we have been witnessing in the last 20 years. 
Our responsibility as civilians of democratically governed countries is to utilise the greatest weapon we have, our votes. We must raise with our representatives in parliaments across Europe and North America, the complex relationship that exists between our governments and the governments of extremism exporting countries like Saudi Arabia. How can one month, the French President give the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and another month claim that extremism must be fought at all levels. The hypocrisy must be highlighted, political pressure must be placed on politicians who support extremist governments like Saudi, and if need be they must be voted out of office, until we have politicians who will stand up and value the views of the electorates.
This is a slow process but it is a needed one, and it must start with us Muslims first. Prophet Muhammad sent his cousin Jaffar and a group of Muslims to Abyssinia (Ethiopia today) to escape persecution from the Meccan leaders. The Muslims so impressed King Najashi of Abyssinia that he permitted them to stay in his land as long as they wished. Then Prophet Muhammad impressed the citizens of the state of Medina so much that they invited him to be their supreme judge over their disputing factions. The Muslims came and brought the Medina community into harmony, stability and eventual prosperity. This should be the role model for us Muslims, we are not mere dust in the air that is blown from one direction to another depending on the direction of the wind. We are the wind, we shall unite and direct which way our futures will go. To do that we must learn our faith, with an open heart and with love for our fellow man, and we must turn that into strategic action. By the grace of our Creator.
My prayers goes out to all the families of the victims from the Brussels attack along with the attacks that have taken place in Iraq, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, France and many other parts of the world.
 Federation of American Scientists: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL32499.pdf