Student column: What we can learn from The Gambia

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Hardly is there a better example than the Gambia to debunk the myth that Islam is a violent religion. This is a country that is Muslim, peaceful and fervently pro-American—three words that never seem to go together in an age in which Islam as a whole is unfairly associated with radical extremism. A Senegalese marabout (Islamic teacher) told me that when centuries ago Muslim leaders spread their faith throughout West Africa, societies had to first give up any violent elements and embrace peace in order to adopt the religion. While this has mainly been achieved in West Africa, the task of the global Islamic community is to confront the Middle Eastern extremists who are undermining Islam, he said. But by misrepresenting Islam, our government’s foreign policy and the media are only impeding this crucial task.

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