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“Islam is a religion of peace, Islam does not tolerate wanton murder.” That was the message basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he wanted Americans to understand about his religion.
The outspoken sports star has come under fire by some after writing in "Time Magazine" earlier this month that the attack in France was not about religion, but “about money.”
“Knowing that these terrorist attacks are not about religion, we have to reach a point where we stop bringing Islam into these discussions. I know we aren’t there yet because much of the Western population doesn’t understand the Islamic religion,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” he explained further, “Knowledge will enable everybody to understand what exactly we're dealing with.” He blamed terrorists who “do not represent the teachings of Islam” for making it “impossible for real Muslims to be understood.”
He admitted that though leaders from all sides have attempted to explain that terrorist acts are carried out under the banner of a bastardized version of Islam, Islamophobia is still on the rise in the United States. But the cause of this may not be something American leaders or other Muslims can control.
“There's going to have to be change in countries where these people originate, where they have hope, where they have something to look forward to in their lives,” the former basketball player said. “Most of these people come from countries where there's no possible way for them to get ahead.”
He went on to say that even if people call on those who practice Islam to criticize terrorists, it won’t stop these violent groups because they have a “political agenda.” “They're using religion as a mask to act on their political motives and try to control people and cause all this mayhem,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“People have to understand that there are good Muslims that are on the side of what we understand to be the rule of law and just common sense and decency.”