Islam and Terror
Reader comment on item: How the West Could Lose
Submitted by moderate Muslim American (United States), Mar 22, 2007 at 17:43
Here is my opinion of Islam and terror, once and for all.
First of all I would like to extend my sympathies to any and all families of people who have lost their lives in an attack perpetrated by people claiming to be Muslims. I would like them to know that this is not Islam, that this is against Islam, and that I would do anything I could to stop this menace if it was up to me. But it isnt. It is not caused by Muslim Americans, all but a small, small few value this country greatly and would never harm it or shelter those who would cause harm to it.
Point 1- What is Islam?
Islam is a religion, not a person, not a country, not a race, but merely a set of rules governing how one acts. Islam cannot be adequately represented by any nation, for any nation can be led astray, and the true Islam is the Islam practiced by Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers. This is not to demean previous followers of Islam, Moses, Jesus, or Adam, but it was not called Islam when they practiced it and they had not been given the complete final message from Allah to mankind as the prophet Muhammad had been.
Point 2- Radicalism?
Islam is not, not, not a radical religion. As in any religion, it is possible to twist and destroy the meanings of verses to condone an agenda. The main agenda I am talking about it is the agenda of Al Qaeda and other such terror groups to bring harm to those who they see as agressors or occupiers, as well as the citizens of those countries. In order to justfiy this, they took bits and pieces of the Quran and misconstrued them until they had propaganda to further their cause. They ignored, or subverted any verses which pertained to peace or justice, or the rules of war. In this way, they must be recognized as not fighting a Muslim battle, but fighting a personal battle, and this needs to be condemned.
Point 3- Violence
Terrorism, an act which is intended in purpose to bring fear to others, is an un Islamic action. It goes against everything taught in the Quran.
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf after the 9/11 terror attacks.
"Why would anyone do what the hijackers did?
Religious zealots of any creed are defeated people who lash out in desperation, and they often do horrific things. And if these people indeed are Arabs, Muslims, they're obviously very sick people and I can't even look at it in religious terms. It's politics, tragic politics. There's no Islamic justification for any of it. It's like some misguided Irish using Catholicism as an excuse for blowing up English people.
They're not martyrs, it's as simple as that.
You can't kill innocent people. There's no Islamic declaration of war against the United States. I think every Muslim country except Afghanistan has an embassy in this country. And in Islam, a country where you have embassies is not considered a belligerent country.
What role should American Muslims have in opposing this brand of violent Islam?
I think that the Muslims -- and I really feel this strongly -- have to reject the discourse of anger. Because there is a lot of anger in the Muslim communities around the world about the oppressive conditions that many Muslims find themselves in. But we have to reject the discourse of anger and we have to move to a higher moral ground, recognizing that the desire to blame others leads to anger and eventually to wrath, neither of which are rungs on a spiritual ladder to God. It's times like these that we really need to become introspective.
The fact that there are any Muslims -- no matter how statistically insignificant their numbers -- who consider these acts to be religious acts is in and of itself shocking. And therefore we as Muslims have to ask the question, "How is it that our religious leadership has failed to reach these people with the true message of Islam?" Because the acts of these criminals have indicted an entire religion in the hearts and minds of millions. Ultimately, this is a result of the bankruptcy of these type of people who claim to be adherents to the Islamic religion. These people are so bankrupt that all they have to offer is destruction.
Why do some people regard the hijackers as martyrs?
That's an abomination. These are mass murderers, pure and simple. It's like Christians in this country who blow up abortion clinics or kill abortion doctors. I don't think anyone in the Christian community, except a very extreme fringe, would condone that as an acceptable Christian response. In the same way, there's no Muslim who understands his religion at all who would condone this. One of the worst crimes in Islam is brigandry -- highway robbery, or today we'd say armed robbery -- because it disrupts the sense of well-being and security among civilians.
Suicide bombers have cited a Koranic verse that says, "Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord."
That is meant for people who are legitimately defending the lands of Islam or fighting under legitimate state authority against a tyrannical leader. There is no vigilantism in Islam. Muslims believe in the authority of government.
Imam Malik, an early Islamic legal authority, said that 60 years of oppression under an unjust ruler is better than one hour of anarchy.
Then why is there such strong support in parts of the world for the attacks?
Because we're dealing in an age of ignorance and an age of anomie, the loss of social order. And people are very confused and they're impoverished. What Americans are feeling now, this has been business as usual for Lebanese people, Palestinian people, Bosnian people.
What about Israeli people?
Certainly the fear element is there for Israeli people -- that's true, and the terror that they've felt. And there are still a lot of Jewish people alive who remember the fear and terror of what happened in Europe, so that's not far from people's memories.
It seems at some point, the cycles of violence have to stop. It's a type of insanity, especially when we're dealing with nuclear power. People are saying that this was an attack on civilization -- and that is exactly the point. And I think the question we all have to ask is whether indiscriminate retaliation is going to help preserve civilization.
The perpetrators of this and, really, all acts of terror are people who hate too much. There's a verse in the Koran that says do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Being just is closer to piety. The evil of wrath is that justice and mercy are lost.
How do you explain Palestinians and others celebrating the attacks in the streets?
When you see ignorant people in the streets, rejoicing -- the Prophet condemned it. It's rejoicing at the calamities of your enemies, and Islam prohibits that. They do have a lot of anger toward America, because America produces much of Israel's military hardware and so many American tax dollars go to support Israel. You have a lot of animosity in the Arab world. But the vast majority of Arabs are horrified by what's happened. There's animosity in the Muslim world toward American foreign policy. This is the unfortunate price of power and its exercise in the world, that you incur the resentment and animosity of a lot of people. But the majority of Muslims who I know don't have anger toward individuals or the American people."
END OF EXCERPT
I have read many statements akin to this and I think that this pretty much sums up the thought of the Muslim community in America on the subject of terror. And I would like to reiterate the thoughts of Yusuf when he said they are mass murderers, plain and simple. They are. And Islam needs to find them, root them out, so that people can see the beauty in side of it.
And with that small bit of lyric from the U2 song "City of Blinding Lights"
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (2097) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes