Saturday August 28 2010

Killing innocent people has no basis in Islamic scripture

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Nine years after the 9/11 bombing in the US, a proposed mosque and an Islamic centre near the spot where terrorists killed over 2,000 people has caused outrage among Jewish extremists. They claim such a project would lay waste to what amounts to a “graveyard”.

The American press recently quoted one of the opponents to the planned mosque project, whose son was killed in the 2001 bomb attacks, saying: “When I look over there and see a mosque, it’s going to hurt.”

In Germany, a mosque was closed recently on mere suspicion that members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group suspected to have been behind the 9/11 could have met there prior to the US attack in 2001.

These and many other unfortunate events, including the recent bomb attacks in Kampala that left more than 76 people dead, have defaced the nobility of Islamic faith for wrong reasons. Such events confirm the suspicion fabricated by some pundits to represent innocent Muslims as terrorists and mosques as terror training camps.

Islam forbids the taking of your own life which makes suicide bombing doubly criminal, being a crime for taking one’s life and for killing victims. On many occasion, I have laboured to enlighten some Christian friends that “terrorists are not Muslims; they are self-seekers hiding in Islamic faith. They distorted the theological basis for jihad and martyrdom to justify terrorism acts, yet Islam is a religion of peace and mosques remain Allah’s sacred outfits, whose function is worship, not terrorism.

The decency of Islamic faith has nothing to do with violence and killing innocent people in the name of religion is wrong. Islam frowns on unlawful killing of a human being. To underscore the sanctity of life, the Koran likens taking the life of one person without lawful authority to destroying a nation.

To show how the anti-Muslim crusaders have achieved something in defacing the Islamic faith, those against the mosque in the US, claim that the location will be offensive to families of victims of 9/11. This, again, shows how terrorists have made innocent Muslims suspects of terror attacks to the extent that in some places, mosques are erroneously seen as training encampments for jihadists.

Whatever the aim may be, any group that resorts to violence and targets innocent people, is wrong. Force can only be used in self defence but acts of violence aimed at innocent people may be regarded as terrorism and therefore, un-Islamic, sinful and wicked.

In the teachings of Prophet Muhammad under the morality of the Koran, there is no room for anger. Allah revealed that so long as people act in light of individual emotions, such as anger and egotistic vengeance, there will be corruption and chaos in the world.

On the contrary, Allah commands us to behave with a tolerant, peaceful and brotherly spirit. Killing innocent people in the name of religion has no basis in Islamic scripture and run counter to the teachings of the Holy Koran. It’s also true that mosques are places of worship and not terrorism.

Mr Mugerwa is a journalist