Terrorism in the name of Islam

Some Muslims are terrorists but it’s unfair for Islam to be tagged the faith of terrorists; there have been terrorists of faiths like Catholicism but this has not had their faith blacklisted, writes Ahmed Wetaka

Umar Farouk Mutallab, a Nigerian national, was recently arrested for a failed Christmas day suicide attack on a US passenger airline. The suspect is linked to Alqaeda. After the failed attack, the media hyped the suspect’s faith - Islam, implying that Mutallab could have been motivated by Islam to blow up the US plane. On one of the international news channels, someone made a statement that has been repeated all the time to link Islam to terrorism - “All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.”
This statement amounts to treason. It means that all terrorist attacks in the world are perpetuated by Muslims, whose religion teaches peace and tolerance.


I wouldn’t want to dispute the fact that there are several Muslims who have been involved in acts of terror in the name of Islam, but it is unfair to condemn the entire community of law abiding Muslims for the actions of a few misguided ones. There are over 1.5 billion Muslims the world over; only a handful of them are engaged in acts of terror, but whose actions are always blamed on the entire Muslim community.


Terrorism is a worldwide scourge that has reared its head under diverse conditions and in countries such as Germany, Japan, Italy, Argentina and Greece. It was endemic, occasional, individual, nationalist or governmental in nature and primarily targeted local populations. Adolph Hitler of Germany annihilated up to seven million Jews but I am not sure many people know his true faith.


Hitler, a Roman Catholic, was certain that his attacks on the Jews were ordained by God. “What we have to fight for is the necessary security for the existence and increase of our race and people, the subsistence of its children and the maintenance of our racial stock unmixed, the freedom and independence of the fatherland; so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the creator”. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 8.


Hitler was only disowned by the church later, but his actions have never been linked to his Roman Catholic faith. Mussolini and Stalin also killed several people but little is known about their faith because they were held accountable for their action. Closer home, Joseph Kony has been fighting allegedly to restore the 10 commandments of God, but little is mentioned about his faith, yet it is a well known fact that Kony was an altar boy in the church.


Islam means peace acquired through the submission to the will of Allah completely and forbids the taking of an innocent life. Quran 6:151-”Take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.”


Islam considers all life forms as sacred. In war, Islam does allow the indiscriminate killing of people. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned, such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are, “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman. Do not kill the monks in monasteries” and, “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship.”


Some of the Muslims engaging in acts of terror for selfish reasons choose to interpret the verses of the Koran out of context. The most abused verse is Qn 9:5 - “But when the sacred months are passed away, kill the idolaters wherever ye may find them; and take them, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every place of observation; but if they repent, and are steadfast in prayer, and give alms, then let them go their way; verily, God is forgiving and merciful.”
It is true that what is happening in the world in the name of Islam is baffling. However, the world has also been very selective on condemning terrorism. As the world condemns Osama Bin Laden for terror, we should also condemn Israel for its activities in Palestine and America in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no justification whatsoever for a super power or not to drop bombs on civilians and kill innocent people.


We should condemn those individuals for their actions. Islam preaches peace and those following it must remain peaceful.

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