Muslims Must Do More Than Distance Themselves From Terrorism

Jun 11, 2016

By Kacem El Ghazzali

Immediately after the November Paris attacks, my mother who lives in a small village in Morocco called me. She called to tell how sad she was for what happened in Paris, and asked me to pass on her condolences to my French friends. My mother is a Muslimah who prays five times a day. She did not call to justify what happened, or claim that the terror attacks had nothing to do with Islam. She just wanted to declare her solidarity with the victims.

At the end of our call, she told me about an imam in the village who incited young people to go fight with IS in Syria. I asked her what she thought of him. She answered, “I have called the police to investigate. This is how I fight terrorism.”

My mother’s call illustrates a key point for me. What I notice here in the west is a paradox: after each attack waged by militant Islamists, Muslims are asked to distance themselves from terrorism, and Muslim organizations do exactly that by sheer reflex. The mantra is repeated everywhere that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.

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14 comments on “Muslims Must Do More Than Distance Themselves From Terrorism

  • I think Muslims need to go a lot further than simply “distancing themselves from terrorists”. It’s a little like Donald Trump distancing himself from racists when his statements actually encourage racism in the first place.

    I remember the case of a poor woman stoned to death by a mob in Afghanistan for allegedly insulting the Koran. Most of the arguments defending her centered around the premise that she had not, in fact, insulted the Koran and was thus not deserving of her punishment. The implication being that if she had in fact committed this “crime” she would have deserved death.

    The murderous ideologies of terrorists do not spring up from a vacuum. In a world where muslim leaders and governments openly advocate the death penalty for blasphemy, homosexuality and apostasy it’s not difficult to see how the seeds of radicalism are nourished.

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  • This seems a reasonable ask doesn’t it? But when there are bullies at the gate, too big a gesture can have dire consequences as we are starting to see in some areas. A degree of sacrifice may be the cost of such an extra gesture. Given a degree of indifference to anything other than a career and a family we shouldn’t be too surprised at a self serving hypocrisy. We should not stall the drive for progress awaiting fulsome self criticism from followers of Islam. When it finally happens that a sufficient safe secularism is achieved amongst Muslims then I expect a progressively more rapid change will follow, facilitating itself.

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  • Stafford

    I admire your charitability Phil; I’m not sure I can emulate it.

    I simply don’t believe in evil or the supernatural power of a book. How can an educated rational people go into such hateful moral meltdown? If yet not all participating, with so little demur or outrage? And yet with the power of bullies at the gate the German people did…..

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  • Phil, when extremist minorities take over, the majority become irrelevant; I think weak individuals gravitate towards such groups as IS because it makes them feel powerful, and they think they can take revenge on their society for what they perceive as the injustices it’s heaped upon them.

    And it follows that the group leaders welcome them, because they know that the vulnerable and gullible are easily moulded to serve their purposes, because they too seek “revenge”, but on the entire World!

    But isn’t it perhaps understandable, that when someone has suffered the misfortune of having been born into an all encompassing sub-culture which has become a twenty first century anachronism, that they themselves might feel just a little bit out of place?

    And might it be that there are those within such a culture, who instead of embracing change themselves, would prefer that the rest of humanity come into line with them?

    And are they likely to come out and say as much? Or are they perhaps prepared to let the killing and intimidation get the message across for them?

    Fifty murdered in Orlando, and yet another “Martyr to the cause”!

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  • Sad that many people think that ALL Muslims know each other. Yeah, right, all billion of them communicate daily and don’t take the responsibility to do enough to keep those known members from becoming radical.
    That is exactly like blaming all Christians for not preventing a “known member” among them, Dylan Tin Roof, from murdering 9 black people in a church.
    Why don’t those Christians do more to denounce the bad apples within their flock?

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  • @7

    Why don’t those Christians do more to denounce the bad apples within their flock?

    Any religion that tells its’ followers God is offended by x, (where x can equal abortion, homosexuality, equality of women etc etc) runs the risk that certain of their more extreme adherents will take it upon themselves to commit violence in the belief they are doing God’s work. Islam comes in for the most criticism simply because Muslims commit more violence in the name of their God than any other faith, but this doesn’t spare Christians from taking the blame when they preach that gays will all burn in hell and some lunatic decides it’s up to him to hasten their journey there.

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  • @OP – My mother is a Muslimah who prays five times a day. She did not call to justify what happened, or claim that the terror attacks had nothing to do with Islam.

    The problem is that with indoctrinated core thought-habits, modern rational thinking and following secular rules can be impossible!

    Sharia rules the brain, and other requirements are dismissed or simply ignored! They are following the religious texts and Imams, so how can they see themselves as doing anything wrong??????

    If anything nasty happens, there is a knee-jerk “No True Scotsman” denial from the wider community! – probably accompanied by an “offended victimisation” posture!
    Malaysia’s first Islamic-compliant airline, Rayani Air, has been barred from flying for breaching regulations.

    The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said it was revoking the airline’s certification because of concerns over its safety audit and administration.

    Rayani Air launched last December offering only halal food, no alcohol and crew wearing modest clothing.

    It has two Boeing 737-400 planes in its fleet, each able to carry about 180 passengers, eight pilots and 50 crew.

    The DCA said on Monday that Rayani Air could no longer operate as a commercial airline.

    It follows a three month suspension after the airline failed to follow flight regulations. A safety audit was later conducted to assess its operations.

    Malaysia’s aviation commission said in a statement that the airline “had breached the conditions of its Air Service Licence (ASL) and lacks the financial and management capacity to continue operating as a commercial airline”.

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  • As a person who left Christianity 6 years ago, i think their are alot of good Christians and Muslims. Just as their are good in bad in every group. It is the writings they follow that are the real danger, they
    teach that anyone who does not follow their dogmas, or deny their natural sexuality, or make devotions to an Invisible Deity (Jesus save me.. etc etc), will burn in an alleged Hell forever. Basically If you don’t believe what we believe you deserve to be eventually tortured FOREVER …the very foundations of these kind of beliefs are a dangerous seed in the human mind. Case in point i looked at my fathers church notes last week and the pastor told them if you disagree with “Gods word” or question this alleged “God”s motivations, then you are under temptation and “sin”. In a nutshell he was telling his church you have no right to question the collection of writings called the Bible and if you do you are bad. Again chains on the intellect and subtly makes monsters out of those who wont follow blindly

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  • phil rimmer #4
    Jun 12, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I’ll admit its tough with breaking news like this-


    It seems there is another aspect as well:-

    An Islamic preacher who has said homosexuals should be put to death has left Australia.

    British-born Shia cleric Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar lectured near Orlando, Florida in April and was being widely quoted in the wake of Sunday’s killing.

    He was visiting Australia as a guest of Sydney’s Imam Husain Islamic Centre.

    Media reports on Wednesday said Sheikh Sekaleshfar left the country after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered a review of his visa.

    Australia’s immigration minister Peter Dutton said he had officially revoked Sheikh Sekaleshfar’s visa and that it would be “very difficult, if not impossible for him to return” to the country.

    But Mr Dutton defended his department against accusations that a visa for the sheik should never have been approved.

    ‘It’s difficult for the department to go through the Facebook or social media postings of millions of millions of people each year who seek visas,’ Mr Dutton told Sky News.

    Sheikh Sekaleshfar was born in Manchester, UK and currently lives in Iran.

    In April he delivered a sermon entitled How to Deal with the Phenomenon of Homosexuality at the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, Florida.

    There is no evidence that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, attended the lecture.

    During lectures, clips of which were posted online, the cleric has said the death penalty is justified for homosexuals in societies operating under Islamic laws.

    “Death is the sentence. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence,” he said during a 2013 lecture at the University of Michigan.

    The authorities in civilised countries, really need to get a grip on clipping the wings of these roaming preachers of hate and bigotry!

    Such people are not fit to be presented as respected examples of leaders, academics, or promoters of ethics!

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  • Hmm,

    Sheikh Sekaleshfar was born in Manchester, UK and currently lives in Iran.

    I reckon he must have gone down Canal street hoping for some action and probably didn’t get any!

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  • Meanwhile on issues involving women and minors:-

    Germany will not recognise polygamy or marriages involving minors, Justice Minister Heiko Maas has said

    “No-one who comes here has the right to put his cultural values or religious beliefs above our law,” he told Bild.

    In some Islamic countries, men are allowed to take up to four wives, but in Germany polygamy is banned by law.

    Concern about polygamy and underage marriage has risen recently, as Germany has been taking in record numbers of migrants, many from Muslim countries.

    The law in Germany is clear: no-one is allowed to be married to more than one person at a time, and that includes recent arrivals in the country.

    But in practice polygamous relationships are often quietly tolerated, the paper reports. For example, if a man dies, his inheritance may be distributed between his two wives.

    But Mr Maas wants to stop authorities turning a blind eye.

    “Everybody must abide by the law, no matter whether he has grown up here or has only just arrived,” he told the tabloid.

    This also applies to forced and underage marriages.

    “We cannot tolerate forced marriages, above all, if they affect under-age girls,” Mr Maas said.

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  • The placards in the OP photograph, state “Islam teaches harmony”!

    Unfortunately, – like other religions, Islam also teaches the irrationality of unquestioning acceptance of directions from authority figures and mental compartmentalisation, – so it can be “harmony” one day and “jihad”, the next when triggers are pulled!

    @OP – What I notice here in the west is a paradox: after each attack waged by militant Islamists, Muslims are asked to distance themselves from terrorism, and Muslim organizations do exactly that by sheer reflex. The mantra is repeated everywhere that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.

    The public face then switches back to harmony and denial, with expressions of astonishment, that those “nice harmony loving” relatives and fellow Muslims, would do such things! !

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