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Nov. 26 2009 - 2:15 am | 565 views | 2 recommendations | 32 comments

Muslims Should Raise the Other Finger

During the salat, or prayer, Muslims raise their index finger to bear witness to the oneness of God. In America today, with all the calls for Muslims to condemn every little act of violence committed in the name of their religion, Muslims should start raising up the other finger. The middle one.

There is no need for one Muslim to condemn the crimes of another. Collective responsibility cannot, and should not, be accepted. Where one accepts collective responsibility one opens the door to collective punishment. Are Muslims individuals? Or are they one singular marionette that pirouettes each time its string is pulled?

One of the most egregious acts of kowtowing to the “massa” occurred recently in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings. At Huffington Post, Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Salam al-Maryati wrote an article directed to Muslim-Americans, extolling them to “amplify our Muslim American identity.” No thanks. The only thing I’ll amplify is the length of my middle finger. A law-abiding American-Muslim has no need to do anything, one way or the other, when someone with a Muslim sounding name goes off the rail. The reason for this abstention-from-condemnation is not because “Christians don’t do it” or “Jews don’t do it.” It is nothing communal. Rather, it has to do with individual dignity, and individual accountability. We are all, each one of us, responsible for our actions, and liable for our mistakes. The ambit of our accountability cannot be allowed to extend beyond that. Why are the boundaries between one Muslim and another blurred and the individualities fused together? Muslims are not inkblots.

I have been against the notion of Muslims having to condemn this or that for years now, but previously my tone was restrained as I felt that calm persuasion was the right way to go about presenting this position. Not any more. Next time someone asks me to tell them why x or y Muslim murderer is evil I will bear witness in ways that are rated R.

Now in the name of Allah I’m going to go slaughter a turkey.

Ali Eteraz is the author of a work of prose that may or may not suck.


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    Now it is in the hands of godless lawyers

    who flip the law off….

    Off on a tangent, why does Obama think one health care plan, his, should fit all Americans….Obama sees all americans as inkblots

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    You are correct that demanding condemnations of Muslims is grouping, stereotyping. However, by the same token, in today’s increasingly globalized world, where Muslims have protested (sometimes violently)the portrayal of Prophet Muhamed in caricatures – it isn’t necessarilly strange that condemnations would be sought from Muslims for individual acts commited against Americans. If we think about this from a globalized majority group/subordinate group perspective – perhaps we’d understand that there is a battle for the majority status. In that case fears of general populations are exploited with calls for condemnations from each other. It may not be civil or productive, but the issue needs to be looked at from a different perspective.

    To some extent, Muslim organizations needed to dispell fears of American citizens who were understandably fearful after 9/11. These organizations understood this, but tended to take your approach with worrying about the stereotyping and came short in the condemnations. Each instance, the response has been better and certainly there are many examples of condemnations where in the near future it is necessary to concentrate on the stereotyping of Muslims.

    Lemme ask you – what about the stereotyping of Americans by Muslims? Shouldn’t there be as much of an effort to give the finger to that? I mean – how much can one society care about a society of half naked women and sex-obsessed men with no moral values? And just to add support to your argument – should Americans be asked to clothe their women and practice sex segregation to prove they are a society of morals and values?

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    I disagree. Muslims need to condemn violence that is committed in the name of Allah (a utterly mythical being like God, Zeus, Thor) just as Christians need to apologize for violence done in the name of their god or Jesus.

    If Muslims, Jews, Christians would just grow up, get rid of this idiotic, irrational, and murderous religious nonsense, the world would be a far, far better place.

    Religion in and of itself has down through the centuries directly led to murder, genocide and other crimes against humanity. Religion and Nationalism together are products of lies and spectacularly wrong-headed mythologies and together are a continuing blot on the Earth and the sould of humanity.

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    Muslims who have not committed the crime should not apologise for any act committed by a lunatic in name of Allah, Koran and Islam. Apologising or disclaiming that acts as incorrect assumes that there is a guilt assigned to Muslims who have not committed those acts or they are in some way accessories to those event. THEY ARE NOT! There is no guilt associated. It is a case of individual actus reus and individual mens rea of the individuals who have committed the act. By arguing or suggesting that other muslims should apologise there is an assumption that other muslims are guilty, and there exist a mens rea which can be assigned to each and every muslim because of acts of few. It is assuming that all the Muslims have a common mens rea, and few act on it. There is no such thing.

    The protest by muslims in some countries are not responsibility of each and every muslim, as they do not represent pre-position of every muslim. Not every muslim protested against the cartoons, or burnt Rushidie’s book, or hold the view that America is evil or any other belief. The same way not all Christians think homosexuality is a sin, women should not be priest or abortion is illegal. These are not common positions of each individual of that faith. These are not even common positions of the people belonging to same church or people living in the same city or same neighborhood or same house. These are all individual beliefs and people can claim them in whatever name they want. It does not allow us to prosecute or charge as guilty everyone by way of association, just because they share one common label.

    There should be no group condemnation of Americans for the same reason. Some, and admittedly not all, critics of American policy will make it very clear that: “We do not hate or even dislike American people, but we hate/dislike/disagree with American policies.” Are does who denounce all Americans and require them to apologise for action of every American wrong? ABSOLUTELY!

    If the question is are two wrong going to make a right? The answer is NO.

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    @leland61 – right on the mark! The faithful should take cue from atheists who have without apprehension denounced the violence commited upon people in the name of communism and their own lack of morals and values. Growing-up is crucial to world peace.

    @jaded – there has been a spiked identity crisis going on amongst American Muslims. Studies have shown that American Muslims contribute to stereotyping themselves in a positive manner in order to construct their own identity. In that manner, positive stereotyping only validates stereotyping altogether – therefore the negative stereotypes will continue to exist.

    Denouncing violent acts commited in the name of the religion is crucial, not so much for inter-group relations, but for the psychological impacts that negative stereotypes have on American Muslims. Negative stereotypes often become self-fullfilling prophecies but at the very least lead to identity crisis and the attempted formation of new identities.

    Regarding violent protests, certainly this isn’t representative of all Muslims. However, it does call to question why Muslims can organize so well in order to protest and strongly denounce acts that are oppressive or insulting to them but are then insulted that societies would expect Muslims to strongly demonstrate through actions their strong disapproval of heinous acts commited in the name of their religion. Of course, there has been strong denunciation in actions after 9/11 through mass vigils all over the Muslim world – and most people are unaware of this because positive news doesn’t get broadcast as well.

    Eventually, it will become necessary for Muslim organizations to quit condeming these acts because it will eventually become damaging and the action legitimizes extreme ideologies where not making statements from within the Muslim community helps marginalize these acts. Certainly, it would be more productive for actions to take place at the mosque level where extreme ideologies are heavilly discouraged. Unfortunately, this will probably require expelling members of the community (which if I recall is not Islamically appropriate) or it will require collaboration with the appropriate local authorities in order to call attention to actions or behaviors that might be suspicious which is often hard to assess.

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    @blondwithglasses – We will have to agree to disagree. I am not going to apologise for anyone else’s idiotic act. It is not my act, I am not guilty of it and nor am I responsible for it. If you expect me to apologise, maybe you should be the one apologizing as you are defaming me. You are accusing me of an act without any proof or link. Frankly, in this situation, if there is anyone who deserves any apology are the Muslims who are accused of an act they have not committed. I am not going to hold my breath for an apology for an offence committed against me – defamation and accusation for a crime I have not committed.

    As for Muslims organizing themselves in respect of things that offend them. Firstly, Muslims who organised themselves against cartoons or Rushudie or other such stupidity are the Muslims who subscribe to some aspect of Islamist agenda. They may not subscribe to all of it but they do subscribe to some of it. Therefore, when you are talking about Muslims protesting against those wretched cartoons, you are talking about same bunch of lunatics and not rest of the Muslims. This is a complete absurd position. I am not apologizing for them. I am not responsible for them protesting for cartoons. It is not my position or issue.

    As a matter of fact, Muslims are part of number of other issues. There are Muslims who have taken parts in protest for millennium debt, Iraq war, pro/anti abortion, housing rights, women rights, LGBT issues, Dafur abuse. The same way Muslims have been part of art organizations; raise funds for local charities, volunteer at the local hospic etc. Muslims are not homogenous group. They all have separate identities and separate issues that concerned them. There are also other Muslims who do not care about anything or any issue. All they care about is going to work, making sure their kids go to schools, they go on vacation and watch TV. There are others who party every night and get drunk. There are others who spend their lives in a library and others who spend their lives in front of a TV/computer. There are also Muslims who commit horrendous crimes.

    Muslims, like members of any faith, race, creed, gender, orientation or any other group, have different identities and different issues which concern them. Just because I am a Muslim does not mean you can persecute me as the guilty party or require me to prove my innocence. This implies the same philosophy used by so many others – Hitler against non-Aryans, Uganda against people of non Black decent, South Africa against Blacks and Arab countries against non-Arabs.

    In any event, as I said in the beginning, we will have to agree to disagree. You are entitled to your view, and I am to mine.

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      We’re not disagreeing on the grouping and stereotyping of Muslims. We actually agree on that.

      I’m just sayin that condemming, which is different from apologizing, has its’ place within the American Muslim community beyond – beyond – beyond (can I stress that enough?) giving in to the demands of the dominant group so that they may feel better or safer around the mass marketed stereotypical Muslim terrorists walking around America (heavy sarcasm in describing Muslims).

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    The idea that people bear no responsibility for the actions of other members of the groups they belong to is actually pretty weird. Of course Jews should condemn acts of terrorism committed in the name of the Jewish religion, which is why I would happily devote a few minutes to talking about my deep loathing for Baruch Goldstein, Meir Kahane and so forth. Same goes for Christians. Yes, it’s tedious and humiliating to be expected to issue these kinds of ritual condemnations every time some idiot who shares your religion, political convictions, or nationality does something horrible. But one thing you learn as you grow up is that being a responsible adult with various social affiliations entails a certain amount of tedium and humiliation.

    I mean, I definitely understand where you’re coming from emotionally. But the thing is, “collective responsibility”…well, we actually are collectively responsible for each other, and the more so for the people who belong to the groups we’re in, even if the affiliations are tenuous.

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    Extremely disappointing attitude here.

    Let me ask you then, is there a need for anyone to condemn any crime at all? ALL crimes should be condemned regardless of who has committed it and regardless of whether they are committed in the name of religious or secular ideals and regardless of how big or small it is. The reason for this is quite simple: crimes should be condemned for the sake of humanity. Indeed it is the civic, moral and collective human responsibility of all law abiding citizens.

    I agree that collective responsibility should not be accepted. Nobody should be persecuted or die for the crimes of another. However, condemning a crime just because you happen to be the same religion as the perpetrator does not automatically mean that you are assuming responsibility for the crime. Are you saying that Muslims should only condemn crimes committed by non-Muslims in case they are held accountable? Or is it the case that only big acts of violence should be condemned by Muslims, but not bother with “every little act of violence”.

    Your logic is highly flawed when you say that “where one accepts collective responsibility one opens the door to collective punishment” as you seem to presuppose that when a person condemns a crime they are by consequence assuming responsibility for it! You are confusing two issues here: the first which is the freedom to condemn a crime and the second, responsibility and accountability for the crime. The first does not prelude to the second.

    You further make the point “Are Muslims individuals? Or are they one singular marionette that pirouettes each time its string is pulled?”, yet fail to realise how such an image succeeds to be dominant. Muslims will continue to be “inkblots” not because they are inkblots, but because they are represented as inkblots. So they will continue to be inkblots until they use the space to represent themselves. That is why “the boundaries between one Muslim and another blurred and the individualities fused”. And is for this reason that I believe you have thrown the baby out with the bathwater here.

    When Edward Said wrote his monumental book (Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient, 1978) he was not saying that Muslims or the “Orient” need to represented by the West because they cannot do so themselves. He was saying that the Orient is represented because it is unable to represent itself to the West. Today, law abiding American Muslims, and indeed all law abiding Muslim citizens in the West are in a privileged position that they have opportunities to “speak for themselves” instead of having a CNN, ABC, or BBC correspondent in Kabul, Baghdad, Islamabad, Tehran or wherever to “interpret”, “analyse” and “make sense of” what Muslims are saying.

    You argue that law abiding American-Muslim citizens don’t need to do anything because “it has to do with individual dignity, and individual accountability”. I’m sorry to hear that you lose your human dignity if you condemn violence, correct ignorant views about Islam and I did not realise that you will end up being accountable in Guantanamo Bay.

    I do not apologise on behalf of any violence committed by another Muslim, or any person for that matter, but I choose to continue to condemn every “little act” of violence committed in the name of Islam. I will do so on an individual basis because it is my individual civic and moral responsibility as a human, as a law abiding citizen and indeed as a Muslim. Nobody is holding me accountable or responsible when I do so and neither do I lose my dignity.

    One final point – imitating the likes of Rushdie with juxtapositions of sacred Muslim rituals such as the prayer with vulgar imagery is not humorous, but completely distasteful and vulgar. Muslim writers don’t need to do this in order to gain cheap fame but of course they are free to do so if they want. So I will not issue fatwas, burn flags or smash the local MacDonalds’ windows.

    Ignorance of Muslim inkblots and Islam will not cured by indifference and silence nor by rude gestures.

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    We are all, each one of us, responsible for our actions, and liable for our mistakes. The ambit of our accountability cannot be allowed to extend beyond that
    Dear brother,and readers
    Islam is a religion whose goal is to give a meaningful purpose to our life on this earth. It creates harmony between ourselves, our Creator and fellow human beings.
    The prophet Mohamed is the best model of peace,tolerance.Not only did he ensure for non muslims the freedom to practice their religious rituals and worship but they were given the right to solve their legal problems in their own community courts according to their own laws as well.
    Indeed , When the Prophet invited a delegation from Najran to become Muslim, they refused. Nonetheless, they signed a treaty . The relevant part of the treaty is as follows:

    “To the Christians of Najran and the neighboring territories, the security of Allah and the pledge of His Prophet are extended for their lives, their religion and their property – to those present as well as those absent and others besides; There shall be no interference with the practice of their faith or their observance; nor any change in their rights or privileges. No bishop shall be removed from his bishopric, nor any monk from his monastery, nor any priest from his priesthood…”

    When the message of Islam had been conveyed to mankind the duty of the Prophet was completed; There fore , he was not responsible for the deeds of the people to whom he transmitted the message. Every man is responsible for his own actions, mistakes, and crimes.

    Islam is the religion of peace: its meaning is peace; one of Allah’s Names is Peace; the daily greetings of Muslims and angels are peace; Paradise is the abode of peace, the adjective “Muslim” means Peaceful. Peace is the nature, the meaning, the emblem and the objective of Islam.If some radical groups deviate from the true teaching of islam and kill innocent or civilians in the name of islam, they represent themselves and not opinion of the rulers, scholars, decision makers and the common folk.
    All divine religions in general and Islam in particular assert the sanctity of human life and strongly prohibit aggression against it. All divine religions clearly state that the blood of all human beings is sacred and unlawful to shed .Therefore
    The Islamic Shari`ah has nothing to do with the acts of those few deviated people who follow its teachings but change them from their proper contexts.

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    Dear readers
    One should distinguish between a Muslim and Al khawariji.To understand the meaning of the two is important to remove the misconception about islam and muslims .As i stated in my previous comment that islam means peace.
    In Islam, faith and good works go hand-in-hand. A mere verbal declaration of faith is not enough, for belief in Allah and his messanger make obedience to Him a duty.

    This is a very important principle revealed in many verses in the Qur’an. God has commanded people to perform good deeds, to serve eagerly and firmly for the benefit of Islam, to act in compliance with the good morals described in the Qur’an, to be generous, steadfast, tolerant, truthful, and faithful.Indeed, a true muslim is not cruel nor merciless;moreover, he can not bring hram to any one.He or she puts smile on the lips of others regradless to their beliefs, race,or country.A true muslim cares for the feeling of his or her non muslim neighbour and exchanges visit with him or her.A true muslim is the one who puts this Quranic verse into practice, seeking only reward from God.Indeed, a true muslim should learn this verse which says,(God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from dealing kindly and justly with them. Indeed, God loves those who act justly. God only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – (forbids) that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (Quran 60:8-9)

    A true muslim is the one who follows the teaching of his prophet and the tolerance of his successor and the good doers.
    Turning to the pages of history, we find a marvelous example of how a Muslim ruler expected his governors to treat the Jewish
    Once, a dispute arouse between Ali bin Ali Talib, when he was the Caliph, and a Jewish man who went to Judge Shuray al-Kindi. Shuray tells the details of what happened:

    “Ali found he was missing a suit of mail, so he went back to Kufa and found it in the hands of a Jewish man who was selling it in the market. He said, ‘O Jew! That suit of mail is mine! I did not give it away or sell it!’

    The Jew responded ‘It is mine. It is in my possession.’

    Ali said, ‘We will have the judge rule on this for us.’

    So they came to me and Ali sat next to me and said, ‘That suit of mail is mine; I did not give it away or sell it.’

    The Jew sat in front of me and said, ‘That is my suit of mail. It is in my possession.’

    I asked, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, do you have any proof?’

    ‘Yes,’ Ali said. ‘My son Hasan and Qanbar can testify that it is my suit of mail.’

    I said, ‘Commander of the Faithful, the testimony of a son in his father’s favor is not admissible in court.’

    Ali exclaimed, ‘How Perfect is God! You cannot accept the testimony of a man who has been promised Paradise? I heard the Messenger of God saying that Hasan and Husain are the princes of the youth in Paradise.’[1]

    The Jewish man said, ‘The Commander of the Faithful takes me before his own judge and the judge rules in my favor against him! I bear witness that no one deserves worship except God and that Muhammad is His Messenger [the Jewish man accepted Islam], and that the suit of armor is yours, Commander of the Faithful. You dropped it at night and I found it.

    Given you this example,i would like to move to the term Khawarij which is a deviant sect Al-Khawarij, divided among themselves,
    They are sometimes referred to as “the Defectors” [Mariqa], because of their defection [muruq] from the religion [din]. They were actually described by the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and give him peace) as people who would swerve away from the religion, just as the [hunter's] arrow may swerve away from the animal target, and who would not come back to the fold. Such indeed are they, for they have swerved away from the religion and from Islam. They have separated themselves off from the religious community [milla], breaking loose from it and from the loyal congregation [jama'a]. They have gone astray from the level course of right guidance and from the true path [sabil].

    Al-Khawarij are the people whom the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam, mentioned when he said, what translated means, “A group will go astray during a time of division between Muslims. The closest among the adversaries (the side of Ali bin Abi Talib and the side of Mu’awiyah) to the Truth will kill them (the deviant group, Al-Khawarij).”
    Also, the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam, said regarding a man who once accused him of injustice, “From among the offspring of this man there will rise a people who will read the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats (meaning it will not enter their hearts). They will kill Muslims and spare Idol-worshippers. They will deviate from Islam (as fast and clean) as an arrow pierces the game. If I live to witness their appearance, I will kill them as the people of ‘Aad (whom Allah utterly destroyed and annihilated because of their disbelief) were killed.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim].

    Al khwarij have withdrawn their allegiance from the ruling authority ], and they have unsheathed the sword against the rightful leaders [a'imma], whose blood they consider it permissible to shed, and whose property they consider it lawful to confiscate. They have branded all who oppose them as unbelievers [kaffaru man khalafahum]. For example, Jamaat ul-Muslimeen in pakistan who is founded by Syed Masood Ahmad in the 1960s require every member to pledge his/her allegiance (baiy’ah in Arabic) to their current leader.They consider every other Muslim to be unbeliever, and consider themselves to be the only Muslims in the world. An accusation which can be supported by many statements from Jamaat-ul-Muslimeen’s website such as: “To leave Jamaat-ul-Muslimeen is to leave Islam”.There are others who kill mercilessly innocent civilians.They represent themselves and not the view of the rulers, decision makers and common folk.They legitimise the bombing, maiming and killing of Muslims and non muslims.
    They do not follow in the footsteps of anyone, except those who created these innovations, which are based upon incorrect application of takfir. i.e. the Khawarij.
    We as Muslims must not kill civilians, because in Islam, we are forbidden to do it: “…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…(Noble Quran 5:32)”
    What do u know about the prophet mohamed,

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    So Ali Eteraz is angry that he is asked to condemn the actions of other Muslims with a more extreme world view than him. Very well. Then I raise the middle finger every time a Muslim asks me not to condemn Islam in toto rather than certain attitudes within Islam, or to condemn the Crusades, or the history of Christianity with regard to other religions; why should I make such a distinction, when Ali Eteraz does not.

    Happy Finger.


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    Islam is a law of peace and a religion of mercy.
    The word Islam is itself derived from the word peace (i.e. salaam). And Muslim is the best description of those who believe in this religion:

    ‘It is the religion of your father Abraham. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger be a witness over you and you be a witness over mankind!’

    (Surat-al-Hajj (22), ayah 78)

    The essence of this religion is peaceful submission to the Lord of the worlds:

    ‘Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follow Allah’s Religion of Islamic monotheism) and he is a good-doer, then his reward is with the Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’

    (Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 112)

    ‘When his Lord said to him, “Submit (ie. Be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself to the Lord of the worlds.”’

    (Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 131)

    ‘”And we were ordered to submit to the Lord of the worlds”’

    (Surat-al-An’aam (6), ayah 71)

    Even the greetings between Muslims is “May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.” Prayer itself is concluded with the announcement of peace – once to the right, once to the left and once to the front if there is an Imam in front – as if to greet his brothers after he had left them during the brief moments that he turned completely to Allah.

    Furthermore the revelation of the Qur’an brought with it the angels of peace and the night in which it was revealed became a night of peace:

    ‘Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the night of decree is. The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decree, Peace! until the appearance of dawn.’

    (Surat-al-Qadr (97), ayahs 1-5)

    The servant greets his Lord with no better greeting than the greeting of peace:

    ‘Their greeting on the day they shall meet Him will be: Peace. And He will prepare for them a generous reward.’

    (Surat-al-Ahzaab (33), ayah 44)

    The Angels will welcome the righteous into paradise with peace:

    ‘And the angels shall enter unto them from every gate (saying): “Peace be unto you for that you have persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!”’

    (Surat-ar-Ra’d (13), 23-24)

    Paradise is itself a place of peace:

    ‘For them will be the home of peace (paradise) with their Lord. And He will be their Helper and Protector because of what they used to do.’

    (Surat-al-An’aam (6), ayah 127)

    ‘Allah calls to the home of peace and guides whom He wills to a Straight path.’

    (Surat-Yunus (10), ayah 25)

    Allah, the High, the Blessed, has named Himself “Peace”:

    ‘He is Allah other than Whom there is none (that has the right to be worshipped) the King, the Holy, the Peace…’

    (Surat-al-Hashr (59), ayah 23)

    Of course the Muslim would not hesitate to answer this call to peace, and will never reject it.

    ‘But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and put your trust in Allah. Verily, he is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.’

    (Surat-al-Anfal (8), ayah 62)

    ‘And say not to he who seeks to make peace with you, “you are not a believer”. Seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life. There are many more profits with Allah.’

    (Surat-an-Nisaa’ (4), ayah 94)

    No religious law or social system has encouraged the establishment of peace in the same way that Islam has done, for Islam has ordered the practise of this great virtue through respect and self-restraint even at the most testing of times such as Hajj (pilgrimage). During this sacred time, a p

    Islam is a Religion of Mercy

    Mercy is the companion of peace in the salutation of Muslims.
    The Messenger of Islam is a Mercy to the worlds.
    And the slogan of Islam, repeated in every utterance and action is
    “In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.”

    The behaviour between the believers is one of patience and mercy:

    ‘Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to piety and compassion.’

    (Surat-al-Balad (90), ayah 17)

    The verses of the Qur’an and sayings and practices of Muhammad (PBUH.) exemplify the high position of love and mercy.

    For example, the gates of paradise were opened, and Allah’s forgiveness and appreciation of Allah was bestowed upon a man who gave water to a dog overcome with thirst. Muslim and others narrate that Abu Hurairah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH.) said:

    ‘While a man was walking he became very thirsty due to the intense heat of the day. To his relief he found a well into which he quickly climbed down to get some water. After he had satisfied his thirst and come back out of the well he found a dog so thirsty that it was eating the earth in an attempt to quench its thirst. He said to himself: “Thirst has overwhelmed this dog to the same extent that it had done me.” So he re-entered the well, filled his slipper and held it with his teeth until he got to the top of the well, where he immediately gave it to the dog to drink from. Allah (the exalted) thanked the man for what he had done and forgave him. One of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH.) said: “Is there reward to be gained from being compassionate to the animals?”. The Prophet (PBUH.) said: “In every living being there is a reward to be gained”’

    Long before any animal rights organisations were founded in the west, compassion towards animals was, and will always be, a characteristic of Islam and the commandment of Muhammad (PBUH.) to every Muslim. Abu Hurairah (RA) said that the Prophet (PBUH.) said:

    ‘Do not use the backs of your camels as pulpits, for Allah ordained them to take you to places you would only otherwise reach with great suffering, and created the earth for you, so on it carry out your business.’ Narrated by Abu Dawood.

    Abdul-Rahman Ibn Abdullah (RA) relates that his father, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

    ‘While we were on a journey with the Messenger (PBUH.) we saw a Pochard (a type of duck) with two of its chicks. When we took away the chicks the mother started fighting for them back. When the Prophet came and saw what was happening he said: “Who frightened this bird by taking away its chicks? Return its chicks to it immediately”. He also noticed that an ant village had been burnt, about which he asked: “Who burnt this?”, we said: “It was us!”, he said: “It is not for anyone to burn with fire except the Creator of the fire (Allah)”’ Also narrated by Abu-Dawood

    Ibn Al-Haakim relates, regarding the life of Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (the fifth Khalifah of Islam) that he prohibited the riding of horses except for a need, and wrote to Hiyaan, his governor in Egypt, that he had received news that some caravan camels in Egypt were used to carry up to one thousand pounds in weight at a time. He warned Hiyaan that if he (Hiyaan) received his letter, he should not allow a camel to carry more than six hundred pounds. The Fustaat (an ancient village south of Cairo) was named so because during the conquest of Egypt by ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas (RA) a dove built a nest at the top of his tent (Fustaat). When the time to leave the city came, he left the tent exactly where it was so as not to disturb the resident dove. People started building around this tent eventually leading to the growth of the city of Fustaat.

    All this is but a small example of the mercy of Islam that can be found within the hearts of the believers. For Islam is indeed a religion of mercy and peace.

    The prophet Muhammad was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He was the complete example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Qur’an: “Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Al-A`raf: 199)

    He always repelled evil with good, for, in his view, an antidote was better than poison. He believed and practiced the precept that love could foil hatred and aggression could be won over by forgiveness. He overcame the ignorance of the people with the knowledge of Islam, and the folly and evil of the people with his kind and forgiving treatment. With his forgiveness, he freed people from the bondage of sin and crime, and also made them great friends of Islam. He was an exact image of the following verse of the Qur’an: “Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend.” (Fussilat: 34)

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    Having quotted some verses of the Quran that speak about peace not i have selected two treaties between muslim and the christains and jews.
    These two treaties are the best example of islam tolerance and mercy.Non muslims were free to practice the rituals of their religion and their churches and temples were preserved. They enjoyed autonomy in that they were subject to the religious laws of the scholars and judges.

    Not only does Islam demand non muslims freedom to practice religion, but also that they be treated justly as any other fellow human. Warning against any abuse of non-Muslims in an Islamic society, the Prophet stated:

    “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud)

    The most important provisions of the treaty were as follows:

    1. The Jews of the tribe of ‘Awf were to be one community with the believers. The Jews would profess their religion and the Muslims theirs.

    2. The Jews would be responsible for their expenditure, and the Muslims for theirs.

    3. If attacked by a third party, each would come to the assistance of the other.

    4. Each party would hold counsel with the other. Mutual relations would be founded on righteousness; sin was totally excluded.

    5. Neither group would commit sins to the prejudice of the other.

    6. The wronged party would be aided.

    7. The Jews would contribute to the cost of any war, so long as they were fighting alongside the believers.

    8. Al-Madeenah would remain sacred and inviolable for all who would join this treaty.

    9. If any disagreement were to arise between the signatories of this treaty, then Allah the All-High and His Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) would settle the dispute.

    10. The signatories to this treaty would boycott Quraysh commercially; they would also abstain from extending any support to them.

    11. Each would contribute to defending Al-Madeenah, in case of a foreign attack, in its respective area.

    12. This treaty would not hinder either party from seeking lawful revenge.

    The following is the pact of Najran.Najran which was the biggest centre of Christianity in Arabia is a district of north Yemen. There was a very splendid Cathedral which the Christians regarded as their Kaaba. Large estate attached to the Cathedrals was a source of big income. When the people of Najran received the letter of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), they sent a delegation to the Prophet (S.A.W.), which studied the conditions and had discussions. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), invited them to a Mubahila (Invocation of Allah’s Curse an the party which is in the wrong) and asked them to pray to Allah along with their kith and kin, to send His Curse on the liars. The delegation did not accept the challenge lest they should be destroyed and agreed to conclude a pact.

    . The lives of the people of Najran and its surrounding area, their religion, their land, property, cattle and those of them who are present or absent, their messengers and their places of worship are under the protection of Allah and guardianship of His Prophet.Their present state shall neither be interfered with, nor their rights meddled with, nor their idols deformed. No Usqu (Bishop) Rahib or Waqa, shall be removed from his office. The intention being that no change in whatever state every one is; shall be made (status quo shall be maintained).

    Neither the people shall be punished for any past crime or murder, nor shall they be compelled to do military service. Neither shall Ushr be imposed on them nor any army shall enter their area.
    If any one of the people of Najran demands his rights, justice shall be done between the plaintiff and respondent. Neither oppression shall be allowed to be perpetrated on them, nor shall they be permitted to oppress any one.

    Whoever from the people of Najran takes . No one from the people of Najran shall be implicated in the crime of someone else.

    Whatever has been written in this pact, Allah and Muhammad His Prophet (S.A.W.) are guarantors for it, unless there is an order from Allah, in this connection, and as long as the people of Najran remain faithful and adhere to the conditions which have been made for them, except that some one compels them to do otherwise.

    another example of how Islam gives regard to human dignity in the following example. A famous story illustrates the degree to which the caliphs of early Islam protected the dignity of non-Muslims. Amr ibn al-As was the governor of Egypt. One of his sons beat up a Coptic Christian with a whip, saying, ‘I am the son of a nobleman!” The Copt went to Umar ibn al-Khattab, the Muslim caliph who resided in the city of Medina, and lodged a complaint. These are the details as related by Anas ibn Malik, the personal servant of the Prophet in his lifetime:

    “We were sitting with Umar ibn al-Khattab when an Egyptian came in and said, ‘Commander of the Faithful, I come to you as a refugee.’ So, Umar asked him about his problem and he answered, Amr had a custom of letting his horses run free in Egypt. One day, I came by riding my mare. When I passed by a group of people, they looked at me. Muhammad, the son of Amr got up and came to me, saying, ‘I swear by the Lord of the Kaaba, this is my mare!’ I responded, ‘I swear by the Lord of the Kaaba, the mare is mine!’ He came up to me and began beating me with a whip, saying, ‘You may take her, because I am the son of a nobleman (meaning I am more generous than you).’ The incident got to Amr, who feared that I might come to you, so he put me in jail. I escaped, and here I am before you.”

    Anas continued:

    “I swear by God, the only response Umar made was to tell the Egyptian to take a seat. Then, Umar wrote a letter to Amr, saying, ‘When this letter reaches you, come and bring me your son, Muhammad.’ Then he told the Egyptian to stay in Medina until he was told Amr has arrived. When Amr received the note, he called his son and asked him, ‘Did you commit a crime?’ His son stated he has not. Amr asked, ‘Then why is Umar writing about you?’ They both went to Umar.”

    Anas narrates the incident further:

    “I swear by God, we were sitting with Umar, and Amr arrived wearing the clothes of common people. Umar looked around for the son, and saw him standing behind his father (to appear less conspicuous). Umar asked, ‘Where is the Egyptian?’ and he responded, ‘Here I am!’ Umar told him, ‘Here is the whip. Take it and beat the son of the nobleman.’ So he took it and beat him vigorously, while Umar said over and over, ‘Beat the son of the nobleman.’ We did not let him stop until we were satisfied he had beaten him enough. Then, Umar said, ‘Now you must take it and hit me on my bald head. This all happened to you because of my power over you.’ The Egyptian responded, ‘I am satisfied and my anger has cooled.’ Umar told him, ‘If you had beaten me, I would not have stopped you until you had wished to. And you, Amr, since when have you made the people your slaves? They were born free.’ Amr began to apologize, telling him, ‘I did not know that this is what happened.’ So, Umar said turned back to the Egyptian, telling him, ‘You may go, and be guided. If anything untoward happens to you, write to me.
    It is worthy to mention that islam prohibit kiling innocent civilians or to terrorise.Those who commit this greatest sin represent themselves and are far from the teaching of the prophet Mohamed and his succesors and those who follow their steps.
    The Muslim caliphs used to order their military leaders who went on military campaigns to take steps to guarantee this matter. The first example is the command of Abu Bakr to Usamah bin Zayd:

    ‘I command you to do ten things: kill no woman, no child, nor an elderly person; do not cut down fruit trees, or vandalize homes, or wound a sheep or camel except if you must eat it; do not drown a palm tree, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly; and you will pass by people who have devoted themselves to monastery life; leave them alone to their devotions.’[7]

    The second example is the treaty of Umar ibn al-Khattab with the people of Iliya of Jerusalem:

    ‘This is the security given by the slave of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, to the people of Iliya: they are guaranteed the security if their persons, possessions, churches, crucifixes, and everyone within, whether sick or in good health, as well as everyone in their community. Their churches will not be occupied or demolished, nor will anything be taken from them: neither furnishings nor crucifixes or money. They will not be forced away from their religion, or harmed because of it. They will not be occupied by the Jewish settlers in Iliya

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    As a Muslim i dennounce any terrorist act against civilians and innocents.There is no verse on Quran nor the prophet Mohamed saying that support this crime and this biggest major sin . This so called sheikh who writes against muslims with his emotional speeches and rhetoric and has no firm basis of the Quran and Sunnah, should know that the prophet Mohamed forbids killing innocents by saying
    Do not kill any man far advanced in years, nor a child, a baby, or a woman.

    In the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, declared the principle that people’s lives, property, and honor are inviolable until the Day of Judgment. This ruling is not restricted to Muslims; rather, it includes non-Muslims .
    According to another hadith, the Prophet once said, “By God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, with whom his neighbors are not secure.”
    In the holy QURAN,God says
    [Quran 49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.

    Therefore, the religion of Islam (Submission), advocates freedom, peace and mutual agreement and admonishes aggression. The following verses make it very clear.

    [Quran 5:87] …and do not aggress; GOD dislikes the aggressors.

    [Quran: 7:199] …You shall resort to pardon, advocate tolerance, and disregard the ignorant.

    The relations of Muslims (Submitters) with others are based primarily on peace, mutual respect and trust. The theme in the Quran is peace, unless there is oppression or injustice that cannot be resolved by all the peaceful means available.

    As for jihad is concerned,
    fighting without the permission of the legal elected ruler is a transgression against his rights and over stepping the mark. If it were permissible for the people to fight without the permission of the ruler, that would lead to chaos.Moreover, pledging allegiance to him
    Bay’ah can only be given by the decision makers – i.e., the scholars and people of virtue and status. Once they give their allegiance to him, his position of leadership is confirmed, and the common folk do not have to give allegiance to him themselves, rather they have to obey him .
    The Prophet forbidden taking arms against the rulers and revolting against them even if they were unjust as long as long as they established prayers. He said this in order to prevent great corruption and evil that could emanate from taking arms against them.
    He also said
    Whoever rebels against my Ummah and fights the righteous and unrighteous of them, does not avoid its believers and does not fulfill his obligation to whom he has a contract, then they are not from me and I am not from them . [Muslim 1848] .
    Anyone who examines the groups that have deviated from the Straight Path will see that they have confused the people by quoting a verse or a hadeeth out of context.
    We as muslim stand united against all kinds of terrorism, as only through unity will we be able to eradicate terrorists and bring them to justice. We only serve the terrorists’ cause by name-calling and false accusations of everyone who happens to be a TRUE God-fearing Muslim.

    Let conclude with this pact


    The Status of Non-Muslims Under Muslim Rule
    After the rapid expansion of the Muslim dominion in the 7th century, Muslims leaders were required to work out a way of dealing with Non-Muslims, who remained in the majority in many areas for centuries. The solution was to develop the notion of the “dhimma”, or “protected person”. The Dhimmi were required to pay an extra tax, but usually they were unmolested. This compares well with the treatment meted out to non-Christians in Christian Europe. The Pact of Umar is supposed to have been the peace accord offered by the Caliph Umar to the Christians of Syria, a “pact” which formed the patter of later interaction.

    We heard from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows:

    In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property, and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations toward you:

    We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.

    We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.

    We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.

    We shall not teach the Qur’an to our children.

    We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.

    We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.

    We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.

    We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons.

    We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.

    We shall not sell fermented drinks.

    We shall clip the fronts of our heads.

    We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists

    We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.

    We shall not take slaves who have beenallotted to Muslims.

    We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.

    (When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he added, “We shall not strike a Muslim.”)

    We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our community, and in return we receive safe-conduct.

    If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition.

    Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are: “They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims,” and “Whoever strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this pact.”

    from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.

    [This was a from hand out at an Islamic History Class at the University of Edinburgh in 1979. Source of translation not given.]

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    If we compare the following pact with the one i stated above, that the one from from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.

    [This was a from hand out at an Islamic History Class at the University of Edinburgh in 1979. Source of translation not given CAN NOT BE ASSOCIATED WITH OMAR IBN AL KHATAB SINCE Modern scholars have questioned the authenticity of this agreement (which exists in several different textual forms), claiming it to be the product of later jurists who attributed it to the caliph Umar in order to lend greater authority to their own opinions:

    Western orientalists doubt the authenticity of the Pact, arguing that it is usually the victors, not the vanquished, who propose, or rather impose, the terms of peace, and that it is highly unlikely that the people who spoke no Arabic and knew nothing of Islam could draft such a document. Academic historians believe that the Pact of Umar in the form it is known today was a product of later jurists who attributed it to the venerated caliph Umar I in order to lend greater authority to their own opinions. The striking similarities between the Pact of Umar and the Theodesian and Justinian Codes suggest that perhaps much of the Pact of Umar was borrowed from these earlier codes by later Islamic jurists. At least some of the clauses of the pact mirror the measures first introduced by the Umayyad caliph Umar II or by the early Abbasid caliphs.[3]

    In addition, it should be noted that for muslims the only two sources of religious law and practice are the Qur’an and the Sunnah (documentation of the deeds and actions) of Prophet Muhammed. Both sources make it clear that the religions of others and their religious institutes should be respected, and as a result in the early history of Islam the institutes of other religions were kept intact and in fact tax monies would be used to help repair, for example, broken churches. An example of this would be how Salahuddin cleaned up a church after the conquest of Jerusalem, and similarly a church which had burnt down was repaired in Jerusalem.

    Scholars have argued that the Pact may have direct pre-Islamic inspiration:
    taken from
    This is the true pact
    This is the protection which the servant of God, ‘Umar, the Ruler of the Believers has granted to the people of Eiliya [Jerusalem]. The protection is for their lives and properties, their churches and crosses, their sick and healthy and for all their coreligionists. Their churches shall not be used for habitation, nor shall they be demolished, nor shall any injury be done to them or to their compounds, or to their crosses, nor shall their properties be injured in any way. There shall be no compulsion for these people in the matter of religion, nor shall any of them suffer any injury on account of religion… Whatever is written herein is under the covenant of God and the responsibility of His Messenger, of the Caliphs and of the believers, and shall hold good as long as they pay Jizya [the tax for their defense] imposed on them.”

    Those non-Muslims who took part in defense together with the Muslims were exempted from paying Jizya, and when the Muslims had to retreat from a city whose non-Muslim citizens had paid this tax for their defense, the tax was returned to the non-Muslims. The old, the poor and the disabled of Muslims and non-Muslims alike were provided for from the public treasury and from the Zakat funds

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    Given u these two examples,i would like to stress the fact that knowing about islam should be taken from reliable muslim scholars.Moreover, The Methodologies for the study of hadith have been developed over centuries by Islamic scholars and jurists and are commonly referred to as the science of hadith study. Verification of hadith as reliable, and the use of hadith to verify or disavow Islamic practice, is left to Ulama, or Islamic scholars, with a deep understanding of Islamic jurisprudence and history.
    Since Islamic legal scholars were utilizing hadith as an adjunct to the Qur’an in their development of the Islamic legal system, it became critically important to have reliable collections of hadith. While the early collections of hadith often contained hadith that were of questionable origin, gradually collections of authenticated hadith called sahih (lit. true, correct) were compiled. Such collections were made possible by the development of the science of hadith criticism, a science at the basis of which was a critical analysis of the chain of (oral) transmission (isnad) of the hadith going all the way back to Muhammad. The two most highly respected collections of hadith are the authenticated collections the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. (Sahih literally means “correct, true, valid, or sound.”) In addition to these, four other collections came to be well-respected, although not to the degree of Bukhari and Muslim’s sahih collections. These four other collections are the Sunan of Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Abu Da’ud. Together these four and the two sahih collections are called the “six books” (al-kutub al-sitta). Two other important collections, in particular, are the Muwatta of Ibn Malik, the founder of the Maliki school of law, and the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of the Hanbali school of law.

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    Let me quote Bruce Bawer:
    “A moderate Muslim doesn’t see extremist Muslims as getting their religion wrong in quite the same way that, say, a liberal Episcopalian might feel that a conservative Southern Baptist has gotten Christianity wrong; such a Muslim, rather, even though he deeply abhors the actions of his violent coreligionists, may well be unable to shake off the feeling that they’re more dedicated to Islam than he is. The result: a profound reluctance to criticize.”
    Surrender, Page 63.

    And Sam Harris:
    “The world, from the point of view of Islam, is divided into the “House of Islam” and the “House of War,” and this latter designation should indicate how Muslims believe their differences with those who do not share their faith will be ultimately resolved. While there are undoubtedly some moderate Muslims who have decided to overlook the irrescindable militancy of their religion, Islam is undeniably a religion of conquest. The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, politically subjugated, or killed.”

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    Hi Ali, (long time!),

    I agree with the individual aspect to any violence committed that a group should not be condeming that action. For instance, I go and rob a bank…I should be penalized as an individual and no group should be representing me.

    However, I agree with Matt. Let me explain. When I commit a crime and slap on the “in the name of Islam” label, it is very much required by the group which I claim to be a part of to denounce such actions. If no one speaks then it only confirms the myths which relate to the faith and most importantly shows that this type of abuse of Islam and acts of violence is tolerated. When the criminal advertises and commits actions and affiliates themselves with a group, that to me is oppression of that group if they arenot voicing their concerns.

    As a muslim in the west, at times I feel caught in the middle as you are feeling. I completely relate to the article and your viewpoint but I also understand the significance and delicate situation in which muslims worldwide are in. If you do not denounce, you are indirectly supporting anti-Islamic behaviours, if you denounce, you may be seen as a traitor to not backing up your own kind (belief that these criminals are not muslim at all but are posers). Confusing times indeed.

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    I daresay I have mixed opinions on this. It is a written vent/rant and I am not entirely sure, worthy of applauding. It only serves the writer’s emotions and does nothing for the collective Ummah. If a questioning non muslim asks why a certain muslim did x/y, in truth, we do not know, or cannot ever know ‘why’ and neither should we defend a wrong action but to actually ‘not answer back’ seems a lost opportunity to educate. Just my humble opinion. Apathy is understandable but an remains an ideal dsespite emotions. How apt that my finger should resonate with the article!

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