Why don’t Muslims condemn terrorism? It’s a question we hear a lot after full scale terrorist attacks or individual killings. It isn’t surprising given the ongoing conflation of Islam, the major world religion, with extremist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda that represent a tiny fraction of the whole.
The fact is there are many, many condemnations following every terrorist act, or violent acts carried out by Muslims. Attacks that make the news are repudiated, usually swiftly. The repudiations are rarely noted.
A recent protest march by London Muslims garnered little media coverage.
Organisers of an anti-Isis march in London have spoken of their frustration after mainstream media outlets failed to cover the demonstration.
Thousands of people took part in the annual UK Arbaeen Procession, coordinated by the Husaini Islamic Trust UK, on Sunday.
India? How about a condemnation by 70,000 leaders:
Another as reported by USA Today:
Some 70,000 Muslim leaders in India have jointly issued a religious ruling, or fatwa, condemning extremist violence carried out by groups like the Islamic State group, the Taliban and al Qaeda. The document was signed by some 1.5 million adherents during a major annual religious ceremony.
Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella body that represents more than 500 organizations including mosques, schools and charities, described the killings as “horrific and abhorrent.”
“My thoughts and prayers for the families of those killed and injured and for the people of France, our neighbours,” he said in a statement.
“This attack is being claimed by the group calling themselves ‘Islamic State’. There is nothing Islamic about such people and their actions are evil, and outside the boundaries set by our faith.”
Dean Obeidallah writing at The Daily Beast after the Paris attacks:
My emotions soon moved from fear to anger. Anger at ISIS for once again killing people in the name of my religion. For again perverting what Islam is for their own political agenda. And I’m far from alone in this feeling. The outrage and disgust by the Muslim community toward ISIS is palpable.
The response of Muslim American organizations in condemning the Paris attack has been swift. We have learned from the past that any delay will be seen by some (and used by others) to say that Muslims are cool with the bloodshed. For example, on Saturday morning leaders of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, which consists of many of the leading national Muslim American organizations, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., to do more than just condemn the Paris attack; they lashed out at ISIS.
“We are revolted by this heinous attack on civilians,” declared Nihad Awad, the executive director of CAIR. Awad added that ISIS is “neither Islamic nor a state,” calling for a “swift and methodical” response to ISIS.
The Islamic Society of North America condemns in the strongest terms the attack on soldiers at Fort Hood, resulting in the murder of at least a dozen soldiers and the wounding of many others. We express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families.
Although many details of the shooting are unknown at this time, it appears that the attack was led by a career soldier, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. The soldier who led this attack was either mentally unstable, or was motivated by a perverted ideology for which there can be no justification.
The murder of military recruiters in Chattanooga? Condemned by the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. Condemned by the Muslim community in New York. Condemned by the Muslim community in Nashville.
The social media service Topsy shows the hashtag #notinmyname, a way for Muslims to disavow extremism, was used nearly 156,000 times following the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
This list is not exhaustive.
Khurrum Dara, an American attorney and Muslim, accepted President Obama’s challenge for moderate Muslims to start addressing extremism. Dara writes in WSJ:
It isn’t enough to condemn radicalism—we must actively engage in counter-extremism messaging. We must build an intellectual and theological case against radicalism. Our religious leaders must educate and warn our youth about the dangers of searching for spiritual guidance on the Internet. And we have to be vigilant. When someone stops coming to mosque and disappears from a community, abruptly after marrying a Pakistani woman in Saudi Arabia whom he met online, it shouldn’t take two years and 35 Americans getting shot (including one from that very congregation) before we notice.
There is a war going on that extends beyond Syria, and American Muslims are under siege. Not by a fringe group of bigoted Americans, but by a fringe group of Muslims abroad who seek to tear our Western communities apart. They are trying to target the disaffected among us, hijack the mosque pulpit, and convince us that we’re unwelcome in our own country.
By no means is this a defense of Islam as it contradicts what the Bible teaches about Jesus as the only way to God for Jew, Gentile, Christian, Muslim or generic non-believer. We who are followers of Christ need not elevate Muhammad or embrace Islam in order to defend those Muslims who try to distance themselves from extremists within their religion.