When Denial Can Kill: We Muslims Must Admit That Our Religion Might Be Motivating The Bombers
When Denial Can Kill: We Muslims must admit that our religion might be motivating the bombers
Irshad Manji, Muslim writer and activist, writes this piece in response to the London bombings and the subsequent discovery that the bombers were not foreign nationals but British citizens. Writing from a practical standpoint, Manji points out that these young men were born in Great Britain, raised in Great Britain, and were brought up by immigrant families that had given up all they had to come to England. Growing up in this kind of environment, one of economic opportunity, freedom, and a family that treasured the United Kingdom, it is had to believe that these young men would perpetuate such a horrendous crime. And yet, they did.
To Manji, analyzing the roots of modern terrorism needs to go become circumstantial analysis of economics, social oppression, and the such. Even in the greatest oppression, few groups of people have been so willing to kill themselves and take the lives of innocent civilians in the process of doing so. Never has their ever been such a global movement, terrorizing innocent civilians not only in the Middle East but in Thailand, Spain, England, and America. Never has their been a movement so able to reach even second generation immigrants. Never has their been a movement so willing to destroy honest, productive peace processes such as when the Islamic Jihadis that attacked Israeli troops even as they were pulling out as agreed in the recent ceasefire. These new circumstances beg new and honest analyses that must reach within the beliefs of the perpetrators and within the religion that is becoming the justification for crime- Islam.
Manji writes that instead of always being politically correct and always saying that ?Islamic extremists distort Islam, they aren?t real Muslims? it would be more productive for the international community to analyze scripture more closely and do battle with the interpretations and distortions that are feeding the global tumor of terrorism. Manji writes that too many Muslims just plug their ears and chant ?Islam means peace? and refuse to take a hard look at the Koran and how it is breeding hatred within the hearts of Muslims everywhere. By admitting that there may be pugnacious and violent elements within scripture that are misleading people, Muslims garner an aura of thoughtful introspection that not only gains the trust of the international community but also shows that Muslims will do more than feel victimized and really stand up for their religion.
Yes, it is true that extremists are distorting the religion, but honest Muslims must now stand up and fight for what they believe- ironically against their own religious brethren. Terrorists not only harm the west, but they hurt Islam as well. Terrorism drives a wedge of distrust and pain between Muslims and the rest of the world, fueling the hatred on both sides that may keep this war going for years.
For the wars to end and reconciliation to be reached, one side needs to stand down. The greatest and most effective social movements of history have been non-violent. The principle of non-violence shows the willingness to love and sacrifice for the sake of mutual understanding. History?s greatest reformers- Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony and more have all faced far more persecution than English Muslims face in an enlightened country like the United Kingdom. They have faced actual legal persecution specifically against their people, terrible economic persecution, and witnessed this all right on their home turfs. The difference between them and the Islamic Jihadis is that they chose to turn their beliefs into a loving, forgiving force that garnered the support of moderates and the international community. In the struggle between Islamic extremism and the west, the main difference between the two sides is that the ?west? is a geopolitical identity without set religious convictions. Islam is a religionn and according to most moderate Muslims, a ?religion of peace?. If Islam really means peace and love, here is Islam?s time to shine. Through honest introspection and taking strong pugnacious stances against terrorism of any form, regardless of oppression, Muslims show that they are a peacemaking force to be reckoned with. Perhaps this is our only true chance at peace.