Must we condemn? Yes we must

Two Muslim authors have told us today that we must not condemn the terrorist atrocities carried out in India yesterday: Umar Lee argues that American Muslims should not condemn them and Yusuf Smith that Western Muslims should not. They both argue their case effectively and I can see where they are coming from, but I must confess: when both of their headlines appeared in my blog-reader, I was utterly disgusted. To one of them I responded as follows:

I beg to differ. We should condemn them. We just should not condemn them because others demand us to do so.

We should condemn every single terrorist atrocity until we are blue in the face and until there are none.

This is because our religion teaches us to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. I just don’t care about this “we should not” because of what people think; it’s not about what people think.

It’s about getting the message through to terrorists that this is evil.

If one of you sees something bad he should change it with his hands, and if he cannot do that he should change it with his tongue, and if he cannot do that he should hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.

Your headline doesn’t sit well with me this evening I’m afraid. I utterly disagree.

Peace.

Someone argues that we do not know who was responsible for it yet. What has that got to do with it? We do not condemn it because we share some innate guilt. We condemn it because it is evil, because it is wrong, regardless of who did it or their reason. When bombs are rained down on a foreign land from a high-altitude bomber I condemn it because it is evil. When a gunman opens fire on civilians I condemn it because it is evil.

Someone argues that Muslims have condemned terrorist atrocities repeatedly but nobody pays any attention. What has that got to do with it? We condemn it not because a social commentator tells us to, but because Allah subhana wa ta’ala tells us to: “you enjoin right and you forbid wrong, and you believe in God”. And indeed because our beloved said:

Towards the latter days of indiscriminate violence, be like the first and better of the two sons of Adam who said, ‘If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you; surely I fear God, the Lord of the worlds.’ (from a sahih hadith in Tirmidhi)

Someone argues that we have no influence on people far away who have done this. Who says we have no influence? Do we not have prayers for rain? Do we have influence on the clouds of the sky? Yet we pray and it rains. You may have a neighbour who knows nothing about Islam, who sees this behaviour and believes it is of his religion. Perhaps your condemnation might make him think again.

Have some compassion. It does not matter who the perpetrators are or who the victims are. We condemn terrorism because it is wrong.

7 thoughts on “Must we condemn? Yes we must

  1. UmmZee

    //We condemn it because it is evil, because it is wrong, regardless of who did it or their reason//

    There it is, right there. That is the heart of it, after you strip away all of this ridiculous rhetoric about how we’re not responsible, so we should not *condemn.* And then people wonder why non Muslims think Muslims condone terror, or that we talk out of both sides of our mouths?

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  2. salam…
    I couldn’t agree more. This was my comment on Br. Yusuf’s blog:

    Actually the list of reasons offered is rather incoherent, and I am surprised that you would support it, considering your usually spot-on, articulate commentary.

    1) Does it really matter who was involved in the attacks before we choose to condemn it? As Muslims, we stand up for justice wherever injustice is served, regardless of who is responsible.
    2) What information should we await before condemning barbarianism? Is there really any possibility that some new information could come out that would make us eat our words (and let’s be specific to this case)?
    3) Should we really care about the politics of how India is perceived in the media? Should we be that callous about our words when a human tragedy unfolds in front of us?
    4) How is supporting Kashmiri resistance against government entities, which are DIRECTLY engaged in brutality against civilians, have anything to do with the killing of other innocent civilians in other parts of India? When did condemning and expressing outrage over a human tragedy somehow preclude supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination? That is the strangest logic I have heard.
    5) Finally, what does geography and politics have to do with this? We are in a age of globalization. We are all connected, like it or not. I don’t need to be in India to have a pretty good feel of what’s going on.

    Ultimately, I think there is more good to be had in Muslims continuing to speak out against injustice of all forms (against them and against others). And at MuslimMatters, we will continue to do so inshallah.

    The results speak for themselves, such as this one

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  3. Secret Believer?

    Of course its evil to take a life of any of Allah’s creations let alone a Human. We as Muslims know what it says about taking the life of a Human in the Quran.

    I personally find this topic quite interesting though because its a double edged sword. You’re darned if you do, and you’re darned if you don’t.

    Here’s why.

    From a Muslim’s point of view, on viewing current mainstream media, it means that we have to constantly keep saying….whoops..sorry..er…darn..those evil people…oh and again sorry…bad people those…and again…and again….

    Do we really need to be apologizing as Muslims or do all people in the UK, Europe, US, the whole world need to condemn every life that is taken unfairly every day??

    Personally I feel very sad that any life is taken anywhere whether it is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew or any other denomination.

    I see another angle to this too.

    namely that when someone stands up and says they are a Muslim and then commits a crime it is made to appear by media that its a crime by Islam.

    Take for example the recent Glasgow Airport bombers. Yes, its true that they were Muslims, but there is also the point that if one ignores the religion for a second – One can see that there was an Iraqi national involved. So, was that an Islamic crime or a retaliation by Iraqis and Iraqi sympathisers against a country that is part of the dubious occupation of Iraq? Is that Terrorism or War then?
    I meant in Glasgow?

    There is a risk that Muslims are being turned into apologetics.

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