Why should they condemn people who they don’t even believe are real Muslims? Because other Muslims believe they’re real Muslims, are are susceptible to their recruitment based on appeals to Qur’an and Sunnah. Isn’t that a good enough reason?
From AP, with thanks to Kasia:
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) – Europe’s Muslims have remained largely silent in the face of terrorist attacks that have killed 254 people in Madrid, London and Amsterdam. Europeans want to know why.
Why have so few of them publicly condemned the train and bus bombings in Madrid and London? Why have so few spoken out against the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, killed because his work was considered an insult to Islam?
Talk to Europe’s mainstream Muslims privately, however, and it turns out they have a lot to say.
Seek them out in the neighborhoods where they live and work – in the outdoor markets and butcher shops that sell halal meat, in the book stores that display literature on Islam and the West, in the boutiques that promote Islamic dress codes, in the Turkish restaurants and smoky Tunisian teahouses, in their schools and youth clubs – and they denounce, the vast majority unequivocally, attacks against civilians in both Europe and the United States.
“Van Gogh was a crazy man, but no one has the right to kill anyone who says bad things about the Quran,” said Mohammed Azahaf, a 23-year-old student who runs a youth center in Amsterdam. “If you kill one, it’s like killing the whole of mankind,” he said, quoting a line from the Muslim holy book.
Of course, others differ, and on Islamic grounds — specifically, the example of Muhammad:
At the time of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) there were individuals like these who dishonoured and insulted him upon whom the Islamic judgement was executed. Such people were not tolerated in the past and throughout the history of Islam were dealt with according to the Shariah. Ka”ab ibn Ashraf was assassinated by Muhammad ibn Maslamah for harming the Messenger Muhammad (saw) by his words, Abu Raafi” was killed by Abu Ateeq as the Messenger ordered in the most evil of ways for swearing at the prophet, Khalid bin Sufyaan was killed by Abdullah bin Anees who cut off his head and brought it to the prophet for harming the Messenger Muhammad (saw) by his insults, Al-Asmaa bintu Marwaan was killed by Umayr bin Adi” al-Khatmi, a blind man, for writing poetry against the prophet and insulting him in it, Al-Aswad al-Ansi was killed by Fairuz al-Daylami and his family for insulting the Messenger Muhammad (saw) and claiming to be a prophet himself. This is the judgement of Islam upon those who violate, dishonour and insult the Messenger Muhammad (saw).
What would Mohammed Azahaf say to that? He was quoting Qur’an 5:32: “On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that 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. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” What would he say to someone who asserted that Van Gogh was “spreading mischief in the land,” and so deserved what he got?
These are serious questions, because Muslims do say such things. If Mohammed Azohaf really rejects that perspective, he should have a response.
Why, then, the public silence?
For some of the more than five dozen Muslims interviewed for this story in Amsterdam, Paris and London, it’s a sense of shame, or even guilt, that innocents have been killed in the name of Islam; they say those feelings make them seek to be “invisible.” For those lucky enough to have jobs, there is little time to protest or even write letters to newspapers. For others, there is fear of being branded anti-Islam in their communities.
Dutch Muslim rapper Yassine SB wrote a song about his anger over Van Gogh’s murder but scrapped plans to perform it out of fear of being ostracized by the Islamic community. He also turned down requests by a popular Amsterdam radio station to sing a song against terrorism.
Why would they ostracise him, if they all condemn what happened to van Gogh?
“If you sing that, it’s like you choose the Dutch, not Muslims,” said Yassine SB – the initials stand for his surname Sahsah Bahida – who is popular among Dutch North African youths like himself for his songs against racism.
“People will say ‘you are a traitor,'” said the 20-year-old musician….
Why, many Muslims ask, should they have to speak out against, or apologize for, actions of radicals who do not represent them – people they do not even regard as true Muslims?
Because, as the van Gogh anecdote reveals, there are more of these untrue Muslims than anyone wants to admit. Something has to be done about it.
Many find the very idea of being asked or expected to denounce such acts “extremely offensive and insulting,” said Khurshid Drabu, a senior member of the Muslim Council of Britain.
A thought experiment: imagine you are a member of a group. Any group. And other members of the same group are committing violent acts against innocent people and justifying doing so by appealing to the philosophy of your group. But you think they are misusing that philosophy. Would you be insulted at people who ask you to explain how they are misusing it, and to resist their doing so, or would you find the actual misusers of your cherished philosophy more insulting?
“I’m British,” said Tuhina Ahmed, 24, a British-born Muslim in London whose family came from Gujarat in India. “I could have been blown up as well.” Why, she asked, should she have to make a public statement to prove her objection to terrorism?
Because the terrorists did come from your group, and claim your religious ideology, Tuhina. Do it for Britain. If you care to, that is.
To many, the pressure to denounce acts of terror smacks of President Bush’s warning that ‘you are either with us or against us.’
“People and politicians say where are the Muslim people, why aren’t they on the streets defending themselves? They say we should go into the streets and condemn what happened so they see us as good Muslims,” said Karima Ramani, a 20-year-old Dutch born to an Algerian father and Moroccan mother. “I don’t feel it’s my duty. I’m not responsible for the death of Van Gogh.”…
Yet the Internet is filled with blogs – mostly from Westerners but also by some Muslims – asking why Muslims are not expressing revulsion at the attacks. They see the silence as giving the terrorists strength.
“Isn’t silence, justification, fear and hesitation in condemning terrorism, a factor in the encouragement of these individuals to appear on numerous platforms and satellite channels and claim that they represent a religion in the absence of active influential groups and institutions?” asked a blog entry by Ahmed Al-Rabei, a Kuwaiti journalist who works for London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Isn’t it a tragic crime to label the millions of European Muslims as guilty because of the rhetoric of a few professional lunatics, while the rest remain silent and wallow in self-pity? We have to admit that Islam has been hijacked particularly in European countries.”
Muslim leaders say they and other Muslims have marched in a number of anti-terrorism rallies in Europe – the largest was held on the first anniversary of Madrid’s 2004 bombings – and Muslims can’t be expected to pour into the streets every day. They also say they have condemned the attacks in the media.
The fact that they would have to pour into the streets “every day” shows how ineffective their condemnations have been. When will they begin efforts to teach against the jihad ideology in mosques? If they care to.
Surveys indicate a small but significant chunk of Europe’s Muslim population supports the terrorists.
In a poll of British Muslims after the July 2005 suicide attacks on London’s transport system, 6 percent thought the bombings were justified. Another 24 percent condemned the attacks but had some sympathy with the bombers’ grievances.
Many Europeans blame the Continent’s Muslim leadership, which they accuse of making ambiguous and qualified condemnations that give the impression they are making excuses for the bombers: grievances over the war in Iraq or the West’s support for Israel.
“It’s the leaders who are most responsible,” said Rory Miller, senior lecturer of Mediterranean studies at King’s College, London….
Azahaf, 23, was among the thousands who marched in Amsterdam against Van Gogh’s killing. “I demonstrated not for Van Gogh but for freedom to talk, to say what you want,” he said.
Olivier Roy, a respected French scholar of Islam, says Muslim silence is a “classical psychology of immigrants” – wanting to be “normal” and become mainstream. “For them, integration means to be recognized as citizens. They don’t want to be recognized for their specificity.”…
Sure, but to this the Islamic community, with its set and comprehensive social order, has proved particularly resistant.
Many of Europe’s best-integrated Muslims say their lives are so far removed from those of the radicals that it simply has never occurred to them to protest.
Alia Kdeih, 50, came to Paris in 1977, at the height of a civil war in her native Lebanon. She got her degree from the Sorbonne, married a Lebanese and presents a cultural program on the Arabic service of French government-owned Radio Monte Carlo. Her elegant Western-decorated apartment in a middle-class Paris neighborhood has only a few flavors of Lebanon.
Kdeih said she will not go into the streets to condemn the attacks even though she’s appalled by them – pointing out that her identity is not defined by Islam.
“It’s not something I want to stress,” she said. “I don’t feel responsible for what happened even if they are Muslims.”