The eyes of the world have been turned to France and America seems poised to reenergize paranoia about terrorist threats and a false image of a psychotic Islam.
The killing of innocent people in France is something that is to be condemned by all who understand the sacredness of life and who follow the law of God, which prohibits the unjust taking of life.
The eyes and ears of the world are turned to Paris, where authorities say “terrorists” killed 17 people at the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. Now there are reports, sketchy at best, of a broader group of conspirators tied to the deaths and threats against America.
The killings attributed to French citizens and brothers Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly have drawn a call for “moderate” Muslims to reject violence and the use of violence in the name of the faith. One analyst went so far as to say that until “moderate” Muslims speak up these killings will not stop.
It is wrong and insulting to demand that Muslims prove themselves by standing and speaking in ways that the Western world demands. The taking of life is an individual act or an act borne out of allegiance or loyalty to a particular teacher or movement so the individual, the movement or organization that the killer or killers represent are responsible for any heinous murder or crime.
“Who has taken responsibility for the attack?” is the question raised when these tragic events occur. The who asks what person, what group or movement has stepped forward and said “we are responsible for this carnage.” Muslims are not responsible for the acts of persons or movements who have their own distinctive ideas, motives and methodologies. These movements are also often at odds with one another–so there is no united extremist front.
The Holy Qur’an forbids the unjust taking of life and warns the Believer not to let hatred of a people incite actions that are other than just. The Qur’an gives the Believer the right to fight in defense of himself or his community– but the response should mirror the strike that the community has had to endure within the bounds of justice.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has condemned senseless violence in the streets of America, shameless violence executed by America in war and military acts and violence used to kill innocent people for political purposes. His position is very clear and has been clear.
The positions of other Muslim leaders and clerics has also been clear as they reject senseless violence and killing outside of the law of justice.
What the Western analysts and Western media desire is not for “moderate” Muslims to take a stand, they desire to define and categorize what Islam is and who Muslims are. They desire to have pliant leaders who feel obliged to tow the Western line of thought and policy–and who will ultimately agree with wrongheaded and fruitless U.S. and Western actions in the Middle East and Africa.
Instead of focusing on why there seems to be intelligence failure after intelligence failure despite government targeting of so-called perpetrators, these shrill voices wish to blame Islam and its adherents. Instead of asking why the only plots that seem to be disrupted are false plots cooked up by government agents to entrap Muslims, these shrill voices wish to besmirch a beautiful faith. It seems as though the authorities know every single detail, motivation, move, relationship and connection after bullets are fired bombs exploded.
Somehow the authorities miss all of these connections though the purported killers are law enforcement targets. How can this be with the massive failures in intelligence and missed opportunities that were revealed after the tragic 9-11 disasters that took thousands of lives? Has nothing been learned despite declaration of a War on Terror, billions spent on wars, intelligence and policing and 15 years to deal with what America and the world has called a major threat?
The shrill voices fail to acknowledge a basic fact: Those most likely to die at the hands of so-called extremists are not Westerners but Muslims. According to “Deadly Vanguards: A Study of al Qaeda’s Violence Against Muslims,” a report produced in 2010, “non-Westerners are much more likely to be killed in an al-Qa’ida attack. From 2004 to 2008, only 15% percent of the 3,010 victims were Western.
During the most recent period studied the numbers skew even further. From 2006 to 2008, only 2% (12 of 661 victims) are from the West, and the remaining 98% are inhabitants of countries with Muslim majorities. During this period, a person of non-Western origin was 54 times more likely to die in an al-Qa’ida attack than an individual from the West. The overwhelming majority of al-Qa’ida victims are Muslims living in Muslim countries.
“Outside of the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, 99% of al-Qa’ida’s victims were non- Western in 2007, and 96% were non-Western in 2008. From 2006 to 2008, only 9 of 352 victims were Westerners (3%), meaning that non-Westerners were 38 times more likely to die in an al-Qa’ida attack outside of Iraq and Afghanistan during those years,” said the research compiled from Arab sources by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
And while the West has been riveted to the beheadings attributed to the Islamic State, most of those killed have been Muslims as the group conducts its military campaigns and Muslims fight Muslims with civilians caught in the middle in Syria and Iraq.
In Afghanistan, it was the Taliban who rose after the U.S. deserted the country following the defeat of the Soviet Union and chaos reigned. In Afghanistan, it was brother against brother in a bloody civil war.
In France, Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet was gunned down in the Charlie Hebdo attack. “My brother was Muslim and he was killed by two terrorists, by two false Muslims,” Malek Merabet told the media Jan. 10. “Islam is a religion of peace and love. As far as my brother’s death is concerned it was a waste. … I address myself now to all the racists, Islamophobes and anti-semites. One must not confuse extremists with Muslims. Mad people have neither color or religion,” he said.
It was Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee at a Paris Kosher grocery store occupied by gunmen, who saved people by hiding them in a walk-in freezer. Four people were killed in the market. But Mr. Bathily, after securing others left the freezer to try to find help. Once outside, he was handcuffed and detained for 90 minutes by French police who suspected that he was a terrorist. He later helped police by providing information about how the store was laid out.
The truth is far different from Western media accounts and the West’s narrative. The deaths of Muslims, which are historically tied to conflicts connected to U.S. and Western politics and power, matter too. We will not allow that truth to be denied nor ignored.