Should Muslims Apologize?

16 06 2007

A few days ago someone asked me: “Why don’t all you Muslims apologize for all this terrorism?”

First of all, two definitions that I want everyone to understand. To condemn: The act of speaking out against something, To apologize: The act of asking forgiveness for something. Understanding these two definitions in of itself should be enough to answer the question.

To apologize for something would imply that I carried out or aided in an injustice which is simply not true. You see, i do not know any of these terrorists nor do I wish to know them. I have never met them. I don’t subscribe to their twisted ideologies or murderous ways. Moreover, this is the case with millions of other Muslims worldwide. Most of us have no similarities with these people whatsover. We had no part in their plans. We had no idea what they were plotting. We felt the horror and agony along with everyone else.

So, why should we be made to feel like we have committed the crime along with them when in actuality we are victims? When these people carry out their horrific crimes, we are made to look like villans. It is the idea in some religions that people can bear the crimes of others. An example of how absurd this idea is: If a woman (completely unknown to me) goes into a bank one day and robs it should I apologize because I am also a woman, should all women then apologize? No way! This should be obvious.

Now, the second part. Condemnation. Why aren’t the Muslims speaking out and condemning these acts? That is the question. I wish I had the answer. I can say in my own community that this issue is adressed every opportunity. The leaders warn the young Muslims not to get caught up in terrorism and not to be “sweet talked” by these wolves who go around praying on our youth, filling their heads with ideas of fame and grandour. When, in reality, the Prophet(saw) said: Anyone who kills himself will be killing himself over and over with the method he used in the Hereafter (example: he blows himself up in this word then that’s what he will be doing in the Hereafter) (Bukhari) and in the Qur’an it is clearly mentioned that there is to be no innocent lives taken and the punishment for doing so is severe.

I have also noticed Islamic organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, etc. speak out against terrorism. However, I rarely see this make the news. If anything, it is running across the bottom of the screen in tiny letters while the main story is about the acts of terror that is being carried out. Occasionaly, the press conferences they hold speaking out against terrorism is airedon C-SPAN. Rarely, an Islamic representive will be brought on one of these major news shows and will try to condemn these acts, though, usually the interviewer cuts him/her off mid-sentence. The sad fact is, terror sells and those of us who readily speak out against terrorism are not being heard. So, why aren’t more Muslims speaking out? Maybe because they aren’t being heard or broadcast.

This is the question all of us Muslims need to be asking ourselves: Are we doing everything in our power to speak out against terrorism and bring our brothers and sisters in Islam back to the Qur’an and Sunnah? Or are we siting idly by while Islam is being misinterpreted as a religion of violence and hate?

Here are the questions for the non Muslims: Are you willing to blame an entire religion for the actions carried out by a few? Are you willing to put the Muslims who speak out on the front page of the news? Are you willing to take these press conferences off of C-Span and have them on CNN, FOX, or MSNBC? Are you really listening to those of us who try to speak out against terrorism?

To read some of the open condemnations of terrorism by Muslims:

http://www.cair-net.org/html/911statements.html

http://www.whyislam.org/877/Social_Order/Muslim_Condemnation_of_Terrorism.asp
 


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17 responses

18 06 2007
Maha Abdo

Assalamu alaikum,

I’d be rather insulted if someone asked me this question, and would let them know immediately how insulted I was. How does this person know I don’t condemn terrorism? Why should I apologize? I have nothing to apologize for. What, should I apologize for my existence, because it makes some people uncomfortable? I have a very low tolerance for any nonsense of this matter. So they think my pretty scarf and loose clothing make me a terrorist. I really don’t give a hoot. I couldn’t care less how someone, who already has her mind made up, feels about me.

I would ask in return if we should require Christians to apologize for the KKK, or the Hindus to apologize for the Tamil Tigers. (I would probably get the response that those are isolated groups, widely known as extremists within their own ranks, and that most of the terrorism/violence seems to be perpetrated by Muslims.)

I would then point out, that with over a billion Muslims in the world, wouldn’t it follow that if we believed in/supported terrorism, would there be any “others” left? People need to use their brains and questions of this sort show clearly a lack thereof.

Well, it’s not entirely their fault. If they watch the news, they definitely get the impression that it’s Muslims committing all the violence. But that’s because the media doesn’t report all the other terrorism and violence going on around the world that has nothing whatever to do with Muslims, nor with oil, so it’s not newsworthy. I’d like someone to do something about Mugabe in Zimbabwe. There’s a dictator-terrorist for you, on par with Saddam. He’s a Christian. Why don’t Christians apologize for him and his brutalities? But wait, there’s no oil in Zimbabwe, and Africans aren’t really worth our airtime. Okay, let me get off my soapbox. Sorry!

Wassalam,
Maha

18 06 2007
EFfloresce

I come from a family with a lot of Irish in it..and I can remember growing up in England in the 70’s and 80’s when there was this thing, this sensationalistic scandal and fear about all Irish being somehow involved in terrorism. Bomb scares and evacuations were part of living in inner city London and other big cities of England and we all got quite used to it. We all knew the drill. You can imagine that a situation where a bomb goes off and then the police search a train and detain a man purely because he was Irish..this is also the sort of thing that went on.

I am a ‘convert’ to Islam, though have an Irish and Catholic family heritage. I am fairly laid back (today *ahem*) about all these accusations of terrorism…in fact I was told recently that: “Not all muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are muslims” and didn’t bat an eyelid..it’s just quite ridiculous…and to be frank…it seems to me that Muslims are the new Irish..it wasn’t that long ago that the Irish were villified in much the same way as we Muslims are now.

When we hear ignorant comments it helps to try and dispel myths there and then…but with some people…and some comments it just helps to remember that we are dealing with lunacy….we all have blind spots..we all of us get things wrong…the point is to not let the offensive and the offended in a situation let feelings of outrage escalate to the point of war and slaying.

Stupidity and insensitivity bothers me too….and sometimes I snap (if I am tired) but I would like my sisters and brothers to remind me to be compassionate. Ignorance is an affliction…we would do well to understand that ignorance narrows the soul light…how much better to expand and encompass all we wretched sufferers of something with love and compassion.

Having said that..I am getting a little tired of people eyeing me like I have a bomb under my hijab everytime I go out..I feel like saying: “BOO!” suddenly. It is tiring. A sense of humour and a good nights sleep can work miracles though.

18 06 2007
MuniQaba

As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

SubhaanAllah ukhti, this post totally struck a major cord with me. I have so many strong feelings with the way that Msulims, Islam, and this use of the word terror and terrorism have been represented and mis-represented in the media. First of all, I do not condone terrorism of any sort, nor do I believe that there is any place for it in Islam. I do believe that this word has been used as a propaganda tool against Islam and the Muslims so much so that the terms have become synonymous. Are we even one hundred percent sure that it was Muslims that carried out this act? because there have been so many conflicting stories about what actually went down on Sept. 11th. The only thing that remained constant were the photos, the term terrorist, directly after or before the word Muslim or Islam. I am not totally convinced that the hijackers were Muslim.

What really makes me believe that it is a lot of propaganda and agenda making is how we are always portrayed in the media. It is always in a negative light. This is the method that is used when various governments desire to make a group of people or religion a negative reference group. For example, when Muslims are attempting to resist oppositional forces they are always labeled as extremists and Islamic fundamentalists. I mean why are the Muslims fighting to begin with? Is is not because they are being fought against? These governments and their armed forces are going into Muslim lands murdering, killing, raping, pillaging, etc. etc. our Muslim brothers and sisters, and yet, we are the terrorists. doesn’t Allah subhaanahu wa ta’Ala say:

And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. (2:191)

And also,

Have you not thought about the group of the Children of Israel after (the time of) Musa (Moses)? When they said to a Prophet of theirs, “Appoint for us a king and we will fight in Allahs Way.” He said, “Would you then refrain from fighting, if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “Why should we not fight in Allahs Way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as captives)?” But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. And Allah is All-Aware of the Zalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers). (2:246)

Timothy Mcvey blew up that entire building in Oklahoma, killing all kinds of men, women, and children, I never once heard them call this boy a Cristian fanatic, extremist, terrorist, and the like.

So many innocent Muslim lives have been ruined at the hands of the West and even at the hands of the Muslim hypocrites. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, I mean the list could go on and on. A lot of the negaitve press that is shown about Muslims in the media is an attempt at covering up the atrocities that the West and her allies are committing against the Muslims and Islam. I totally believe that this is not just a “war on terrorism,” I believe that this is a war against Islam.

All that being said, I do not think that we need to apologize for anything. I think we should be telling them as well as uninformed Muslims to “not believe the HYPE” as they say.
I think we need to be apologized to, and not only that, I think we need justice; which will not happen by protesting in the streets and holding up signs demanding it. Just like America and other nations FOUGHT for their freedom, independence, and justice, so should we, in fact, we have been ordered to.

(I just get so fired up about this topic!!!)
wa, salam.

18 06 2007
southernmuslimah

Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sisters,
Mash’Allah,🙂 I agree we have nothing to apologize for.

The whole world needs to be condemning (not apologizing for) the terrorist actions from ALL terrorists no matter what religion or background they come from.

The sad fact is, as I put in my post, terror sells in the media. It gets their ratings up so that is what they splash all over their news shows and newspapers. They love to complain about how Muslims don’t speak out. Yet, when a Muslim or organization does try to speak out it is back page news or isn’t even broadcast at all. At the most, it will be run across the bottom of the screen in the ticker or put on C-SPAN. It’s not that Muslims don’t try to get the message out. Instead, it is the lack of the media’s willingness to listen and broadcast it.

19 06 2007
carimuslima

Girl say it loud and Say it Proud!!!!!😉

Don’t we know this too well. Subhanallah It really is tiring hearing these people say over and over again that we need to apologize. If anything, they really need to sit back and reflect on your opening entry. The definitions for apology and condemning. Another great post by you southernmuslimah😉 It’s about time that these organizations get national media attention instead of that 30 second spotlight condemning something overseas. Well put. Jazak Allah Khairan. Hugs😉

19 06 2007
Amanda

Hey ya’ll I hope you don’t mind me putting my 2 cents in on this one. I’ve been reading for a while and never comment. I had this discussion with my father a few weeks ago. It seems to me that a lot of Americans feel that Muslims should apologize. I personally don’t feel that they have anything to apologize for. My father and I actually got into a huge argument over this subject. I feel that even if Muslims did apologize or take a stand against terrorist activity it would never be shown on the news and would be a complete waste of time, especially since you have nothing to apologize for. It goes against what all the media outlets want Americans to believe about Muslims. They want us to fear ya’ll and they want us to condemn every Muslim as a terrorist. What they always leave out though is that there are some very sick people that call themselves Christian. I say hold your head up high and be proud of who you are and what you believe no matter what it is. If a person from a small, very conservative town in SC can be this tolerant, why can’t the rest? That I will never understand. Maybe if parents would spend a little less time finding fault with other’s religion and race and a little more time teaching respect and tolerance the world would be a better place. We all have to share this world and I don’t think that God wanted it to be quite like it is today.

19 06 2007
Agadir_Girl

Asalaamu alaikoum
It really is a sensitive topic (a hot one too). I have heard so many scholars speak against terrorism and against what happened in the U.S. on 9/11/01. I have heard these scholars say that they have requested to be on CNN, Fox, NBC, ABC etc etc and that their request is rejected.
I don’t think most of kuffar want to hear us say that we don’t think terrorism is wrong or to hear us condemn the acts of a few. If they heard this from us they then would have to change what they believe and that is a difficult step for many people.
Nice blog sister.

22 06 2007
Hakim

as-salaamu ‘alaikum,

Sis, I will apologize for terrorism when the British, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Americans apologize for colonialism.

12 08 2007
Henrik Ræder Clausen

“So, why should we be made to feel like we have committed the crime along with them when in actuality we are victims?”

Because the terrorists use Islam and the Quran to justify their killing and destruction.

They need to be told, repeatedly, that this is completely un-Islamic behaviour and that Muhammad would never use terror to achieve his goal.

It might not be possible to change the minds of the terrorists. But someone is financing them, sheltering them and inspiring them. These people need to realize that any kind of supporrt for terrorism makes Islam look bad.

12 08 2007
Umm Yusuf

Right, but why should those of us who actually speak out against terrorism and do not know terrorists, those of us who speak out in our communities warning people not to harbour or support terrorists and work endlessly to stop terrorism……..why should we be made to feel like we are commiting the crimes?

Most Muslims speak out against terrorism in our communities repeatedly. It doesn’t get media coverage even though the media is invited to the conferences. The fact is no one wants to see peaceful Muslims trying to make a difference. Muslim organizations such as CAIR work tirelessly trying to get the message out to stop terrorism. Still, no media coverage.

The Christian bombers who blew up abortion clinics did so because they twisted the Biblical teachings to mean “abortion is wrong so i can stamp it out anyway i wish….even bombing clinics killing children and innocent by standers.”

This doesn’t mean all Christians are to blame. The ones who twist it and carry out the evil are to blame.

12 08 2007
Henrik Ræder Clausen

“but why should those of us who actually speak out against terrorism and do not know terrorists, those of us who speak out in our communities warning people not to harbour or support terrorists and work endlessly to stop terrorism…”

Well, it’s up to you, of course, but the terrorists are making Islam look bad everywhere they go, in the media etc.

It’s not a question of making anyone feel bad, except the terrorists and their supporters, moral or physical. They should get a distinct, clear message that what they are doing is wrong, and hurtful to the Islamic community worldwide.

12 08 2007
Umm Yusuf

I agree with you that the terrorists are making Islam and Muslims look bad and as Muslims we should be doing everything in our power to stop them.

Still, there is much being done. Muslims worldwide COULD and SHOULD be doing more. But those who are trying find it nearly impossible to get the exposure they need media wise to spread the message of condemnation of terrorists and the actual peace of Islam. Many are trying if only we could be heard.

12 08 2007
Henrik Ræder Clausen

Umm, we saw masses take to the streets because of the infamous Muhammad cartoons, with a very sincere wish that the publishers of those cartoons should be punished.

And that was merely a set of cartoons, not for violence or killing. If Muslims took to the streets with equal or greater frevor each time anyone kills in the name of Islam, Islamic terrorism would be history very quickly, as anyone involved in cover-ups, support or the actual activities would see how little popular support they have.

I’m afraid western media won’t do the job for the Muslim community. It has to be a sincere and all-encompassing desire to wash the bloody stain of terrorism from Islam.

12 08 2007
Umm Yusuf

I have to say that I agree with you on that one. Muslims should be just as furious (more actually) with terrorists and the damage that they are causing Muslims and Islam. I also agree, it is obvious Muslims are going to have no help in the media.

13 08 2007
A reply « Prism of thoughts ….

[…] So I would like to suggest you read my fellow sister in Islam blog : https://southernmuslimah.wordpress.com/2007/06/16/should-muslims-apologize/ […]

13 08 2007
adikbongsu

Assalamu’alaikum sister,

It is truly an eye-opener reading all the above comments. I’m on the same view as MuniQaba and Amanda.

13 08 2007
Henrik Ræder Clausen

[9/11]: “Are we even one hundred percent sure that it was Muslims that carried out this act?”

Well, at least CAIR (as referenced above) states so, because bin Laden states it, and condemns it completely. I think that should be a pretty good reference for stating with certainty that it was Muslims who did it. One may then call them bad Muslims, but that’s another matter.

For the record, I’m happy about those condemnations by CAIR. Keep ’em coming, and terrorism will fall flat on its stomach.

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