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: