Once again Islam, the largest religion on Earth, is under scrutiny for being a violent religion that encourages violence towards non-Muslims. The latest example being used against Muslims is the massacre which occurred at Charlie Hebdo, a satire magazine based in Paris which specializes in desecrating things held sacred by others.
On January 7, 2015, masked gunmen swarmed into the office of Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people while shouting Allaahu Akbar, Arabic for God is the greatest. Not only did they kill people who were employed by the newspaper and visitors there, but also police officers as well. This immediately caused an uproar within France and once again Islam and all Muslims were placed under the microscope of blame for this heinous atrocity.
The magazine is famous for images and articles ridiculing people and religions that are deemed as sacred to their followers. There were two images in particular that caused outrage amongst Muslims and anyone with a conscious: One was an image of Prophet Muhammad the Prophet revered by Muslims, the second image depicted was that of an Arab Muslim who is holding the Qur;an, the sacred text of the Muslims, while he is being riddled with bullets. These images understandable caused outrage and protests, and anyone with a conscious should protest or write about some atrocities in the name of the freedom of speech, but that does not give anyone the right to kill someone over these images. Freedom of speech was never intended to be used to abuse another people, but instead was intended for people to be able to speak about issues affecting them and to speak about government policies that they disagree with without fear of reprisal. This is a subject to be spoken about in another article which I will follow up with.
Islam does not permit the murder of anyone, in fact the Quran in Surat 5:32 says that if you murder one person you murder all of mankind, and if you save the life of one person then you save the life of all of mankind. The beloved Prophet of Islam said that a Muslim is not allowed to harm a non-Muslim even by their spoken word. He also said that if any Muslim harms a non-Muslim even by their spoken word then they have him to answer to on the Day of Judgment. Islam does not tolerate violence at all. Muslims are allowed to defend themselves, their families, their land, and countries but they are not allowed to legislate or to do violence to someone just because they disagree with that person’s message. The proper response would have been to do what our Prophet said and to take a wrong action and to return it with a good action.
When people make these kind of images they are looking for a reaction. This is what they want. So when a terrorist responds they say, “See I told you that they are terrorists”. Then all of the Muslims are under scrutiny, they get questions, mosques are attacked in retaliation, and Muslim women are scared to go out in public. In Palestine, some person will go and kill two Israelis, then there is a massive reaction where homes get bulldozed, women and children are killed, and women get raped in retaliation, then the Palestinians say that the people who were killed are martyrs. Nobody knows who is a martyr or not. Violence begets violence and will put people in a never-ending cycle of violence.
The Prophet of Islam warned all Muslims about the danger of the Khawaraj, this is the proper name of the terrorists. He referred to them as the Dogs of Hell and the worst of all people. The Khawaraj were behind the killing of Ali, and have created problems in Islam since the time of the Prophet’s death. They are now seen in groups such as ISIS aka Daa’ish, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations. There have been physical descriptions in Hadith literature about these groups, and all Muslims have been warned against them. The top Muslim scholars have performed Takfir on these groups which means that they have been kicked out of the Muslim religion.
It is crucial that Muslims and non-Muslims alike educate themselves and the youth against these groups. It is important to know what to look for, signs for their behaviors so that they can be monitored and stopped. Muslims need to work with their local authorities, no matter where they are to turn in these people when they speak about or call to violence. Muslims should be the front line in protecting their communities from these extremists’ nefarious intentions.
As an American Muslim I am often asked why don’t the Muslims speak out against these groups or fight against them. They have been speaking out against them. Imams on mosques give out literature warning us against these groups. Fatwas or religious rulings are given out against these groups but there is a lack of coverage within the media. The media had a biased slant to paint all Muslims as terrorists when these terrorists kill Muslims more than any other group.