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Acts of terror have no link to Islam

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By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Two acts of terror this past week demonstrate how the evils of terrorism are often masked by warped religious ideologies. In northwestern Pakistan, a couple of suicide bombers detonated explosives in the vicinity of the All Saints Church in Peshawar’s Kohati Gate district.

The blasts took place just as worshipers were streaming out after church services. More than 60 people died, and another were 120 injured in the powerful blasts which left the city “running out of caskets for the dead and beds for the wounded,” according to Iftikhar Hussain, a former government official who was an eyewitness on the scene. Although no one has claimed credit for this dastardly act, suspicion fell on militant groups that act under the cover of Islam.

In a different continent, another group of terrorists seized and held hostage shoppers at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The Al-Shabab group with known links to Al-Qaeda, killed more than 60 innocent shoppers when they invaded the mall. According to some reports, they claimed to have a multinational attack force in this heinous assault. They boldly put out a list on a social networking site of the names of nine individuals who were among the team of attackers. Three were from the USA, two were Somalis, one was Canadian and one each was from Finland, Kenya and the United Kingdom. In a reported tweet, they claimed that “the attack at Westgate Mall is just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders.”

These two acts of terrorism demonstrate how dangerous these fringe elements have become. Both groups are blatantly using religion as a cover for their abhorrent deeds. And this has many Muslims upset, as their acts are the furthest thing from Islam.

It is refreshing to note that public condemnation of such acts by Muslims everywhere is on the rise. Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif stated that “the terrorists have no religion and targeting innocent people is against the teachings of Islam and all religions. Such cruel acts of terrorism reflect the brutality and inhumane mindset of the terrorists.”

In a widely circulated press release, the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations, condemned the terrorist attacks in Peshawar and Nairobi. Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of AIMMM, said in a statement “that the terrorist attacks on innocents in a church in Peshawar and a commercial mall in Nairobi are the worst examples of anti-Islamic behavior which deserve to be condemned and resisted by all possible means. These crimes by fringe groups working at the behest of powers in their respective regions and beyond are simple terror which in no way is sanctioned by Islam or has the consent of Muslims anywhere in the world…attacking innocent civilians is a plain and simple criminal act against Islam and humanity.”

Shahid Burney from Pune writes: “This act is barbarian, deplorable and Muslims should protest against such acts. This is not what Islam preaches and what we see today. People have become savages and barbarians, merciless killers having no respect for humanity. Shame on them! And more shame on those Muslims who seal their lips and do not utter a word of protest.”

S.H. Moulana from Riyadh refers to both these incidents as “cowardly acts of heartless brutes,” adding that the terrorist actions “have really sickened the entire humanity except those heartless extremists… the innocent are being killed mercilessly but the victims were not aware of why this is happening to them. The women, children and elderly who were the soft targets for these cowards at the Nairobi shopping mall never knew where Somalia was or what Al-Shabab stood for, yet they were killed for no reason. It was the same situation in Peshawar and Baghdad where unarmed worshipers were hunted down without an ounce of sympathy.

“When a small section of illiterate extremists keeps fueling anti-Islam feelings in the world with senseless killings, the peace-loving majority of Muslims find it very hard to convince the international community what Islam really stands for. We urge all Muslim countries to have zero tolerance on those who preach extremism. Muslims and their places of worships have suffered more at the hands of these brutes than at the hands of anyone else and none has tarnished the image of this noble religion, Islam, like these idiots have done. There is no time to waste and we urge Muslim governments and organizations to act now, before things get totally out of control!”

That is why Muslims everywhere cannot afford to sit back and be passive with this cancer in our midst. We must denounce such barbaric actions loud enough for the sounds to reverberate everywhere. Let these terrorists know that their deeds are certainly not Islamic, and there will be no rewards in the hereafter except the burning fires of hell. It is the least we can do for the victims of terrorism everywhere.

[The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)
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