Thursday, December 13, 2007

I condemn suicide bombings

The other day as my daughter in law was lecturing on "Islam in America" to a group of Social studies teachers, one participant became very red in the face and hot under the collar. " How come", he questioned, "the Muslims do not come out and condemn suicide bombings." This is a subject that I have heard many right wing people complain about and the Jews are besides themselves in my community about the unfairness and criminality of Suicide Bombings, particularly as they are targeted towards innocent civilians. My liberal Muslim friends are also quite embarrassed about this accusation and echo the same question as the social studies teacher. In fact for this and other reasons my liberal Muslim friends have turned against Islam and and are ready to throw out the baby with the bath water.

I have therefore decided as a Muslim to condemn this act. Mind you the Pope as head of the Catholic church came out quite forcefully against attacking Iraq but the US paid no heed to him. It is therefore unlikely that my condemnation or that of the Ayatollah or other Muslim group of scholars will likely dissuade the Suicide bombers, but the truth must be told. Fairness demands that what is unjust and criminal must be branded as such.

At the same time let me condemn in no uncertain terms that I find reprehensible, the acts of the State of Israel in killing Innocent civilian Palestinians,men, women and children, in deliberately maiming and breaking their bones, in illegally appropriating their lands, in creating homelessness by demolishing their homes, in imposing collective punishment on the Palestinians by denying them water, electricity and tax revenues, by creating roadblocks and bantustans making their daily lives a misery and hell on earth.

I do not blame the Jews for this because these acts are equally reprehensible in Judaism. I do not feign ignorance of Judaism as my own beliefs are inspired by Judaism. I visit temples and Jewish synagogues and get confirmation that Judaism does not sanction the killing of innocent men, women and children. I am not looking for statements from Rabbi's to tell me this. Further proof of this is to be found in the overall condemnation by the Jews of suicide bombings. Surely they would not visit on others what they find repugnant by others.

I would not expect the State of Israel to condemn their own practices but do so only because they claim to be a Jewish state. I do expect their Rabbis to take out processions in Israel to stop this blatant violation of their own beliefs. If the State of Israel was not a Jewish State, I would not expect any such condemnation because I would understand this to be a political matter and not a Religious one. Similar to Israel, the State of Pakistan claims to be a Muslim State, but they practice torture which is not allowed in Islam, have laws that oppress minorities, which is not allowed by Islam. The State of Egypt does not claim to be an Islamic State and they torture people as a matter of routine but for them it is a political matter. Their religious scholars dare not point out that what they do is un Islamic for fear of being tortured themselves. The US is a Secular State and they practice torture although their constitution and their President say that torture is not allowed, but they are still breaking the laws of man and not the laws of God. It is an unwritten law for them that the end justifies the means. Under this belief any thing can be done if the cause is just.

The Muslim Religion is very strong against the taking of innocent lives. I have not heard a different view from any learned Muslim Scholar or even from my Secular Muslim friends. It is true that many of the suicide bombers may have done this as an act of desperation because they saw their brothers, mothers, sisters, fathers killed in front of their eyes, either by Israeli soldiers or American soldiers. Some of them may have become desperate when they saw their friends, their countrymen, their co coreligionist's not just killed or maimed before them but their homes and countries attacked, destroyed, ravaged, and their own lives made impotent and meaningless.

Islam does allow taking up arms in self defense. Islam does allow that you protect yourself and your faith by every means available to you. Islam still does not allow the taking of Innocent lives. In Islam, the end does not justify the means. It is not "suicide bombings" that are criminal. It is the target of the bomber. People who happen to be innocent bystanders. going about their daily lives. If the target were an opposing army or the direct oppressor, there would be some justification for this act but not for attacking women and children. If Muslims did the same thing to the Israelis as the Israelis do to them, then the faith of the Muslims is as weak as that of the Jews.

I try not to impress my views on my daughter in law because for saying half of what I have said today, she could lose her job. She could be ostracised by society and perhaps never find a job in the teaching profession in this country. She would certainly never be invited to speak to other teachers even about Islam. At a minimum she would be called antisemitic. Maybe none of this will happen, after all this is a free society, but she is concerned because it has happened to others. The Principal of a high school in New York was recently forced to resign because she explained the Arabic translation of the word Intefada.

Yet all I have done is to say that I condemn suicide bombings. Fortunately my daughter in law is smarter than I am. She keeps her distance from my writings.



Sultan said...

Dear Khusro,

You have articulated the view about suicide bombings and the consequent "collateral damage" caused to innocent civilians. Even if it were possible to carry out such bombing with pin point accuracy it would still be wrong in Islam so long as suicide and innocent civilians were involved.

The Qur'an states that:"Permission to fight is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and God is able to give them victory.Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly, for no cause other than for saying: Our Lord is God." [X XII, 39-40]

While these verses can not be stretched to the point of legitimizing suicide bombings it is not hard to imagine why an orphaned Palestinian youth who has lived a wretched life reaches the point of insanity or reaches the point where he or she conclude that it would be better to blow themselves up then to continue to live the way they have been since the late 40's.

If the Palestinian people had the means to use UAVs such as Predators and Reapers - in order to avoid collateral damage - they would not resort to guerrilla tactics and suicide bombings. Part of the reason Israel was created was because the British got worn out with the unrelenting terrorist attacks perpetrated by prominent Jewish guerrilla fighters such as Begin, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and many others. All these folks were referred to as terrorists by MPs during their deliberations in Parliament - this is on record at Hansards.

During WWII the Japanese air force introduced the highly effective kamikaze's who loaded their planes with as much explosive as the plane could carry and then suicided by exploding the aircraft on to the allied war ships. So neither guerrilla warfare nor suicide as a means of warfare is new. The old adage 'every thing is fair in love and war' should be borne in mind.

The question that should be asked is not why Muslims don't vociferously condemn those driven to such depths of despair that they have no reason to want to live; but why the US is not more equitable and brings an end to the illegitimate occupation of Palestinian lands.

You also wrote the following sentence. Is the the word 'not' in the bold phrase a typo? As the laws of God also
reject torture in no uncertain terms.

"The US is a Secular State and they practice torture although their constitution and their President say that torture is not allowed, but they are still breaking the laws of man and not the laws of God."

Kind regards,


Khusro Elley said...

Dear Sultan

Thanks for your comments. There is no typo. A Secular State by definition has no religion and no God. When they break laws, they only break their own man made laws, not Christian laws or Jewish Laws or Muslim laws. If God's laws are not part of the state, they cannot break God's laws. They are only answerable therefore for breaking their own laws and not God's laws.

I will not go here into the pros and cons of Secularism nor can I say that because God's laws are sacred there is less of a likelihood of their being broken because in the essay I have pointed out that Muslims and Jews are just as quick if not quicker to break sacred laws.


Pearlie said...

Well written article.