In hatred. Not so bad really. Just the usual amount of misinformation to make us sound more violent than the average religious group. I can see CNN's treatment of this now "Violent Center Funded by London, Jihad U."
Below the fold are the detailed notes of comments I gave at St. Bart's yesterday in an inter-faith commemoration of 9/11. I began with the Fatihah. The first prayer is from Abdullah Ansari of Herat. (cross-posted from islamicate.)
Just when we thought
that things couldn’t get any worse, waking up on Thursday morning,
British-Muslims realized that it could. Uncovering what has been called
possibly the greatest potential act of Terrorism carried out on British soil,
British Muslims braced themselves for yet more abuse as 24 British Muslims had
successfully placed Islam and the Muslim community at large, on public trial,
again. US Muslims reacted swiftly to President Bush’s remarks that this plot was a stark reminder that
the free world was under attack from Islamic-Fascists.
In all this madness,
we must remember that the government has 28 days to build a case against those
arrested, so, for now, we assume all are innocent until proven guilty. It’s
quite natural that many people will question the quality of the source(s) of
intelligence given its abysmal track-record: from the the brutal killing of Charles de Menezes to the hundreds of "terror" arrests across the country that have resulted with only seventeen charges; a ricin attack that never was and of course, who can forget the bad taste that was left from the Forest-gatedebacle? Yes,
Muslim in particular will need some convincing
if we are later told that those arrested were actually involved in such a vile
and evil plot. It is also quite possible, as some friends of those arrested have said that they have been mistakenly scooped up. We only need to read the horror stories that are coming from released "prisoners" from Guantanamo to know this is only too real.
So what about
some reflections? What I find so staggering is that the youngest Muslim that
has been arrested is as young as 17.
Averaging about 21-23 years of age, those arrested were in their teens
when 9/11 occurred; maturing (possibly) in a ghettoized environment that is hostile to the West. That environment in which the 19 young
men live in is littered by some real nasty characters. I know that for a fact
because I have spoken to some of them over the past five years. They range from
the angry to the enraged to those blinded by hatred. Yes, foreign policy has been the root of all their anger, but I assume that the government will deny that such a link exists as it did with the 7/7 attacks. Those trying to
rationalize with them are simply written off as collaborators with the
“kuffar”. Try to speak to them about theology or jurisprudence and most of them
would look back to you in puzzlement while some will attempt to quote a hadith
or Quranic verses without understanding the context nor even realising that
there was one. How can converts get mixed up with all this? Well, converts
usually come to the religion with sincere zeal and the real burden of
responsibility lies with those that teach them. I recall reading an essay in
which new converts to Islam were offered courses on the principles of accusing
other Muslims as unbelievers! That course was offered in Luton.
unfolding events behind a lens of conspiracy theories, theological neuroses and
religious illiteracy, it’s quite possible that these men were weaned on such a
deadly cocktail that lead them to tread a path that would end in destruction. It
will be very interesting to see if any of those “born” Muslims who have been arrested
have had any formal training in Islamic law. By examining the actors in the
events from 9/11 to that of 7/7 the trend would indicate that the answer will
be “no”. All the Muslims that committed acts of terrorism either in the US or the UK were Western educated,
university graduated and disciples of the material sciences. They were no
students of Islam. Anyone who has been trained in the sciences of Islam would
clearly be taught that terrorism and the taking of innocent life is clearly
prohibited. However, students of chaos and those weaned on emotions of anger,
hatred and rejection would have been told that they have full permission to do
to others what they do to us. Of course, this isn’t a Prophetic teaching; it’s
more in line with the teachings of a violent ideology.
So I'm watching CNN yesterday, Aug. 10, and I hear Christiane Amanpour say that many young Muslims in the West believe that 9/11, 7/7, and now the new attacks on planes were plots by Western governments in order to start a war with Islam.
O Muslims in the West, are you stupid?
1. The West has the wherewithal to plot such destructive events against their own people, including American and British Muslims, and the ability to keep it secret, but not so secret that we can't figure it out. That means we are stupid for not stopping it. It also means we are stupid for not saving the lives of our brothers and sisters who died. The basic premise to this argument is that Muslims are too stupid to have carried out anything of this scale. Therefore, we are stupid.
2. Muslims did do all these things. We are too stupid to recognize we did it. We are too stupid to recognize the value of human life. We are too stupid to recognize that the sanctity of human life is mentioned in all the scriptures of the Abrahamic traditions (see 5:32). We are too stupid to confront it head on.
Traditionally I have not commented on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. As you can tell by Who You?'s and Ghost Dog's posts, it's not a site-wide reluctance. My reluctance has stemmed from the belief that the issue is too emotionally charged to have a meaningful conversation on the issue without having to spend a lot of time cleaning the mud off and fighting the fires from flames. I am not personally invested in the issue; to me, as I would argue to most Muslims, the fight is not between Muslims and Jews. It is between Israelis and Palestinians. I am invested in the issue as much as I am in issue of social justice; this is part of the faith. However, recognizing social injustice does not mean placing blame on only one party, but recognizing that injustice can be carried out by all parties.
So I have not written about Israel and Palestine. There will always be an assumption that as a Muslim, no matter what I say, it will always favor the Palestinians. The logic being that since Palestinians are Muslim, there is a herd mentality that forces us all to cheer each other on. Of course, the Palestinian people are also Christian, as witnessed by Hanan Ashrawi and Edward Said, two of the most well-known interlocutors of the Palestinian people. In addition, to suggest that Muslims have a herd mentality is part of the larger demonizing mentality against Muslims.
Qana changed my mind. The loss of human life, on both sides, came to me to in such a visceral way that I cannot explain. People like the Dove feel this in a way I do not. I cannot and will not claim to have that attachment to any of the lands at play. I have a strong religious affiliation with Jerusalem. I felt at a loss for words and a way when the images came forth.
I was speaking to the Xpatriated Texan about the situation. I told him that we had a generation who remembered that people of different faiths used to live together. That generation is now dying, so we have a generation that knows nothing but hate for each other and conflict with one another. Not everyone is willing to look for a lemon tree. But we need to avoid transmitting hate to a new generation.
My tag book for the coming week, as I reflect on war, and the role of religion – the conflict is not between religions, but I believe that religion can offer a way forward – will be the following: