‘Did You Hear About London?’

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

“Did you hear about London?”

“Yeah! They won the 2012 Olympics bid!”

There was a small pause on the other end of the phone. I was a bit confused, so I asked:

“What? Did something else happen?”

“Yeah! Three subway cars and a bus were bombed.”

“Oh my God!”

I was utterly shocked. I was out of town and out of touch for the past week, and I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the world. The news was so grim. I was so upset.

“How could they do such a thing,” I kept asking myself. Every suspicion has fallen upon Al Qaida, even though this has not been confirmed. Still, most people around the world have already concluded that Muslim monsters were behind the July 7 bombings.

As I despaired over the horrible death and destruction left in the wake of the bombings; as I worried about the fate of the scores of innocent Muslims who will become victims of backlash and discrimination; as I contemplated over the continuing spiral of violence in our world today, I could not help but become angry (this is an instance when we should become angry).

This wanton murder of innocents in London is a most vicious desecration of the Qur’an, far worse than what occurred at Guantanamo Bay. It disgusts me that there are people who claim to worship none but the God of Abraham and follow His last messenger Muhammad (pbuh) that would kill other human beings on their way to work.

What about the thousands of innocent Iraqis who were killed by British soldiers? Why aren’t you disgusted by that?

Stop right there. That question – one which I am sure many of you are asking me right now – should have no connection with the London bombings. Yes, I am disgusted by the loss of innocent life, be it in London or Baghdad. But, the fact that innocent Iraqis were killed by the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the inhumanity of killing innocent Britons in the Tube and on that bus. The two should never be connected. Never.

“Never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice…” (5:8). Period.

That question should not be asked in response to my condemnation of the London terrorist attacks. Now, notice that this entire line of argument assumes that Muslims are behind the London carnage. I fully admit that. Yet, what if this turns out not to be true? What if the culprits were fanatical anti-globalization activists? Or animal rights activists? Or environmental activists? Or petty criminals? (However unlikely)

Would that change anything? Absolutely not. Yet, if non-Muslims do turn out to be behind the London attacks, I bet you that a collective sigh of relief will come from Muslims the world over. “Thank God, it was not a Muslim – for once,” Muslims will probably say.

That statement is just as inappropriate as the question about innocent Iraqi dead. The shock, horror, and anger that Muslims feel about these bombings should not diminish one bit if non-Muslims were the murderers. The murder of any innocent human being anywhere should be an affront to every Muslim everywhere. Yet, even though it is not right, I definitely understand the sentiment.

Every time a Muslim commits an act of terrorism, every Muslim becomes a victim. Whether it be eyes of suspicion, or extra scrutiny at the airport, or screams of profanity, or being beaten up or even killed, Muslims who have nothing to do with terror almost always become victims of backlash after terrorist attacks. I feel for the law-abiding, innocent Muslims in Britain. I ask that God give them His strength and protection at this difficult moment.

Still, even though I understand the sentiment, the fact remains: Muslims should always be up in arms when innocents are killed, irrespective of whether the killer is a Muslim or not. In fact, the anger should be more intense whenever a Muslim is behind the act of terrorism. Not to show the suspicious non-Muslims that “we are like you.” But because such an act is so unbecoming of a Muslim; such an act – done in the name of the Qur’an – is an abhorrent desecration of the Qur’an. And that kind of desecration should make every Muslim very angry indeed.


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