In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
I often wonder from where the wild conspiracy theories that are sometimes rampant among Muslims come. To this day, I listen with incredulity to Muslims who refuse to believe that Muslims were behind the attacks of 9/11. The same is true with other attacks committed by Muslims: in Casablanca, Taba, London, and now (sadly) Sharm El Sheikh. Yet, still, it never ceases to amaze me how someone could look me straight in the eye and deny the fact that there are Muslims who commit horrific acts of terror in our name. I do not think I will ever understand it.
Having said that, however, the London attacks offered a glimpse into a possible reason. When I first learned of the attacks, my heart sank into deep despair. “Not again,” I said to myself. When the alleged perpetrators were identified as home-grown British terrorists, that despair turned into shock and disbelief. And I must admit that the thought – “These people can’t be Muslims!” – did cross my mind, if only briefly.
Yet, why did this happen? Why did that thought – which is the seed of conspiratorial thinking – even make it into my mind? Because I simply can’t put my head around the fact that a Muslim – born and raised in Britain – would put a bomb in a rucksack and ride the Tube and a Bus and kill himself and his fellow Britons. It does not register with my neurons. Yes, I was upset at the invasion of Iraq. Yes, I am not a fan of many aspects of the foreign policy of my government. Yes, I believe America can do better across the world. Nevertheless, I would never, ever, ever even contemplate strapping a bomb on myself and killing my fellow Americans. That thought would never, ever, ever even cross my mind.
Not because I am a doctor, someone who is trained to try and save lives. No. But, because I am a Muslim. I worship and serve Allah, Yahweh, Eli, Eloh, Elohim, Alaha. I worship and serve the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, the Most Merciful. I worship and serve I AM, the One God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Because of that fact, there is absolutely no way I could murder another human being. My Master told me that life is sacred, that I must never take the life of someone else. My Master told me that murdering an innocent person is the same as killing all of humanity. My Master told me to never let the hatred of a people toward me move me to commit injustice or transgression. My Master told me never to fall into the moral cess-pool of “yeah, but.”
My Master never told me that all “infidels” are to be killed. My Master never told me that I am supposed to murder “apostates.” My Master never told me that the “end justifies the means.” My Master never told me that to kill people in a London subway is wrong, but to kill people at a Tel Aviv pizza parlor is okay. No. I am a Muslim, a servant of the One God of all, and He never told me any of those things.
Thus, I simply can not fathom how someone can claim to serve Allah and kill children in Beslan. I simply can not fathom how someone can claim to serve Elohim and kill children in Tel Aviv. I simply can not understand how someone can claim to act in the name of God and bomb London subway trains. I just cannot understand it, because my Master – Allah, Elohim, God – never told me that I can do such a thing.
And I am certain that the overwhelming majority of Muslims believe the exact same thing. Thus, they conclude – in the pain of despair at seeing their faith smeared by the sins of the violent mutant fringe – that the perpetrators of these horrific attacks just cannot be Muslims. This stems from only one thing: denial. Denial can be deadly. I have seen patients present with advanced breast cancer, after any effective treatment can be rendered, who – when asked – first noticed the lump several years previously. It is a very powerful defense mechanism, and there are so many Muslims who suffer from such denial. And being of Egyptian ancestry, I know denial: and believe you me, it is not a river in Egypt.
Yet, we can not afford to be afflicted with denial. Not in this day and age. We must all wake up to the fact that there are Muslims who claim to worship the God of Abraham and kill innocent human beings. In fact, they cry out “Allahu Akbar” while doing it! There are Muslims who brutally behead innocent people under a banner that reads: “There is nothing worthy of worship besides God, and Muhammad is His messenger.” There are Muslims who have absolutely no qualms about blowing themselves up at a resort hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, killing dozens of fellow human beings. It is a painful reality, for sure. But, it is reality nonetheless.
To be honest, this isn’t the first time this sort of cancer has grown within the Muslim body. At the time of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs, the Kharijites maimed and murdered innocent Muslims all the time. They even killed Ali (r) himself. Muslim “insurgents” – from Iraq, of all places – killed Uthman (r), the Prophet’s son-in-law. The soldiers of Al Hajjaj ibn Yusuf killed Al Hussein, the the Prophet’s own grandson. Muslims, despite all the exhortations of their Master, can be particularly brutal. But so can Christians. I mean, it was the “Soldiers of the Cross” who killed the Muslims and Jews of Jerusalem in 1099 until blood was knee-high to the horses. But, brutality is not a Christian trait, or a Jewish trait, or an Islamic trait. It is a human trait, and so long as the followers of religion are human beings, there is going to be violence in the name of religion. It is a painful reality, for sure. But, it is reality nonetheless.
Yes, they absolutely can be Muslims. Even though we don’t understand their logic and reasoning, even though we don’t agree with their religious justification, even though we ardently oppose their tactics, terrorists can most definitely be Muslims. The sooner we wake up to that reality, the sooner we can get working on how to defeat these monsters once and for all.