In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Time and and time again, I am contacted by people wondering why I – and the "silent majority" of Muslims – have not condemned the violence perpetrated against innocent people by "Muslims" in the name of Islam. I put the word Muslims in quotes because anyone who kills innocent people, to me, cannot truly be a Muslim. The specific act of violence varies, but the accusation against Muslims is the same: you so-called "moderate" Muslims do not – and have not – condemned the violence in the name of Islam.
Now, this is not true. Muslims have condemned terrorism and indiscriminate violence ad infinitum. The condemnations, however, are not heard, and we are accused of being "silent" in the face of the vicious murder and violence committed in Islam's name. In addition, no other group, except Muslims, has been repeatedly asked to condemn the acts of the criminals among them. Most people understand that the actions of the few do not reflect the truth of the many…except when it comes to Muslims. This framework implicitly accuses ordinary Muslims of complicity in said acts of violence if they do not shout out condemnations every single time some Muslim somewhere does something wrong. This is untenable.
Having said that, however, I do want to express to people my sincere feelings about the murder of people in the name of Islam. I have repeatedly written about how Islam does not sanction violence against the innocent, that there is no cogent understanding of the sacred texts of Islam that would lead someone to justify the murder of innocent people. I have repeatedly written that Muslims are not called to "kill all the infidels," or even to hate all non-Muslims. My convictions about this issue run to the deepest recesses of my soul, and my repugnance for deliberate violence against the innocent runs through every cell of my body.
Yet, once and for all, let me express – in no uncertain terms – my unequivocal rejection and condemnation of any violence perpetrated against any innocent man, woman, or child. I condemn this violence irrespective of the motivation, and I reserve the harshest repugnance for the religious motivation; I reserve the harshest condemnation against anyone who would use the sacred garbs of religion as a cloak to cover the evil of taking an innocent life. I condemn this violence whether it be perpetrated by individuals, groups, organizations, or states.
My motivations for this comes from the Qur'an itself – the book which is repeatedly accused of calling for wanton murder. In the Qur'an, it says in many verses that human life is sacred. This is just one of them:
And do not take a life that God has made sacred, except for just cause. (17:33)
In no way, shape, or form can the deliberate murder of innocent men, women, and children be described as a "just cause." Never. Furthermore, I subscribe to the concept that to take an innocent life is like killing all of humanity:
If anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. (5:32)
The life of every human being – Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, etc. – is sacred and has an inherent dignity, for all human beings were created in the image of God. It is, therefore, condemnable when anyone – or anything – deliberately targets innocent human beings for murder, and I condemn it unequivocally. I make this condemnation in perpetuity, for all times and for all circumstances.
I ask the Precious Lord God, as well as all you here, to bear witness to this my perpetual condemnation.