In The Name Of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord
In the aftermath of the terrible shooting of police officers in New York City, writer Mychal Denzel Smith wrote in The Nation:
The entire chain of events is tragic. Brinsley’s heinous actions have been condemned from all corners. But that hasn’t stopped some people from placing the blame for Liu and Ramos’s death on the current nationwide anti-police brutality movement, flying under the banner “Black Lives Matter.”
He also quoted a statement by a group called Ferguson Action:
Unfortunately, there have been attempts to draw misleading connections between this movement and today’s tragic events. Millions have stood together in acts of non-violent civil disobedience, one of the cornerstones of our democracy. It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own. Today’s events are a tragedy in their own right. To conflate them with the brave activism of millions of people across the country is nothing short of cheap political punditry.
This, of course, is correct and should apply to all such situations. When it comes to Muslims, however, there is this persistent desire to tie all Muslims and Islam to the actions of a small minority of criminals.
Thus, CNN’s Don Lemon asks Muslim human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar, “Do you support ISIS?” Many Right-wing anti-Muslim activists are saying, “I told you so!” And, of course, people are asking – once again – “Where are the Muslim voices of condemnation?” (Here they are, but some can’t – or do not want to – listen).
And as Katie Halper of Raw Story correctly said:
Interestingly, as a Jew, I don’t usually get asked to condemn extremism when it is perpetuated by Jewish fundamentalists like Baruch Goldstein, who shot 29 praying Muslims do death, and injured 125, at the Cave of the Patriarchs, or Yigal Amir, who killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Yet, Muslims constantly do get asked because, for some reason, many people cannot understand that the terrorism committed by Muslims should not tar Islam, even if the terrorists shout “Allahu Akbar” and say “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad.”
Yet, the truth is that the overwhelming majority of Muslims have nothing to do with the actions of the criminal few that have caused so much damage across the world. In fact, Muslims all over the world work every single day to bring good and help make it a better place.
Case in point: Ahmed Merabat, the French police officer who was killed at point blank range by one of the gunmen in Paris. He was guarding the offices of Charlie Hebdo on the day of the attack, and he was killed in the process. A Muslim died defending the very newspaper that maligned his faith.
This should come as no surprise. Muslims the world over are not only revulsed by the actions of the barbarians (“extremist” is too kind a word), but they are frequently the victims of said barbarians. Officer Merabat was one of those victims. I am proud to be his brother in faith, and may God keep his soul and grace him with His Mercy.
And there were other Muslims like Office Merabat: Muslims such as Waleed Shaalan, a graduate student at Virginia Tech who died while distracting the gunman to save a fellow student; and Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a firefighter who died as a first responder on 9/11. Stories of Muslims like these far outnumber the stories of the barbarians who kill in the name of Islam.
Indeed, there are more voices making this call – not to tie all Muslims with the actions of the few criminals acting in their name – such as Nicholas Kristof, who recently wrote:
So let’s avoid religious profiling. The average Christian had nothing to apologize for when Christian fanatics in the former Yugoslavia engaged in genocide against Muslims. Critics of Islam are not to blame because an anti-Muslim fanatic murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011.
Let’s also acknowledge that the most courageous, peace-loving people in the Middle East who are standing up to Muslim fanatics are themselves often devout Muslims. Some read the Quran and blow up girls’ schools, but more read the Quran and build girls’ schools. The Taliban represents one brand of Islam; the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai the polar opposite.
And there were those wonderful citizens in Australia who stood by their fellow Muslim citizens with the hashtag #Illridewithyou following the attack on the cafe in Sydney. I pray more follow in their footsteps.
In the aftermath of the Paris attack, I proudly tweeted with the hashtag “JeSuisCharlie,” or “I am Charlie,” even though I wholly disagree with their maligning my beloved Prophet Muhammad. That is because, no matter what they said about the Prophet, nothing justifies the murder of their journalists. That is no way to show love for the Prophet Muhammad and his teachings.
But, I am also very proud and blessed to say “JeSuisAhmed,” or “I am Ahmed,” in honor of the courageous French Muslim officer who died in the attack in Paris. His story shows the whole world that, for every one barbarian killing in the name of Islam, there are tens of millions of peaceful Muslims standing up and yelling loud and clear, in French and every other language of the world: Non! Pas en mon nom! Pas maintenant, ni jamais!, which is to say: “No! Not in my name! Not now, not ever!”