Thursday, July 7, 2011

Can't Please the Haters: The Catch-22 of Condemning Terrorism.

Despite having a track record of condemning terrorism and violence, Muslims are often accused of not doing enough to condemn such acts. When Muslims do condemn such acts, it creates a catch-22.

The comments posted in response today's article I wrote unequivocally condemning terrorism and explaining how terrorism goes against the Islamic sacred text and teachings  are a clear example of this.

Many of the responses I received were along the lines, "Well then why are so many terrorists Muslims"..."There is something inherently wrong with Islam and that is a fact" and other hateful comments. Why? Because they take the acts of a few and blame it on an entire faith and people.

At that point what response is there but to offer the overwhelming data and evidence based on quantitative political science studies that show:
  1. Terrorists are not motivated by religion.
  2. Terrorism is often the result of war and occupation not religious differences.
  3. Violent and Terrorist acts are committed by people of all faiths and cultures
  4. Muslims are no more violent as a whole than any other group.
  5. Most terrorist attacks have not even been committed by Muslims.
But then when we make the above points, those that hate Islam then falsely claim we are "justifying" terrorism or sympathizing with terrorists. There is no way to win with these people absent condemning an entire faith for the acts of a few criminals.

So here is the bottom line:
  1. The Islamic text is absolutely against murder or terrorism against people of any faith.
  2. Terrorism is never acceptable or justifiable.
  3. If you respond to me by saying "well why have Muslims committed terrorism & why are so many terrorists Muslim," I will respond showing you evidence that terrorism is not the result of religion, but of political grievances (which none nonetheless do not justify the terrorist acts) and that statistically Muslims are not more prone to terrorism or other crimes than people of any faith [and thus you can't blame the faith] and stereotyping is wrong and ignorant.  Me saying that in no way justifies or sympathizes with terrorism. My argument still stands that Islam and the overwhelming majority of Muslims are against terrorism and those that twist the faith to justify their actions are no different than criminals of any other faith that do the same.
As a helpful example, Jesus (peace be upon him) did not allow people to kill abortion doctors or blow up abortion clinics. The fact that a Christian extremest has done so, does not mean the teachings of Jesus approve it. 

Again to be absolutely clear,
  1. Islam is against terrorism.
  2. The amount of Muslims engaged in terror are no more than people of other faiths
  3. Those Muslims that do commit terrorist acts are not doing so because of their faith but their political ideologies and do not represent the faith.
  4. The acts are not justifiable, nonetheless. 
  5. Understanding the true causes of terrorism, and that religion is not the problem, is not in anyway justifying or condoning such terrible acts. 
Unfortunately, it is not enough for me simply to say that Islam is against terrorism, period, and stop there. Because the haters will then point out the acts of terror committed by some terrorists who were Muslim. That is why we must also explain that their acts were not done because of Islam.

As a student of political science and a law graduate, when I explain the causes of terrorism it is in no way to justify it, but only to explain that it is not caused by my faith.

Another valid response is to point out the terrible crimes done by people of other faiths- like the Inquisition, Enslavement of Africa, Which Hunts, etc. done by people of the Christian faith- and say, hey, just like we don't consider Christianity evil for the many crimes committed in its name, we should not say that about Islam either. The point in saying that is in no way to detract Christianity, but point out the fallacy in the argument that Islam is evil because some Muslims committed wrong. 


  1. Hmm, well-put. Remember me? This is Daren C. from long ago, the Model EU in Turkey! I've kept up with your blogs via Facebook, but this is my first post.

    First- I do like the point you make that most terrorism is not motivated (truly) by religion, though it may be justified by it if you choose to interpret the text that way. What I really like about what you said though, is that though terrorism's source is still ultimately political, it still does not justify it. Many Muslims I've talked with on this will quickly explain terrorism as un-Islamic, and then by a loud silence, fail to condemn it. It's clearly wrong no matter what its motivations, and many people fail to appreciate that...

    Keep writing, I'll keep reading-

  2. Of course I remember you Daren! Many Thanks for the important comment!Very nice to hear from you.