Bombing in Britain
attacks on the London transport system should be
a wakeup call to Muslims living in America and Europe.
We have a problem with extremism, and it is not
going away. Just getting Muslims to concede this
problem exists within our religious community has
taken much longer than it should, but at this point
there is no doubt.
Before the full extent of the casualties was known,
Muslims were circulating e-mails demanding “proof”
that these attacks were not the works of some other
terrorists. By the time I write this, the proof
has become overwhelming. Four British-born Pakistanis
have been identified as the bombers. Their personal
identification has been found in the bomb scenes,
there is video of them arriving in a London train
station carrying rucksacks, a station that all the
bombed subways passed through a few minutes later,
and eyewitnesses describe the bus bomber being agitated
and fiddling with his rucksack moments before the
explosion. To suggest that these four individuals
just happened to have entered London together, split
up innocently, ended up in the exact compartments
destroyed by the bombs on four separate subways
and a bus, and had nothing to do with the attacks,
A few years ago this column denounced suicide bombing,
and noted that eventually the trend will end with
suicide bombers in Muslim cities. That has certainly
come to pass. Whether it be Saudi, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
or Iraq, suicide bombing is now all the rage. In
Iraq, the insurgents (and they are frankly terrorists
by any definition with a shred of logic within it)
have killed 13,000 Iraqi civilians since the fall
of Saddam. This exceeds the total number of Iraqi
civilians and soldiers killed by US firepower since
the start of the Iraq war. The attacks, mostly by
Sunnis against Shia targets, have the goal of inciting
a Shia crackdown on the Sunnis, and further polarizing
the Iraqi state.
In Pakistan the cult of suicide bombing is also
used mainly for sectarian purposes. Attacks against
minority groups have generated great mayhem.
The total lack of logic or rationale behind these
attacks is the most disturbing element of them.
Can anyone describe what exactly is the goal of
the Iraqi insurgents? Restoring Saddam Hussein?
What is the purpose of sectarian violence in Pakistan?
What good does that accomplish? What was the purpose
of the bombers in Britain?
The British bombing is ominous because it was carried
out by British-born Muslims. 9/11 was carried out
by importing the terrorists from the Middle East.
For that degree of extremism to exist in the second
or third generation implies a profound alienation
from the larger society. For a variety of reasons
that is a bigger problem in Europe than it is in
the US, even in relatively open Britain. Certainly
the failure to fully integrate immigrant Muslims
into European society is a huge issue, and a source
of potential recruits for extremism.
For Muslims in America, we need to realize that
this extremist threat represents a colossal danger
to our children and to the future of our religion
in America. If we want Islam to thrive and to be
respected in this society, then Muslims must behave
in a way that warrants respect. We must be outspoken
in our condemnation of the acts of these terrorists,
and of the twisted version of our religion they
use to justify cold-blooded murder. We must also
protect our children from this warped view of Islam.
We must ensure that our children see themselves
as both 100% American and 100% Muslim, and that
the two identities are not contradictory. The leaders
of every mosque in this country must consider this
issue in full.
Does this mean that we must support the policies
of whoever happens to be President? Does this mean
that we must keep our mouths shut and our heads
low? Of course, not. I disagree with much of what
this President has done. This column has attacked
his policies on many occasions. But the proper way
to deal with undesirable policy is through the political
process. We must organize, lobby, raise funds, run
for office, and reach for social, commercial, and
academic excellence. That is the proper way to channel
The suicide bombers are clever. They enlist the
sympathy, and sometimes the support, of the broader
Muslim community by claiming to be standing up to
those who have oppressed Muslims around the world.
They wrap themselves in the mantle of defenders
of the Ummah. But their actions will not yield any
useful result. And to answer oppression with the
murder of innocents is profoundly un-Islamic and
sinful. We are told in the Qur’an to do justice,
“even if it is against ourselves”. This
is a high standard of moral behavior. We must abide
by it, and teach our children what it means to really
be a Muslim. Comments can reach me at Nali@socal.rr.com.