(Libertarian Commentary #16-15B, by Nathan Barton
A young man in Texas has written an article in the Huffington Post, entitled “Five reasons why Muslims should never have to apologize for terrorism,” which has generated a lot of discussion and response. In this article, he makes five points, including a challenge:
1. It is ridiculous, since “my religion teaches peace.”
2. Muslims condemn terrorism and always have.
3. Muslims are at the very forefront of combating terrorism.
4. Muslims are the largest victims of terrorism. (I think he means “the most numerous.”)
5. If Muslims have to apologize for terrorism, then so should everyone else have to apologize for various things that members of their various groups do?
His challenge (tied to his first point) is that he will pay $10,000 for every verse in the Koran that “says it’s okay to kill innocent people or to commit acts of terror.”
It is an interesting article, and most comments I’ve seen take the challenge as their point of attack and denunciation. They quote various verses in the sura (chapters) of the Koran, especially Sura 9, in which Allah seemingly orders combat, killing, executing, and enslaving non-believers, even “people of the Book” (the Koranic term for Jews and Christians). The other four points are pretty much passed over by commentators.
The problem is, of course, definitions. This comes up several ways: What is “peace?” How does he (and others) define “terrorism” and “acts of terror?” And who is “innocent?” And several of his points are just not relevant to his argument, and very selective of the facts used to support his argument.
Peace IS an important aspect of the Islamic faith, but it is defined carefully: peace requires submission to Allah. Those who do not submit, in the approved manner, cannot know peace, and indeed, cannot be allowed to HAVE peace: they are in the land or world of conflict and strife, the “Dar-al-harb.” Just as with Communism the ultimate goal is equal sharing (from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs) but we haven’t gotten there “yet,” so in Islam the ultimate goal is peace through submission to Allah, but it requires conflict (physical and other) to get there, and we aren’t there “yet” because not all have submitted fully to Allah.
Terrorism is not part of Islam, because terrorism does not include acts committed by governments, nor action against those who have not submitted to Allah. (This agrees in part with Western definitions: Governments might be “state sponsors” of terrorism, but not themselves “terrorists.”) Accordingly, any “Islamic government” (such as the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan, or the Islamic State) DON’T commit acts of terror IF they are in full submission to Allah. According to the Koran and Shari’a (Islamic law) their acts are justified as administering justice or waging war on the enemies of Islam. Likewise, those faithful Muslims who are obeying their god and prophet and attacking enemies of Islam are (by their definition) not doing terroristic acts by “serving their god” and “submitting.”
And yes, Muslims are in the forefront of combating terrorism, because most acts of the enemies of Islam are acts of terror. To Muslims, those people who resist or reject Islam are enemies of Islam and therefore NOT innocent: they are terrorists, tools of Satan and demons, and faithful Muslims fight them. This is the reason, I suspect, that this man can offer the reward of $10,000 for each verse: all the verses in Islamic scriptures that talk about killing and cutting off hands and heads and enslaving have as their targets people who are NOT “innocent” as defined by those same holy books. And that includes the smallest of children: they share the sins of their parents.
But it is not just non-Muslims who are not innocent. It includes those Muslims who subscribe to a version of Islam which is not acceptable to those “calling the shots.” To a Shi’a, a Sunni is an evil apostate and enemy of Islam. And vice versa. That applies even more to the much smaller sects of Islam and their adherents. This is also the reason for his next point, about Muslims being the common target of “terrorism.” If you are a Shi’a, and you attack and kill a Sunni, that is NOT terrorism; it is obeying Allah. But if you are a Shi’a and are attacked by a Sunni, that Sunni is committing an act of terrorism; he (or she) is a terrorist. Sunnis are fighting Shi’a terrorism, and Shi’a are fighting Sunni terrorism. And in their attacks on Western nations and people are just fighting the terrorism of the Western nations in their crusade against Islam.
And of course, it is therefore understandable why Muslims are the most numerous victims of terrorism. Actions by Muslims against non-Muslims who do not submit are NOT, by definition, terrorism. Any action against faithful Muslims by non-Muslims or unfaithful Muslims IS terrorism. It all fits very well.
Apologies? His last point is indeed valid, according to the tenets of Islam and progressives. People and groups SHOULD apologize for their past deeds and those of their predecessors in faith, government, and other groups. Americans SHOULD apologize for the brutal attacks on Muslims around the world (and STOP doing it). Americans (not just “white males”) HAVE (mostly) already repented for black slavery, just as Catholics and Anglicans have already repented of persecuting (including killing) people of other religions.
That is, actually, the biggest problem with the young man’s article. The idea that Muslims should never have to apologize for terrorism is a straw man: apologies are meaningless and worthless. What is necessary is REPENTANCE: to STOP initiating and condoning acts of terrorism, to encourage their fellow Muslims to STOP being terrorists against other Muslims and against non-Muslims. But because of what Islam is, that can never happen.