A Disgrace Upon Islam

Finally, in the wake of the barbaric killing of innocent children in Russia, the blinders that have kept the Muslim world from seeing the cancer within its midst are coming off. The killers at the children’s school in Beslan were not Chechen “separatists.” They were not Muslim “militants.” They were “Islamo-fascist killers,” pure and simple. Such killers revel in death. They pick the times when they can kill the most people on the subways, in their offices, in restaurants, in schools or on buses. They slit throats, shoot children in the back or blow themselves up, trying to create as much blood and carnage as possible. We must call them by their true name, but that alone is not enough. More is required. Across the Muslim world the past several weeks have finally seen a clear and long overdue change in Islamic _expression. There is a realistic introspection unseen before. Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote in an editorial titled, “The Painful Truth: All of the World’s Terrorists are Muslim” in the pan-Arab daily, Asharq Al-Awsat: “Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture.” Russian Muslims – granted, aided by state-controlled media assistance and a workers union endorsement – impressively brought out upwards of 40,000 Muslim faithful to a Rally Against Terror in Moscow. But as we know here in Phoenix, rallies are only a start in creating a new consciousness. Every time I have the privilege of praying with my Muslim brothers and sisters in devotional prayer, I feel a perfect harmony and solace of thought and movement as we bow and say God’s praises together. While my faith is very personal, without that group energy, my religion is not complete. But with spiritual enjoyment and fulfillment comes equal responsibility. Moderate, moral Muslims may see these Islamo-fascists as far removed from our reality; however, the unforgiving reality of this world is that we are responsible as a group for our weakest as well as our most corrupt and deranged. These killers are committing incomprehensibly evil acts in the name of my religion across the world, and because of that, I and my fellow Muslims should atone for their actions. I think it would be totally fitting for Muslims to erect a monument to stand eternally in memorial like that which was done for all those who lost their lives in Vietnam and other wars. On it would be the names of every man, woman and child who has lost their lives due to Islamo-fascism. The only tie that would bind the lives memorialized therein would be the fact that they were all lost at the hands of Islamo-fascists. A memorial is more lasting over generations in its impact than any editorial, speech, sermon or rally. With our effort, we could show the world and ourselves that those names from all around the globe are not forgotten. They would be remembered and honored as innocent souls whose lives were snuffed out by barbaric, un-Islamic – in fact, anti-Islamic – cruelty. The memorial would remain as living testimony to the search for forgiveness from the non-Muslim world of the Muslim faithful for the actions of its deranged criminal few. Denial and blinders are checked at the door, with atonement gained within. This column originally appeared in the print version of the Arizona Republic on September 26, 2004 [M. Zuhdi Jasser is a Phoenix physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He can be reached at Zuhdi@aifdemocracy.org or at www.aifdemocracy.org]

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