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Imam Zaid Shakir | Letter to would be Mujahid

Imam Zaid Shakir



Cross-posted from New Islamic Directions

Recent developments have forced me to put some things on hold to write you this letter. You might ask how I know you. I have met you at student events, in mosques, and at conferences. I have listened to your arguments and I have made my counter arguments. Often times, my arguments have been somewhat formal. I figured I would write you a letter, since that is a lot more personal and less formal. Perhaps this way you will be more inclined to listen.

To begin with, whenever you are criticized for your bloody, anarchistic ideology, you point to the bloody abuses of the American war machine or their Zionist accomplices. This diversionary tactic on your part does not impress serious and thoughtful people. It is simply an abdication of your moral responsibility. It is as if you are saying you reserve the right to violate established Islamic principles, such as those guaranteeing the protection of innocent life, because the American military or the IDF do no respect innocent Muslim life. That would be a credible argument if the American military or the IDF claimed to be operating on the basis of Islamic principles. They don’t, but you do. I hope, without further elaboration, you can immediately sense the moral dilemma you are creating for yourself.

Along those lines, please allow me to remind you of something else. Your misguided attempts to kill and maim innocent Americans only make it easier for the American military to kill more Muslims with greater impunity. Your actions help to create a political climate that removes any moral restraint from the actions of the American military, the IDF and soon the forces of India’s increasingly Hindu nationalist armed forces. You see, fear is a very potent emotion and when it is carefully manipulated it can lead to very irrational politics. That most extreme form of those politics is called genocide.

Fear can be especially dangerous when it is combined with another emotion, insecurity. You are so divorced from reality that you probably haven’t noticed that a lot of Americans are extremely insecure right now. Especially, the white middle class or what is left of it. They don’t know if they will soon lose their homes, if they will have a job tomorrow, if their money will be in the bank next week, if they will be able to send their children to college or if their retirement funds will be stolen or totally devalued. Those insecurities combined with the spectre of the ‘Muslim terrorist next door’ are a lethal combination that a group of people called demagogues is exploiting to justify an all out war on Muslims.

Those demagogues use the fear of you to prevent people from building the kind of grassroots, popular, movements that are necessary to challenge the corporate rape of our society and from challenging the destructive logic of permanent war. For example, remember the growing movement to challenge the new invasive TSA screening procedures at airports? Did you notice how it disappeared after the would-be mujahid in Portland allowed himself to be trapped into the scheme to blow up the Christmas tree ceremony? Do you think the timing was accidental? It is a shame that you and your ilk are so mindlessly complicit in such schemes.

Now you think the mujahideen can win an all out war against the Americans. Look at what the mujahideen are doing to them in Afghanistan. Sorry, but Afghanistan is not what all out war looks like. I’ll give you a clue what all out war looks like. Remember a couple years ago when the Israelis were bombarding the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Muslims, for all of their courage, couldn’t do anything except appeal to outside powers to stop the carnage? Or a few years before that when Jenin was flattened? Think of the scale of that devastation expanded to encompass all of the major cities of the Muslim world. Imagine America unleashing a new generation of ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons being designed to be used specifically against Muslims targets raining down on Muslim capitals and there is no Muslim strategic deterrent available to stop it. AK-47s and RPGs will be of no avail. Imagine the calls to human rights organizations to stop the slaughter finding no ears to hear them because the neo-fascist forces your stupidity has helped to unleash have swept those organizations away in its maddening torrent.

I have heard you counter that such an argument is a manifestation of a lack of faith. God has promised the believers victory. Indeed, He has. However, it is very pretentious of you to assume that someone who murders women, children and innocents with blazon impunity in the Name of God are the believers that victory has been promised to. He has promised the believers victory, but that promise is not unconditional. God is not going to give victory to people who murder in His Holy Name.

I applaud your courage, but how it manifests itself puzzles me. You have the courage to fly halfway around to world to engage in an armed struggle, but you do not have the courage to knock on your neighbor’s door to explain Islam to him or to give him your take on world affairs. I am also baffled at how you can smile in his face, but are ready to blow him up if he happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. What calculus do you use to assume he would not be amenable to your message? What has he done to you to be the target of your bloodlust?

You claim a refined understanding of Islam, so refined that you can make grave decisions concerning life and death, decisions with huge strategic implications, yet you seem to perceive nothing of the divine wisdom of your being in this country. You have an opportunity to be an educator at a time people are looking for a new way. You have an opportunity to be a guide at a time people are looking for a new direction. You have an opportunity to provide a source of spiritual solace at a time people are confused, angry and afraid. You have an opportunity to be a fierce advocate for truth at a time when lies are transforming the image of your religion and the direction of your country. You have the skills, the command of the language, the knowledge of the people to do all of that and more, but you choose to run away from this battle to join one you do not even know who the commander is.

Did I say that? To join a battle you do not even know who the commander is. No! I didn’t say that. Do you think that if the FBI can send fake mujahids into mosques all around America to find confused, vulnerable Muslims, develop fake bomb plots, with fake bombs, for very real political objectives, the CIA couldn’t do the same thing abroad? No, wait a minute. Didn’t the CIA build the Afghan mujahideen network? Didn’t what’s his name, Zbigniew Brzezinski, describe the Afghan operation as the CIA’s finest hour?

They would never use fake mujahids, operating through fake websites, to recruit confused and desperate Muslim youth to engage in operations that keep the climate of fear alive, would they? They wouldn’t do that to keep support for bloodsucking, treasury-draining wars alive at a time when there is no money for the poor, the elderly, health-care, education, infrastructure or investment in the green economy. No! It’s preposterous. Those would be psychological operations (psych ops) and that would be cheating. America never cheats, we’re the good guys!

I apologize, I’m tripping. On a serious note, I hope you don’t one day end up feeling as stupid and abused as young Antonio Martinez or Mahomed Osman Mohamud, the Somali kid in Oregon, are probably feeling right now. They have been tricked, deceived, used, and abused by fake mujahids and then thrown in a dungeon to rot for the rest of their lives. Do you think your fate will be any different? Don’t be a fool.


Imam Zaid Shakir



  1. Avatar

    Ashraf Ali

    December 16, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Subhannalah. Alhamdullilah. La illahah Illallah!

    Incredible. May Allah grant you Paradise for this clear and succinct letter.

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    brother Kaminari

    December 16, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    such articles help to think twice –

    arigato and shoukran , barakallahu fik

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    Mansoor Ansari

    December 16, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    I am confused, is this addressed to those who were taking part in attacks on innocent bystanders or those who are attacking the military of countries that are occupying Muslim countries? Till the article was targeting the prior group I followed you but when u changed tracked and started targeting those who fighting the occupiers u lost me!

    Now you think the mujahideen can win an all out war against the Americans. Look at what the mujahideen are doing to them in Afghanistan.

    It was the rag tag mujahideen who defeated a USSR. And USSR was far more brutal than America is. How was it possible then not now? If the answer is that other Muslim countries were officially helping the mujahideen with money & men, then why not do the same now to defeat the current occupiers & colonizers?

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      December 17, 2010 at 12:36 AM

      Actually it was the American-funded, Israeli-weaponized “rag tag mujahideen” that defeated the USSR. Read a history book.

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        Mansoor Ansari

        December 17, 2010 at 8:41 AM

        The funds came from the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia in particular! And America supplied the stinger, rest were the weapons came from Pakistan or thru blackmarket just like they do now.

        One would be right to say America legitimized their fight in the eyes of the western world by openly advocating for them!

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          December 17, 2010 at 10:08 AM

          The mujahideen were supported by the Americans – that alone brings along a great deal of influence and strength.

          It is a useless delusion to think that
          1. The Muslim’s would ever be able to achieve that sort of unity even if they wanted to – If they could, they wouldn’t be occupied in the first.
          2. That they would ever be able to defeat the United States and it’s allies.
          The United States could wipe out the whole Middle East if they wanted to. To think that somehow it is as simple as “defeating” the “occupiers” is somewhat delusional.

          If you look at the attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, you would notice that these suicide bombers who blow themselves up in the middle of a market end up killing the Muslims themselves. This shows that they really have no care for the masses of the Muslims. The ‘Muslim’ governments are corrupt, and their countries are slowly sinking under this facade of ‘Westernization’ and ‘progress’. Somehow, we think that a couple of nice skyscrapers and a halal McDonalds means our countries have somehow improved. Unfortunately, the same blatant human rights violations continue, and the governments continue to prove themselves more un-Islamic than the American government is sometimes.

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            Mansoor Ansari

            December 17, 2010 at 2:45 PM


            Yes, in Iraq there are/were who blow themselves up in the middle of a market end up killing the Muslims themselves. But many more exist who attacked the occupation forces and continue to do so.

            The Afghanis can defeat the occupiers as they have done to other superpowers before. Afghanis have time on their side while the occupiers don’t!

            In fact, one should thank the Iraqi mujahideen for their efforts. It does look like they lost the war but they saved at least two more countries from being invaded – Iran & Syria. After the bloody nose they got in Iraq and how their lfe has become hell, they would not dare to attack another Muslim country without thinking a million times abt it!

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        Jack Fertig

        December 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM

        The fall of the Soviet Union under its own gross inefficiency was inevitable, but the war in Afghanistan drained it enough to hasten its demise, just as American wars in Vietnam crippled our society (in ways we might have healed had we admitted to them and dealt with the problems) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are fast accelerating our self-destruction.

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          December 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM

          Defeat of USSR was cannot be attributed to one factor

          Latin America, bay of pigs and south Vietnam were supplied weaponry by US but look what happened there, China and India are equally inefficient in terms of social structure, you cant even get a death certificate without bribing in India, China’s success is built on sweat shops

          We would be formulating different theories had Soviets managed to overrun Pakistan and Iran

          Also look at the defeat of Nazi Germany in Stalingrad and North Africa nobody in their right mind could call them inefficient or the opposition better armed

          some people might not accept but there is one unique pattern in above examples i.e. people fighting for just cause were victorious even if it took sometime and yes huge human cost

          My 2 cents

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      Daniel Joseph Patrick

      March 21, 2011 at 6:52 PM

      Serious thoughtful people don’t use children as human shields to protect the innocent Muslims that are hiding in their safe houses. Of course then “the occupiers” are accused of killing innocent people.

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        Abdul Matin

        March 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM

        Seriously??……. u’re so naive that you think people care about what you think so much that they take their own children and use them as shields from bombs to make “the occupiers” look bad… oh the occupiers are such wonderful people. why they gotta get a bad rap? just cause they’re filthy dirty, murderous, good for nothing occupiers that support your view of the world?… ok understood

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    December 16, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Very well written by Imam Zaid as usual.
    May Allah(swt) give him long life to benefit the ummah.

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    Matsudo Legend

    December 16, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Mashallah. Sensational!
    Go Imam Zaid!

    Jazakallah khayr Sheikh.

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    December 16, 2010 at 3:10 PM

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    Abu Ilyas

    December 16, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    As an advice to the wannabe naive Jihadi it makes some sense, it is obviously wrong to kill innocent people and engage in terrorism (thought there is an odd opinion that its ok…Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen as an example) and for sure Law enforcement will entrap Muslims. So thanks brother Zaid for helping out there.

    But generally this is a harmful piece of writing because :

    1) It reinforces the idea that anyone who believes in fighting invaders is a blood thirsty neo kharijite terrorist. Hardly balanced. Surely, at least some of the people who partake in jihad have good intentions and good fiqh, i.e dont go around doing wanton destruction and killing innocent people.

    There may be some groups like that..who deliberately engage in killing the blood of innocents
    There may be some groups who make mistakes in jihad and have done that sometimes out of error
    There may be many more black ops which have done these acts than have been uncovered thus far and blamed on terrorists.

    But i doubt that the vast majority of Muslims are fighting anything except what they think is a correct Jihad and are trying to fight it within the boundaries of the Shariah.

    I believe this perception (that the jihad is in fact terrorism) is on the whole a lie, propagated by The Military, embellished deliberately by the Media and repeated by naive people like Zaid Shaakir.

    Certainly, many respectable people on the ground have been saying that..but who is listening?

    If we are too scared to call a Jihad a jihad then at least don’t undermine the efforts of your brothers by repeating the propaganda of the invaders.

    2) It is of course embarrassingly defeatist. I have no doubt that the Afghans will kick the Americans and NATO and kill a few thousand more before its all over. We are not fighting an all out war. This is a classic guerrilla war and the “Mujahideen” will realise their strategic goals. Just like they did with the Soviets. Just like Vietnam ad infinitum..

    Say Ameen brother Zaid!? Really quietly though.

    3) Strategic implications? Who decided on the strategy and on what authority? No one can disagree on this stratgey? Is it revelation? Just asking – I do agree somewhat with this argument btw but not in such an absolute way as ZS is making it. And the assumptions that the Jihadi prone type are less active in da’wah and their community is just an assumption. Many people can claim the opposite. Look at brother Tarek Mehanna for example.

    And to what extent will you go for the sake of the Da’wah? Anything goes?

    4) The defeatist stuff about the Americans unleashing tactical nuclear weapons against all the Muslims and then blaming that scenario on Muslims is plain ridiculous..and if it did happen people like Zaid Shaakir will still be sitting in America blaming the “stupid” brothers….

    5) I don’t know what it is but people like you and many of the others who sometimes write on this website seem to be simply incapable of actually reaching out to these “jihad prone” people. If i was one of these i would be so turned off you. Look at this letter as an example. So harsh.

    Do you guys really want to help these guys or do you just want to show the authorities how harsh you are against terrorism..are you just scared? Your tone certainly does not make sense if you are trying to correct the people you aim to correct…i would be more driven away from you and your message if i was such a jihadi.,..which i aint btw…

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      December 16, 2010 at 11:26 PM

      very well said akhi Abu Ilyas

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      December 17, 2010 at 12:22 AM

      You’re completely wrong in believing that condemning MODERN Jihadists is defeatist and trying to spread American Military propaganda.
      No matter what their intentions, they are setting Islam’s cause back years, accomplishing nothing but creating more and more reasons for the world to not support Muslims.
      Read this article again carefully… the strategies the Imam gives as an alternative will work a hundred times better than blowing yourself up can ever do.

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        Mansoor Ansari

        December 17, 2010 at 9:36 AM

        So we should condemn those who are fighting the occupiers in their lands, in other words u r suggesting that when Muslim countries get invaded, these Muslims should just accept the occupiers not resist!

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        Abu Ilyas

        December 17, 2010 at 12:33 PM

        Zainab where did i say that condemning modern jihadists is defeatist?

        Please can you follow your own advice and read my response properly, try to understand what I am trying to say and then comment.

        And what is “Islams Cause” anyway?

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      December 17, 2010 at 1:07 AM


      I think this was the epitome of real advice. Jazakullah Abu Ilyas, couldn’t have said it better myself :)

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      December 17, 2010 at 5:25 AM

      But i doubt that the vast majority of Muslims are fighting anything except what they think is a correct Jihad and are trying to fight it within the boundaries of the Shariah.

      Without a khalifa, what leads you to believe that most are fighting within the boundaries? Have you done an extensive survey of their techniques? And what they think is correct jihad doesn’t make it the correct jihad, does it?

      And the assumptions that the Jihadi prone type are less active in da’wah and their community is just an assumption. Many people can claim the opposite. Look at brother Tarek Mehanna for example.

      That is interesting. For the most part, we have been hearing that Tarek wasn’t the “jihadi type”. Are you claiming that he was that type or prone to it? As for productive activity in dawah, Allah knows best, esp. based on this observation. And even if he was one of those, the examples of the keyboard jihadists actually doing anything productive outside their parents’ basements are far and few. I said this about Sh. Yunus too. There aren’t many examples of productive Muslims like him, even though he wouldn’t be characterized as a “Jihadi prone” type either, even if he disagrees with us.

      As far as the tone of this post, this is a common excuse. You hear it every time there is an article against radicalism. You know what, it’s time to stop giving stupid excuses for the wackos who wake up one day and want to “help the ummah” by destroying it. The people who should be really angry are us, the Muslims who have to then pay for the sheer stupidity of these radicalized youth. Every time they go out and try to come up with the next smart alec plot, the entire Muslim populace has to then suffer indignation, discrimination and hatred. And I know the response to this, some cut and paste Quranic verse about how Muslims must face the fitnah. But Muslims dont CREATE fitnas for themselves. It is not up to the radicalized few to decide what fitnah they want to give the rest of the Muslims.

      So, instead of worrying about the tone of these articles, worry about the actions of the youth that you give excuses to. They are like small kids that need some spanking to get their heads straight. And the rest of the Muslims have taken enough. Those who don’t like it here, go to Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever else you want to do hijrah too. They need to stop use Islam as justification for the haram venting (i.e. terrorism) of your anger. Because we are all sick of cleaning up Islam each time they bury it under their perverted plans.

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        December 17, 2010 at 6:01 AM

        Said very well. JAK

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        Mansoor Ansari

        December 17, 2010 at 8:46 AM

        Br. Amad

        Abu Ilyas was supporting terrorism but was critical of that part of article which was condemning those fighting the occupiers in Afghanistan. We are talking abt defensive jihad here & offensive one where a khalifa is a requirement!
        Edit: Amad’s name was spelled incorrectly :).

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          December 17, 2010 at 9:15 AM

          Which defensive jihad was Tarek fighting who was mentioned in Abu Ilyas’s comment? His comment was wide-ranging and wasn’t about just one issue. Obviously Imam Zaid is talking to the radicals in the West… people keep tripping over the fact that his concern, Dr. Shehata and others’ primary concern is related to their communities closest to them in proximity…

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            Mansoor Ansari

            December 17, 2010 at 9:33 AM

            If Imam Zaid was only talking to those in the west who want to kill innocent bystanders, I would have agreed with the article. And I do agree with the part of the article that does that. But when he starts bashing & belittling those who are fighting the occupiers in Afghanistan, I do have a problem with that.

            The sad part in all this is that any one who dare to vocally support (forget abt the physical part) those who fighting the occupiers & colonizers in Muslim lands are being labelled as terrorists & radicals.

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            December 17, 2010 at 10:12 AM

            It saddens me that we somehow picture these people in Afghanistan as brave freedom fighters. Next time a “brave freedom fighter” blows himself up in a marketplace in Kabul and slaughters dozens of Muslims, come back to me and tell me that he is fighting in the way of Islam.

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          Abu Ilyas

          December 17, 2010 at 11:57 AM

          This is correct and this is what i meant akhee. Jazakhallah khair

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        Abu Ilyas

        December 17, 2010 at 11:52 AM


        Without a khalifa, what leads you to believe that most are fighting within the boundaries? Have you done an extensive survey of their techniques? And what they think is correct jihad doesn’t make it the correct jihad, does it?

        No, I haven’t done a survey Amad. I guess I just have more hope and trust in the ummah than you.

        How convenient for the Americans to dismiss the Taliban or the Iraqis or the Palestinians as terrorists. Lower them in the eyes of your people and you are winning the propaganda war.

        That is interesting. For the most part, we have been hearing that Tarek wasn’t the “jihadi type”. Are you claiming that he was that type or prone to it?

        Tarek what a brother masha’allah. May Allah preserve him. I love his articles, poetry and pictures.

        Anyway, No, I’m not claiming anything like that but he is charged related to terrorism – and what a stupid charge it is!

        By Jihadi type i mean he is not the type of Muslim that could be termed “sell out Muslim”

        I don’t mean someone who literally fights or calls for jihad.

        But anyway. Its best not to ask that type of question about a brother in prison under terrorism charges as it might create a bad impression about him.

        As far as the tone of this post, this is a common excuse

        There is no excuse about anything. No one is making excuses for anyone. I am not the first person to comment on the condescending and sometimes harsh tone adopted by articles about these topics on this website.

        I made an observation that this is extremely strange if you are trying to guide people. You seem to alienate people away from you. It is more likely these stupid condescending articles create terrorism by stirring more anger in the youth and more desperation. Have you ever thought to consider that?

        We need to be educating misguided youth away from terrorist tendencies. Half the battle is getting them to listen to you. These types of articles don’t help.

        By the way i requested that my first post be deleted due to many errors…why wasn’t it? Leave it up now….

        -Edited. Removed insults and disparaging lines. You have been warned. Imam Zaid will not be on MM defending his article, so feel free to put comments on his site.

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          December 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM

          By the way i requested that my first post be deleted due to many errors…why wasn’t it? Leave it up now….

          ?? Which post, what request?

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        Ibn Zawaar

        December 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM

        “As for productive activity in dawah, Allah knows best, esp. based on this observation.”

        If you mean social activism, I’d think his work here would be worth something:

        The Grey Lady of Bagram: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
        The Aafia Siddiqui That I Knew
        Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Press Conference
        Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Press Conference Notes & Action-Alerts

        On a community level, he frequently delivered the Friday khutba at two Boston Universities, in addition to various masajid between 2001 and approximately 2007. He also held multiple study circles discussing the fundamentals of faith, and various traditional Islaamic texts which he personally translated.

        In 2002, when our MSA was struggling to get our act together after most of the khaleeji students left the country, Dr. Mehanna took the time to assist us in planning events, even though he attended a different University.

        All this is aside from the brothers who either accepted Islaam or began practising after interacting with him.

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      December 17, 2010 at 1:34 PM

      You said

      “Do you guys really want to help these guys or do you just want to show the authorities how harsh you are against terrorism..are you just scared? Your tone certainly does not make sense if you are trying to correct the people you aim to correct…i would be more driven away from you and your message if i was such a jihadi.,..which i aint btw…

      By saying “which i aint btw…” you have proven that you yourself are scared and not the Imam.

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        Abu Ilyas

        December 17, 2010 at 11:20 PM

        Good spot. Yes, you got me there!

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      December 18, 2010 at 4:01 AM

      Dear brother in Islam

      I think you misunderstood the sheikh

      I don’t believe he was talking about the real mujahideen, but rather I think the article was aimed at only terrorists or terrorism inclined or sympathizing Muslims

      Please show courtesy when speaking about your brothers and do due diligence in making sure that what you are saying is not just out of emotion but out of correct logic and also in line with our morals. We can come closer and grow stronger through patient thinking and patient reading.

      JazakAllah Khair for your concerns for the Muslims

      Asalam u alyakum

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        December 18, 2010 at 7:28 AM

        Are there currently any real mujahids? Any current examples for the youth to make any of this relevant?

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          December 18, 2010 at 11:25 PM

          there are people who fight for good reasons and don’t go past the boundaries … like one example I believe would be Khattab who fought for Chechnya against Russian occupying forces.. it’s not actually the point whether there are or aren’t real mujahideen right now… The point is the article should be read understanding the author’s intent- that he was speaking of reckless, no good, going against sharia, haraam fighting and if you think people are fighting in a halaal way then you should understand that he is NOT speaking of that and which specific groups are or are not fighting properly and Islamically is a whole different issue that shouldn’t get you all riled up ready to insult the author.

          and honestly I don’t think anyone on this forum really knows what they are talking about… they’re basing their assumptions about what is going on in the world out of belief and emotion – and to argue about it so passionately is childish and not going to be of any benefit contrary to what they might believe. People need to learn to just be quiet and if they wanna speak so bad then open a book, research, travel and learn more and more until you find out the truth then you’ll be of more use instead of blabbering nonsense and causing enmity between Muslims… we really can’t afford any of that kinda nonsense right now. We fight amongst each other more than we get along because we like to act like kids, all the while the West is at our throats… it’s plain foolish and we would do better to get along even if we have strong differences of opinion on tons of matters

          sorry reddit – this post was intended i guess for other people cause i was reading their comments too before

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      December 18, 2010 at 5:03 PM

      I totally agree with your statment. Muslim Matters is an organization heavily set on pleasing non Muslims.

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    Abdullah Brown

    December 16, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Allahu akbar.


    JK Imam Zaid, JK MM.

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    Abdullah Brown

    December 16, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Part of the sickness of the extremist psychology is the lack of feeling for Muslims who suffer as a result of extremist acts, whether through the acts themselves, as a result of backlash, or through scapegoating. The extremist thought is that the vast majority of Muslims are hugely lacking in iman and are asleep. I don’t know how many times I have heard this: that Muslims are asleep, that they have to wake up, and that for most of them, sad to say, the only way they will be awakened is “with a stick”. If Muslims suffer one way or another as a result of terrorist acts, well, so be it. Essentially, the thinking goes, they deserve it. Furthermore, backlash is seen as good if it helps to stoke anger in the hearts of mainstream Muslims and recruit more Muslims to extremist thought.

    Nothing new in this, of course. The Jewish Zealots deliberately sabotaged their brethren a couple thousand years ago in order to force armed conflict with the Roman occupiers. Ended with the Masada.

    Any thoughts on how best to address and counter this aspect of the extremist’s thinking?

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    December 16, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Great article masha Allah. Wish we were hearing messages like this from every mimbar across the world

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    Daughter of Adam (AS)

    December 16, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Imam Zaid Shakir is amazing with his words and clear message. masha’Allah.

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    December 16, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    MashAllah very powerful.

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    Safia Farole

    December 16, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    You break-it-down Imam Zaid! Mashallah that was a great open letter. So eloquently said, and so powerful. Couldn’t have been said any better!

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    December 16, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    that was awesome . I think most african americans in this country know better than to trust the outward appearances/claims of certain government agencies.

    I think your argument was quite wise. and i think all the other articles so far on this issue have made similar arguments but they at the same time have somehow almost defended the government agencies and talked about them trying to help muslims! etc. i cant quote the exact lines but that was teh impression i came away w/ after reading those artciles and i thought wow how naive.

    but this one addresses the muslims in a fair way and also is fair in its treatment of the government agecies. they’re no angels.

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    December 16, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    jazakallahu khair

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    December 17, 2010 at 4:14 AM

    Alhamdulillah, this is an excellent piece. It speaks about the reality of the situation and offers insight into the mentality of some people. Rather than being “defeatist” or subjugating” I would say that this piece offers a very realistic account of the the situation in the world. Using Afghanistan’s war against Russia as an example of “Mujahids| overthrowing a greater power w/o looking at the context and also the training, financing and strategic assistance they received from the CIA, US, Israel and other elements is both naive and dangerous.
    It’s sad because many Muslims have an almost “magical” concept of the actual abilities and competency of the actual Muslims as human beings.
    Why not be smart and develop your societies for the future.

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    December 17, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    Very well written article. Mashallah.

    Let’s not be fools and fall into the traps that these intelligence agencies set for us. They want more of these incidents. If there is not enough terroririst acts happening, they resort to creating them, facilitating and promoting them. So don’t fall into the trap.

    In Canada, the CIA equivalent is CSIS which also created and promoted would be terrorists to build a case against Muslims with their fake mujahid, Mubeen Shaikh. Mubeen Shaikh was there to train them, encourage them, give the young boys evil ideas and to supply them with weapons and bombs. Beware of the fake mujahid and use your time for productive projects. Join weekly Quran halaqahs.

    Dont fall into the traps and do as the CIA,CSIS, RAW and Mossad want. These agencies get more funding if there is terrorism.

    • Avatar

      Stinky cheese

      December 18, 2010 at 12:45 PM

      What happened in Bosnia?

      look on a map incase you dont know where it is.

      Could you please ask your government to stop dropping drones on your brothers and sisters.

      I think they would appreciate it.

      Its quite upsetting and they have no one to talk to when picking bits of children and other family members up.

      You know drones, no pilots no army, no one to fight no one to talk to no one to ask why.

      Terrorisim is wrong, even when the govternment does it.

  18. Avatar


    December 17, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Masha Allah, may Allah reward your attention, but my brother I’m really confused about direction of your advice.

  19. Avatar

    Muhammad Darr

    December 17, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Assalmoalkum wr wb

    I would have to agree with one part of this article. Where he condemns the acts of killing innocent civilians in the west. That is totally against the princlpes in Islam and is a set back. Just to give a note here just becuase you wear and suite and tie and drive in fancy cars does not make you any less of a terrorist than those people killing civilians. Over 500.000 dead in iraq mainly women and childern, thousands more dead in Afghanistan, and along with the drone attacks in Pakistan. So if you are condeming them you must also condemn the acts of the American Goverment. There is a 9/11 going on everyday in Iraq, but muslims are silent. Why does no one speak out agains the tyranny of America, is that we are really that afraid. Allah has promised the believers vicotires and just because were a small in number does not mean we will not win. On the contrary almost all the battles of the prophet saw they were outnumbered and defiecient in arms. Victory is from Allah and not numbers. So please do not criticise the MUJAHDEEN. The true ones not the ones who kill the innocent. THey have a right to defend their lands homes and families and the minmum we can do for them is at least make Dua for them. So please next time you right an article I would like to see the condeming of inncoment Muslim lives taking by the soldiers and American goverment.


    • Avatar


      December 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM

      Assalamu Aleykum
      Imam Zaid has written numerous articles and given dozens of speeches condemning the Western attacks against Afghanistan and the Muslim world.
      This is not a rebuttal against your point but more or less a point I would like to make but how can someone even be considered a “Mujahideen” if they kill innocent people, blow themselves up in market places, killing women and children and wreck havoc against society?
      Those who fought for Islam in the past had a goal, which was not simply victory but actual a better society for people to not be oppressed and for Islam to be practiced.

      • Avatar

        Mansoor Ansari

        December 17, 2010 at 12:10 PM


        Incase u missed

        So please do not criticise the MUJAHDEEN. The true ones not the ones who kill the innocent.

        • Avatar


          December 18, 2010 at 7:26 AM

          And who are these true muhajids” ? Do they have names?

  20. Avatar

    Jack Fertig

    December 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Brilliant! Thank you so much for writing this.

  21. Avatar


    December 17, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    I resent the use of mujahid to describe these people. A mujahid is someone who does jihad and jihad is an ibadah in Islam.

    Rather, we should ask the following questions:

    1. What is the difference between jihad and terrorism?
    2. What is the difference between a mujahid and a jihadi?

    The terms are important so we don’t fall into the trap of maligning Islamic terminologies.

    • Avatar


      December 17, 2010 at 3:08 PM

      Excellent point. Mujahids of all times and places still have to observe Islamic codes. There is no such thing in Islam as “By any means necessary”. Just because someone shouts “Allahu Akbar” before they blow themselves up or kills innocent people does not make them a Mujahid.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      December 18, 2010 at 3:21 AM

      salaams brother-
      I agree that those questions need to be answered and drilled into our youth
      but I don’t think you need to resent the usage of the term- think of it this way-
      If I said these “fake mothers” who don’t even take care of or nurture their kids- would that degrade the honor of motherhood even one tiny bit.

      • Avatar


        December 19, 2010 at 6:18 PM

        Yeah, but nobody uses the term” fake mujahid” or ‘fake jihadi”. Its always ”these jihadists”, ”Islamic militants’ or ”Islamists”(am I not an Islamist?), so much so that Muslims themselves may not know the difference between Jihad and terrorism and Jihad’s position in Islam, and may even dislike it and be embarrassed about it.

  22. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    December 17, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Excellent article! :) JazaakAllah Imam Zaid! May Allah guide us all in these affairs. Ameen.

  23. Avatar


    December 17, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Please note that because this is a cross-post with the author unavailable to respond to comments, moderation will be stricter than usual.

  24. Avatar


    December 17, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    FACT: 90% of the people who will hate on Imam Zaid’s article will not read more than the title of the article.

    • Avatar

      Abdus Sabur

      December 21, 2010 at 12:11 AM

      :) I’m glad someone can see the forest for the trees.

  25. Avatar

    abu sayf ibn muhammad

    December 17, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    FACT: Your assumption was baseless, how is it possible that people have issues with exact points raised by Zaid Shakir if they only read the vague title?

    Also, harsher moderation? is that possible?

    • Avatar


      December 18, 2010 at 11:40 PM

      It doesn’t matter whether they take specific points from the article or even read the whole article… the point i think MR was making was that people prejudge, get all riled up, or have their minds made up already instead of being open minded and assuming the best of the author and his words – a tradition of good will that is the only way to have peaceful, intellectual, and useful/progressive dialogue that is rarely followed these days.

      “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
      – Robert Frost

      also i think sometimes people are too harsh by picking on words the author says to debunk his whole article and message or even entire sentences and taking them out of context for the sole purpose of hating and getting their emotionally driven thoughts off their chest

  26. Avatar

    Muhammad Darr

    December 17, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Thanks Mansoor

    again to reiterate I explicity said So please do not criticise the MUJAHDEEN. The true ones not the ones who kill the innocent.

    @ J you said “Those who fought for Islam in the past had a goal, which was not simply victory but actual a better society for people to not be oppressed and for Islam to be practiced.”
    Are you trying to say that those who are fighting presently are not doing it fisabeillah. I would def have to disagree with you on that.. The America Media makes it seem that those people who are suicide bombing are the ideals muslims, this is their trick and you have to be catious of that. Acutally the prophet saw said that a group from my Ummah will continue to fight jiahd until the Day of Judgment.

    Also just a last thing to note:

    This a summary of how we should behave

    God forbids you not respecting those who have not fought against you for religion’s sake, and who have not driven you forth from your homes, that ye should act righteously and justly towards them; verily, God loves the just! He only forbids you to make patrons of those who have fought against you for religion’s sake, and driven you forth from your homes, or have aided in your expulsion; and whoever makes patrons of them, they are the unjust!

    Just remeber who youre alligeance goes to.

    P.S I would like if this time my comment is posted thank you

  27. Avatar


    December 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Excellent article — and much deserved for the unIslamic radical minority.

  28. Avatar

    Harris Khan

    December 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Asalaam Alaikum all,

    I’d like to start off by saying that Imam Zaid has put forth his opinion backed up by his beliefs, and I shall respect what his opinion is. He is a student of knowledge and I am sure he has done his research and presented us with an article about how he feels. Alhamdullilah, a good post.

    The most important point to address here is unity. Does unity exist in our ummah? Not as much as we would like to see it. What we need is to have every one of us realise the potential amongst ourselves and start small by implementing change to ourselves first, then our families, and so on.

    1. It does not make common sense for a person to talk about Jihad and fighting for Allah’s cause, when he lacks in his basic Islamic responsibilities, such as the daily prayers and giving in charity

    2. No one has the right to say another person is wrong unless they provide authentic proof by way of Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), proof that has been understood NOT by you, the layman, but by a scholar of Islam when providing it as evidence.

    3. It does not make common sense to act on Jihad by vowing to slaughter the innocent people of a country. When our Beloved (PBUH) and his companions engaged in war, they fought only against those people who actively opposed with him. When they succeeded, they would enter the town of the defeated, and ask them to accept Islam, and even if the citizens peacefully rejected, they were allowed to stay within the city. He (PBUH) would not send his mighty companions on suicide or stealth missions to infiltrate those cities and kill innocent people.

    4. The concept of Khilaafa is a righteous concept. It is a concept that has the potential to be a realistic goal even in today’s world. But remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    4.a My first point is, Jerusalem was owned by Muslims for over 800 years before Israel violently took over about 64 years ago. In historical perspective, 64 years is a blink of an eye! remember that before Salahuddin Ayoubi took Jerusalem it had been in a bloody rule by the Crusaders for 88 years! Thus patience is important

    4.b Secondly, we cannot hope for the success of the Khilafa if we are not willing to see the change in ourselves and in our families. Change must always start small, even the Prophet (SAW) took 23 years to fully complete the Deen of Islam for us.

    4.c So I implore you to begin that change in yourselves. If you dont read your prayers, promise yourself that you are going to try to do it. If you already observe them, then take it a step further by going to the mosque for as many of them as you can. educate your families about the practice and etiquettes of family matters in Islam. Love your muslim brothers and sisters as if they are your blood relations, and be honest and display good character. that alone is the key to success.

    5. My dearest Muslims, although the world does not recognize it, we are the best of mankind to ever have been created. Our capacity to do right is unlike any others, because our Leader (PBUH) was like no other in history. But our lust for for this life over the next has driven us astray. So I call upon you to leave your arguments, and return to your Lord, The Almighty. Make sincere supplications to ask Allah to guide you to success, so that you may be part of the implementation of establishment of this perfect deen, a prophecy that has been promised to come. May Allah guide us all to the right path and may he bless us with success both in this life, and the next. Ameen

    Asalaam Alaikum warahmat’ullahi wabarakatu

  29. Avatar

    Ibn Nazim

    December 17, 2010 at 8:51 PM


    I think many of the points the Shaykh made towards are completely being ingnored in the comments. We should’nt be so quick to believe that the sources of many of the bombing on civilians and mosques are muslims. There is a lot of covert activity which many people are totally blind to and blatantly refuse to believe. Just in Afghanistan for example, it’s well known that there is a group of people fighting against occupation, there is a group of people fighting for CIA/Puppet Government not to mention the surrounding neighbor’s heavy involvolvments. Let’s not be so quick to judge where the “terrorism” is really coming from. There are “fake mujahid” popping out left and right and young people are being duped into stupid plots that nobody in their right mind will even consider and that’s one very good point which is addressed.

    And I agree with the harsh tone! Which was mentioned by some.


  30. Avatar


    December 17, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    -Comment removed. No 911 conspiracy theories pls.

  31. Avatar

    Fatima Khan

    December 18, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    Absolutely breathtaking. I have to say as I was reading it, I felt ashamed during the opportunity to do… section. Subhanallah, made me think of where Allah has placed me and why. Without a doubt this article was mindblowing and inspirational for me to go out and educate myself along with others. Thank you.

  32. Hena Zuberi

    Hena Zuberi

    December 18, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    One aspect that people keep missing is that this letter is to young guys, troubled kids, like the kid in Oregon, like the young men who ask him question in lectures, after jummah salah, who are looking for answers, here in the US. Would you rather that these young men end up in jail, their and their families lives ruined. Enough of this “easy ticket to Jannah” nonsense- This is common sense advice. It needs to be said. Do you think If I wrote a sugary mommy- feel good article they would read it? I am not being facetious- would they? The Islamic articles aren’t the one that get all the attention even on MM.

    If we really want to help our youth, we need to try to get to them from all angles. We all agree that they are angry, they see the atrocities committed on their Muslim brothers. We as fathers and mothers want to raise up sons who will be strong, who will stand up to defend our deen but not like this. Not by killing my innocent neighbors. Our scholars are trying to find answers according to their knowledge, according to the place where we live- Islam is a universal right?

    Sorry, but Afghanistan is not what all out war looks like.

    In my eyes that reads that Americans have not leveled that same kind of destruction there as Jenin went through. I do not think that anywhere Imam Zaid is criticizing mujahideen. He is talking about the shady men who get their criminal records wiped out in exchange for entrapping young men. By pretending to be “mujahids” trying to trick some angry, troubled young man into pressing a button.

    To be a mujahid is an esteemed and noble position with strict terms and conditions- when our young boys get duped by agent provocateurs that is not Jihad.

    This point on the insecurity in Americans in en pointe- things have changed on the streets here, Muslims living here can feel it. When people are hungry and threatened by their homes being foreclosed they are fearful and insecure. This insecurity is being hyped up everyday, on the news, on the radio.

    The few years after 9/11 were good years economically- people were high on the housing and credit bubble-the money has dried up it is easy to channel that fear and Islam becomes the enemy, which is even more scary than Muslim are the enemy. The rational voices against the war get drowned out when events like Baltimore and Oregon happen.

    May Allah SWT help us raise the state of our iman and restore and protect the honor of all Muslims. Ameen.

  33. Avatar

    Abu Hamza

    December 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Like many people commented, this article would make more sense, if it was targeting those who wanted to kill civilians summarily in west and many people seem to think that this was the point.

    I got the impression that he was talking to someone who wanted to travel to some occupied Muslim country to help his brothers and sisters. The following line gives the idea that exactly that was the case:

    You have the courage to fly halfway around to world to engage in an armed struggle, but you do not have the courage to knock on your neighbor’s door to explain Islam to him or to give him your take on world affairs.

    So are those “innocent Americans” mentioned by Zaid Shaakir soldiers, because there doesn’t seem to be quite so many westerners in the battle fields except ones in the armed forces?

    I wish the people would write exactly what they mean, because vague articles just really don’t make the authors point clear.

  34. Avatar

    Stinky cheese

    December 18, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    been going on for years, so if u thnk its just conspiracy you dont know, till u do some looking into it…
    still going on now, but with muslims as well…
    * Claudia Mullen’s testimony that Dr. Sidney Gottlieb (of MKULTRA fame) used chemicals, radiation, hypnosis, drugs, isolation in tubs of water, sleep deprivation, electric shock, brainwashing and emotional, sexual and verbal abuse as part of mind control experiments that had the ultimate objective of turning her, who was only a child at the time, into the “perfect spy.” She tells the advisory committee that researchers justified this abuse by telling her that she was serving her country “in their bold effort to fight Communism.”

    * Suzanne Starr’s statement that “a physician, who was retired from the military, got children from the mountains of Colorado for experiments.” She says she was one of those children and that she was the victim of experiments involving environmental deprivation to the point of forced psychosis, spin programming, injections, rape and frequent electroshock and mind control sessions. “I have fought self-destructive programmed messages to kill myself, and I know what a programmed message is, and I don’t act on them,” she tells the advisory committee of the experiments’ long-lasting effects, even in her adulthood (Goliszek).

    President Clinton publicly apologizes to the thousands of people who were victims of MKULTRA and other mind-control experimental programs (Sharav).

    Learn more:

  35. Avatar


    December 18, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I seriously doubt the mujahideen are killing innocent people, the people being killed in market places and mosque are tied to the CIA.

    • Avatar


      December 18, 2010 at 11:09 PM

      I agree.

    • Avatar


      December 18, 2010 at 11:58 PM

      Its an oxymoron for a Mujahid to kill innocents so you’re right but in the case of extremists, i know you’d like to believe (and so does any Muslim) that Muslims aren’t blowing themselves up and taking lives of innocents on purpose, but you can’t also be that naive. Extremist ideologies do exist, though it is the MINORITY, and even amongst extremist ideologists there is an even SMALLER minority that would justify the killing of the innocents – but I do think that it is going on and that some Muslims are being brainwashed into doing these kind of acts … so let’s pray for them and this entire Ummah … we should try to counteract extremism and speak harshly against it – and i don’t mean to appease the west – but to make sure confused Muslims are not kept confused about the matter and that a bad bad innovation is kept at bay and refuted without hesitation …

    • Avatar


      December 19, 2010 at 2:29 AM

      I think it is very naive for Muslims to believe that the CIA are the primary ones responsible for blowing up people in market places. Let’s be serious, we have to stop blaming everyone else and look at the reality of the mindset of people in our own communities. By always blaming someone else for our problems we never actually look at the issues within ourselves.
      Sadly there are people in Pakistan who are killing each other in market places and on the streets both for even political reasons, so do we attribute this also to non-Muslims. What about people in Saudi who open fire on the police force, I guess we also blame this on Israel.
      To be more specific, what about the racism and caste system we find all over the Muslim world? I guess we’ll blame the few decades of colonialism and not the hundreds of years of the promulgation of oppressing weaker tribes and people for power.
      It’s very easy to blame everyone else but it’s hard to look at ourselves and examine why is it so easy for Muslims to oppress other Muslims and we don’t say anything.
      No protests, no debates, nothing.

      And as someone pointed out, we can not pick words and sections of Imam Zaid’s comments and then twist them to fit into your rebuttal of his point. For him to address every nuance of this topic would take volumes of books.
      His basic point is that those people, committing these acts need to think about what they are actually doing and explore other ways to help the Muslim ummah.
      The issues around the world (Afghanistan, Iraq, etc) are not simply black and white issues of Muslims vs Kuffar, good vs evil, particularly when you look at the background of the nations and the people supposedly fighting righteously.
      We can’t open someone’s heart and say what is their intention but we can look at their action and say this is not from Islam, it is harmful to mankind and it is not good.
      On the last day, only Allah can judge that human for their action and only he knows their true intentions.

  36. Avatar


    December 18, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Probably the best article ive read on MM. mA

  37. Avatar


    December 18, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Not really a fan of this letter.

    It seems more like preaching to the choir with some stereotypical responses than actual engagement.

    Demonize away, but that will only embolden them rather than shame them.

  38. Avatar


    December 19, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    I love all these arguments that purport to speak on behalf of the Afghan people calling the Taliban “mujahideen” and defenders of the land. Please spare me…

    First of all, there is no such thing as a united Taliban. The Western media presents it as such for the purpose of shallow 2 minute soundbites and to justify the US presence in Afghanistan in black and white terms…but no such thing as a united Taliban exists.

    What DOES exist is the following:

    1.) The remnants of the original Taliban, who are based out of Quetta and Waziristan in Pakistan..headed by “Mollah Omar” ( whom most Afghans don’t even think really exists and is a concoction of the Pakistani security services).
    2.) Various groups of nationalists who fight under the Taliban banner simply to get weapons and money, but have no interest in Taliban ideology and would most likely be at odds w/ the Pakistani controlled original Taliban after any American withdrawal.
    3.) Various groups of gangsters and warlords who’re no different than the opportunistic gangsters and warlords in the north of the country. These guys are just straight criminals w/ connections to the old ‘Pai Louch’ mafia in Qandahar, the trucking and smuggling mafias in the Pakistani tribal areas and drug cartels in Central Asia. They have no ideology whatsoever and are in it for the $…

    These are the brave and great “mujahidin” you are supporting…

    # 1 are seen as nothing but a Pakistani proxy army and are totally disdained by Afghans in all parts of the country. They will NEVER be accepted as rulers of the country owing to their Pakistani control. It AINT gonna happen people.

    When they came to power in 1994, it was because Afghans were BOTH war weary and didn’t know anything about them. They managed to disarm the south and institute their rule before they were found out..which will NOT happen this time around. The Taliban only rule by intimidation, fear and threats…not any indigineous support. They basically say “the Americans will eventually leave and if you don’t help us or work against us, we’ll kill you when they do”. Khalaas. No one supports them out of any love for them, but out of fear.

    When the Americans pull out, there will be a civil war this time around. The tribes in the south and east are quiet for now and letting the Americans and Taliban fight themselves, but once the Americans pull out they are armed and will not allow themselves to be disarmed this time. Why do you think bags of cash are arriving from Iran and Central Asia? ALL AROUND civil war…We will NOT accept a Pakistani controlled government.

    Get over your fantasies of some mythical united Muslim ummah. for #2, they will melt away or even join an anti-Taliban resistance after the Americans leave.
    #3 are criminals who simply want to engage in their criminal activities and will support any side that doesn’t interfere with that.

    Stop fooling yourself amigos. Afghans do NOT love the Taliban and we will not accept their rule. 1994 was a fluke of history. When you support this nonsense, you’re simply supporting a band of criminals, nationalists or civil war in the case of the original Taliban. Nothing noble here…

    You’d do well to heed Imam Zaid’s article. It’s very well written and rationally thought out. It deals with realities and not nostalgic Muslim military fantasies. This is not a black and white situation. You are kidding yourselves if you think it is or that the Taliban are some kinda heroes. You’d do well to talk to an AFGHAN and get an idea of whats REALLY going on there or what is bound to happen when the Americans pull out. If you wanna engage in fantasy get online and play Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons, not with peoples lives.

    Here’s a fact: we want America to leave and don’t support their war, but we despise Pakistans government and ISI EVEN MORE. 90%+ hatred of Pakistans government in Afghanistan…more than the negative opinion of America. Chew on that and wake up from the Mujahidin dreams in your nice comfy bed in the US…

    …and as an Afghan, let me tell you that even I do not have the delusions that we accomplished a miracle in the Soviet war. We won ’cause of huge amounts of US cash and weapons, as well as the US making our case to the world/UN diplomatically. That is a reality. This nonsense of allout jihad no matter the consequences and realities is ridiculous. Even the prophet dug a ditch around Madinah when he faced overwhelming odds folks. Part of jihad is to adjust it to practical realities and use your head. I commend Imam Zaid to have the intelligence, rationality and clear understand of our faith to see that.

    • Avatar


      December 21, 2010 at 4:35 AM

      Excellent points.

    • Avatar


      December 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM

      thank you for shedding light on the complexities of the situation instead of preaching without thinking and black white thinking –

      can anyone recommend any good sources so we can learn more about the situation in afghanistan to get a clearer understanding?

      • Avatar

        Ibn Nazim

        December 21, 2010 at 6:06 PM

        @Abdul Matin

        Further reading;
        Robert Kaplan’s “Soldiers of God”

        Alexander Lindsay’s Documentary “Jihad:Afghanistan’s Holy war”

        Also the book “My life with the Taliban’ by Mullah Zaeef out recently


        • Avatar


          December 22, 2010 at 5:31 PM

          Books on the topic I recommend:

          -A scholarly and deeply analytical book on the Afghan Taliban:
          “Decoding the New Taliban” (by Antonio Giustozzi)

          -One of the best books on the Taliban and a recently updated best-seller:
          “Taliban” (by Ahmad Rashid)

          -“Descent into Chaos” (by Ahmad Rashid, same author as above; his newer book)

          -Those who wish to learn more about the Pakistani Taliban, this recent book is highly recommended:
          “The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan’s Lawless Frontier” (by Imtiaz Gul)

          I would stay clear of Robert Kaplan.


    • Avatar


      December 22, 2010 at 6:19 AM

      ZAI, thanks for sharing your interesting thoughts. While I fully agree with you regarding Imam Zaid’s article — it’s on the mark — I respectfully disagree with some points you made.

      1) Contrary to what you said, analysts, scholars, etc. generally don’t believe the Quetta Shura operates from Quetta anymore. And which “Waziristan” are you talking about? North Waziristan or South Waziristan? There is no tribal agency called “Waziristan” in Pakistan.

      2) True, the former Taliban are seen as a “proxy army” of Pakistan — but they’re also mostly Pashtun as many Afghans are. This makes the matter more complicated than you portray.

      3) Contrary to what you said, there is a high level of Afghan indigenous support in what they have in common with the various factions of the Taliban: driving out US and NATO forces from Afghanistan.

      4) Because the Aghans generally don’t love the Taliban doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll not be ruled by them again — especially knowing Pakistan’s continuing “national security” interests. After Afghans realized the extremism of the Taliban over time, it was not them who ousted the Taliban from power.

      5) You say there are no mujahideen because they are Pakistani proxies, nationalists, and criminals. Yet, you say “we want American to leave”. If “we” stands for the Afghans, which of the 3 categories above do they belong to?


    • Avatar

      Mansoor Ansari

      December 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM


      # 1 are seen as nothing but a Pakistani proxy army and are totally disdained by Afghans in all parts of the country. They will NEVER be accepted as rulers of the country owing to their Pakistani control. It AINT gonna happen people.

      If they won’t Taliban coz they r seen as Pakistani proxy, what abt the current Afgan gov who r nothing but puppets in the hands of US? Will they not fight them?

  39. Avatar

    Stinky cheese

    December 19, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Read the article extract below, for people who think its only radicalised youth doing things, no sometimes it seems its a set up.

    divide and rule (still going strong)
    The Americans, my interlocutor suspected, are trying to provoke an Iraqi civil war so that Sunni Muslim insurgents spend their energies killing their Shia co-religionists rather than soldiers of the Western occupation forces. “I swear to you that we have very good information,” my source says, finger stabbing the air in front of him. “One young Iraqi man told us that he was trained by the Americans as a policeman in Baghdad and he spent 70 per cent of his time learning to drive and 30 per cent in weapons training. They said to him: ‘Come back in a week.’ When he went back, they gave him a mobile phone and told him to drive into a crowded area near a mosque and phone them. He waited in the car but couldn’t get the right mobile signal. So he got out of the car to where he received a better signal. Then his car blew up.”

    “There was another man, trained by the Americans for the police. He too was given a mobile and told to drive to an area where there was a crowd – maybe a protest – and to call them and tell them what was happening. Again, his new mobile was not working. So he went to a landline phone and called the Americans and told them: ‘Here I am, in the place you sent me and I can tell you what’s happening here.’ And at that moment there was a big explosion in his car.”

    Just who these “Americans” might be, my source did not say. In the anarchic and panic-stricken world of Iraq, there are many US groups – including countless outfits supposedly working for the American military and the new Western-backed Iraqi Interior Ministry – who operate outside any laws or rules. No one can account for the murder of 191 university teachers and professors since the 2003 invasion – nor the fact that more than 50 former Iraqi fighter-bomber pilots who attacked Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war have been assassinated in their home towns in Iraq in the past three years.

  40. Avatar


    December 19, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    I don’t really understand why MM is posting these articles. We all know that to commit suicide is totally forbidden and the recompense for doing so is Hellfire.

    I can’t help but wonder if Muslim Matters has posted this ‘preaching to the choir’ article in anticipation of a marked hardening of attitudes, on the part of right wingers, to the Muslim community (and Islamic organisations) in the United States.

    • Avatar


      December 19, 2010 at 5:16 PM

      I assume this article was posted because it is relevant to us in our current times

      if “MM” posted this in anticipation of the hardening of attitudes on the part of the right wingers then clearly MM has some intelligent posters – since that would benefit the Muslim community … the right wingers will eat us up in this country unless we do some serious dawah to counteract their negative influence

      • Avatar


        December 19, 2010 at 11:36 PM

        Thx AbdulMatin. Good response.

  41. Avatar


    December 21, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Please don’t delete my analysis. I apologize for the past and intend to discuss topics with the intention of healthy debate. JazakAllahu-khayrun.

  42. Avatar


    December 22, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    How can one say his willing to die as a Muslim but doesnt even live like one?

    Come on guys lets trying waking up for Fajr first before we start debating who’s right and who’s wrong.

    The Jihad in the west is to live as a Muslim not to die as one.

    May Allah guide us all. Ameen.


  43. Avatar


    December 22, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    I forgot to add…

    Only IF it was addressed to the “real terrorists” of this world! or wait…. he can’t do that, he FEARS his door being kicked down, or his benefits being stopped, who would look after his family? So I know what…

    Lets write to a weak, dumba** “wannabe mujahid” who can’t even string two sentences together, and let the world know how correct and articulate I am.

    What a strange thing to do?

  44. Avatar


    December 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Do you mind putting my message up? I took a lot of time to write it — and then wrote a very short version of it again in case the first message was too long. I don’t understand why meaningful dialogue is being censored. Thanks and salaam.

  45. Avatar


    December 22, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    short clip from john pilgers new documentary.

    something you wont see on fox news.

    it is well researched and documentated. he is a respected journalist. this really is worth watching.

  46. Avatar


    December 27, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    when are we going to wake up? perhaps when it is too late?

    Detained at the airport ‘for no other reason than I’m a Muslim returning from the Hajj’

    By Nawaz Malik

    4 Years in Prison
    Babar Ahmad

    The Prophet (saw) said, “There is some magic in words.” Tyrants use
    the magic in words to control people’s thoughts and deeds by making
    evil appear acceptable to them. So kidnap is known as “arrest”,
    brutality becomes “reasonable force” and torture is nothing more than
    “enhanced interrogation.” When an innocent man is kidnapped from his
    home by bearded Arab gunmen and locked indefinitely in a room he is a
    “hostage.” But when an innocent man is kidnapped from his home by
    uniformed white gunmen and locked indefinitely in a room he is a
    “terrorist.” The world causes uproar over the former but is silent over
    the latter. “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies,
    but the silence of our friends,” observed Martin Luther King.

    Fear is a disease that consumes the soul of the one who embraces
    it. Man’s total capacity to fear is fixed: the more he fears one thing
    the less he fears another. People fear standing up to a tyrant because
    they are afraid of some harm that he ‘may’ cause them, even though that
    harm is limited to the life of this world. Such people have little or
    no fear for any harm that Allah will cause them in the Hereafter.
    However, if these same people were to fear the Day when they shall
    return to stand before the Lord of the Worlds, they would not fear any
    tyrant on the face of the Earth. “Do they fear them? Allah is more
    worthy for you to fear if you are indeed believers.” (Quran 9:13)

  47. Avatar

    I agree

    December 27, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    I agree we all need to return to Allaah swt and correct ourselves.

    May Allaah swt help us all, guide us all and help those who are trying to help, see this video. 10mins long, May Allaah swt guide these people to islam for standing up and telling the truth.

  48. Avatar


    December 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    For those who think the Americans should stay and that things are better, i think we need to do a little research beyond Fox news.

  49. Avatar

    Sister in Islam

    January 1, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Zaid Shakir,

    Get your terminology right. True would be Mujahids don’t terrorize or maim people. Seriously, whose definitions are you going by?

    • Avatar


      January 1, 2011 at 7:18 PM

      dear sister, his article is intended in the style of addressing someone who thinks he is going to be a mujahid … but in actuality is not…

      • Avatar

        Sister in Islam

        January 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM

        Well then he should have used quotation marks around the word. Without them, the word would reference to real would be Mujahids.

        • Avatar


          January 2, 2011 at 1:01 PM

          Dear anyone who would need this advice (not necessarily to you sister unless you also might benefit from it)… I dont think that in Islam we have to be painstakingly literal. the point is to get the message across in the best possible way – since the emphasis is on the inner not the outer – since we’re not judged on the outer but on the hearts… I don’t think the article was hard to understand, unless maybe for non-native english speakers. and still if you know Imam Zaid than you wouldnt jump to any conclusions outside of his intentions… We should be careful in being too literal. I say this as advice to anyone out there, because from my experience it led into problems in my psychology, my religion, and my general well being … i was not peaceful and frequently missed the point all too often and was dissatisfied with my religious practice but kept on doing it out of anxiety and fear and denial of my real feelings. May Allah guide us unto correct understanding, moderacy, and expecting the best from Him. ameen

          Narrated ‘Aisha: Allah’s Apostle said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]

          … think the best of Allah… do you think Allah would hold Zaid Shakir to account for not putting quotations on the word even though he made his points clear and at other times he clearly elaborated on what a true mujahid is (outside of this article)… so then why do it yourself… not to make too big a deal out of your response sister, that’s not my intention, but i make this point for anyone who might benefit inshaAllah… we need Muslim unity and also we need understanding on certain Muslim principles of moderacy and thinking well of our Lord and each other that i think we are lacking and it only puts our own ugly attitudes out on the table for everyone to see.

          May Allah bless you sister and everyone in this ummah. asalamu alaykum

          • Avatar

            Sister in Islam

            January 2, 2011 at 1:57 PM

            Dear AbdulMatin,

            Thanks for the advice. However, the matter is not about literalism or comprehending the msg of the article but rather about clarity of referential speech in matters pertaining to religion and proper syntax. This matter becomes extremely important especially in this day and age of religious confusion and self-proclaimed ‘scholars’ (not refering to Zaid Shakir or any specific entities here).

            As for the question of what Allah (swt) would deal with such errors, Allah (swt) is the all-knowing and He knows best. I, in light of my religious understanding, will say what I think is right.

            And Allah (swt) knows best.

            Walaykum as-salaam!

  50. Pingback: A Reply to a would be ‘Alim « islamsimportant

  51. Pingback: Zaid Shakir & Mohamed Magid | Curbing Violent Extremism in the Muslim Community « Ify Okoye

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#Current Affairs

Sri Lankan Muslims To Fast In Solidarity With Fellow Christians

Raashid Riza



On Sunday morning Sri Lankan Christians went to their local churches for Easter services, as they have done for centuries. Easter is a special occasion for Christian families in ethnically diverse Sri Lanka. A time for families to gather to worship in their churches, and then to enjoy their festivities. Many went to their local church on Sunday morning to be followed by a traditional family breakfast at home or a local restaurant.

It would have been like any other Easter Sunday for prominent mother-daughter television duo, Shanthaa Mayadunne and Nisanga Mayadunne. Except that it wasn’t.

Nisanga Mayadunne posted a family photograph on Facebook at 8.47 AM with the title “Easter breakfast with family” and had tagged the location, the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Little would she have known that hitting ‘post’ would be among the last things she would do in this earthly abode. Minutes later a bomb exploded at the Shangri-La, killing her and her mother.

In more than a half a dozen coordinated bomb blasts on Sunday, 360 people have been confirmed dead, with the number expected to most likely rise. Among the dead are children who have lost parents and mothers & fathers whose families will never be together again.

Many could not get past the church service. A friend remembers the service is usually so long that the men sometimes go outside to get some fresh air, with women and children remaining inside – painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the children who may have been within the hall.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes against their own faith, and against humanity have been identified as radicalised Muslim youth, claiming to be part of a hitherto little-known organisation. Community leaders claim with much pain of how authorities were alerted years ago to the criminal intent of these specific youth.

Mainstream Muslims have in fact been at the forefront not just locally, but also internationally in the fight against extremism within Muslim communities. This is why Sri Lankan Muslims are especially shaken by what has taken place when men who have stolen their identity commit acts of terror in their name. Sri Lankan Muslims and Catholics have not been in conflict in the past, adding to a palimpsest of reasons that make this attack all the more puzzling to experts. Many here are bewildered as to what strategic objective these terrorists sought to achieve.

Sri Lankan Muslims Take Lead

Sri Lankan Muslims, a numerical minority, though a well-integrated native community in Sri Lanka’s colourful social fabric, seek to take lead in helping to alleviate the suffering currently plaguing our nation.

Promoting love alone will not foster good sustainable communal relationships – unless it is accompanied by tangible systemic interventions that address communal trigger points that could contribute to ethnic or religious tensions. Terror in all its forms must be tackled in due measure by law enforcement authorities.

However, showing love, empathy and kindness is as good a starting point in a national crisis as any.

Sri Lankan Muslims have called to fast tomorrow (Thursday) in solidarity with their fellow Christian and non-Christian friends who have died or are undergoing unbearable pain, trauma, and suffering.  Terror at its heart seeks to divide, to create phases of grief that ferments to anger, and for this anger to unleash cycles of violence that usurps the lives of innocent men, women, and children. Instead of letting terror take its course, Sri Lankans are aspiring to come together, to not let terror have its way.

Together with my fellow Sri Lankan Muslims, I will be fasting tomorrow from dawn to dusk. I will be foregoing any food and drink during this period.

It occurs to many of us that it is unconscientious to have regular days on these painful days when we know of so many other Sri Lankans who have had their lives obliterated by the despicable atrocities committed by terrorists last Sunday. Fasting is a special act of worship done by Muslims, it is a time and state in which prayers are answered. It is a state in which it is incumbent upon us to be more charitable, with our time, warmth and whatever we could share.

I will be fasting and praying tomorrow, to ease the pain and suffering of those affected.

I will be praying for a peaceful Sri Lanka, where our children – all our children, of all faiths – can walk the streets without fear and have the freedom to worship in peace.

I will be fasting tomorrow for my Sri Lanka. I urge you to do the same.

Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Surah Maidah

Raashid Riza is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the Politics & Society Editor of The Platform. He blogs here and tweets on @aufidius.


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#Current Affairs

White Activism Is Crucial In The Wake of Right-Wing Terrorism

Laura El Alam



The vicious terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15 were a punch to the gut for peace-loving people all over the world.  Only the most heartless of individuals could feel nonchalant about 70 innocent children, women, and men being killed or maimed mercilessly as they prayed. However, even a brief glimpse at comments on social media confirms that among the outpouring of sadness and shock, there are, indeed, numerous sick individuals who glory in Brenton Tarrant’s deliberately evil actions. White supremacy, in all its horrific manifestations, is clearly alive and well.  

In an enlightening article in The Washington Post, R. Joseph Parrott explains,  “Recently, global white supremacy has been making a comeback, attracting adherents by stoking a new unease with changing demographics, using an expanded rhetoric of deluge and cultivating nostalgia for a time when various white governments ruled the world (and local cities). At the fringes, longing for lost white regimes forged a new global iconography of supremacy.”

“Modern white supremacy is an international threat that knows no borders, being exported and globalized like never before,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “The hatred that led to violence in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville is finding new adherents around the world. Indeed, it appears that this attack was not just focused on New Zealand; it was intended to have a global impact.” (link)

Many people want to sweep this terrifying reality under the rug, among them the U.S. President.  Asked by a reporter if he saw an increase globally in the threat of white nationalism, Trump replied, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

However, experts in his own country disagree.  A March 17 article in NBC News claims that, “The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned in a 2017 intelligence bulletin that white supremacist groups had carried out more attacks in the U.S. than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years. And officials believe they are likely to carry out more.”

Although they may be unaware of — or in denial about –the growing influence of white supremacist ideology, the vast majority of white people do not support violent acts of terrorism.  However, many of them are surprisingly, hurtfully silent when acts of terrorism are committed by non-Muslims, with Muslims as the victims.

When a shooter yells “Allahu akbar” before killing innocent people, public furor is obvious and palpable.  “Terror attacks by Muslims receive 375% more press attention,” states a headline in The Guardian, citing a study by the University of Alabama. The perpetrator is often portrayed as a “maniac” and a representative of an inherently violent faith. In the wake of an attack committed by a Muslim, everyone from politicians to religious leaders to news anchors calls on Muslim individuals and organizations to disavow terrorism.  However, when white men kill Muslims en masse, there is significantly less outrage.  People try to make sense of the shooters’ vile actions, looking into their past for trauma, mental illness, or addiction that will somehow explain why they did what they did.  Various news outlets humanized Brenton Tarrant with bold headlines that labeled him an “angelic boy who grew into an evil far-right mass killer,” an “ordinary white man,” “obsessed with video games,” and even “badly picked on as a child because he was chubby.”  Those descriptions, which evoke sympathy rather than revulsion, are reserved for white mass murderers.

The media’s spin on terrorist acts shapes public reaction.  Six days after the Christchurch attacks, millions were not currently taking to the streets to protest right-wing extremism.  World leaders are not linking arms in a dramatic march against white supremacist terrorism.  And no one is demanding that white men, in general, disavow terrorism.

But that would be unreasonable, right? To expect all white men to condemn the vile actions of an individual they don’t even know?  Unreasonable though it may be, such expectations are placed on Muslims all the time.

As a white woman, I am here to argue that white people — and most of all white-led institutions — are exactly the ones who need to speak up now, loudly and clearly condemning right-wing terrorism, disavowing white supremacy, and showing support of Muslims generally.  We need to do this even if we firmly believe we’re not part of the problem. We need to do this even if our first reaction is to feel defensive (“But I’m not a bigot!”), or if discussing race is uncomfortable to us. We need to do it even if we are Muslims who fully comprehend that our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,  “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab. Neither is the white superior over the black, nor is the black superior over the white — except by piety.”

While we might not hold hatred in our hearts individually, we do hold the power, institutionally.  If we truly care about people of color, peace, and justice, we must put our fragile egos aside and avoid “not me-ism.”  The fact is, if we have white skin, we have grown up in a world that favors us in innumerable ways, both big and small. Those of us with privilege, position, and authority are the very ones who have the greatest responsibility to make major changes to society. Sadly, sometimes it takes a white person to make other white people listen and change.

White religious leaders, politicians, and other people with influence and power need to speak up and condemn the New Zealand attacks publically and unequivocally, even if we do not consider ourselves remotely affiliated with right-wing extremists or murderous bigots.  Living our comfortable lives, refusing to discuss or challenge institutionalized racism, xenophobia, and rampant Islamophobia, and accepting the status quo are all a tacit approval of the toxic reality that we live in.  

Institutional power is the backbone of racism.  Throughout history, governments and religious institutions have enforced racist legislation, segregation, xenophobic policies, and the notion that white people are inherently superior to people of color.  These institutions continue to be controlled by white people, and if white leaders and white individuals truly believe in justice for all, we must do much more than “be a nice person.” We must use our influence to change the system and to challenge injustice.  

White ministers need to decry racial violence and anti-immigrant sentiment from their pulpits, making it abundantly clear that their religion does not advocate racism, xenophobia, or Islamophobia. They must condemn Brenton Tarrant’s abhorrent actions in clear terms, in case any member of their flock sees him as some sort of hero.  Politicians and other leaders need to humanize and defend Muslims while expressing zero tolerance for extremists who threaten the lives or peace of their fellow citizens — all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs, immigration status, or ethnicity.  New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is an excellent role model for world leaders; she has handled her nation’s tragedy with beautiful compassion, wisdom, and crystal clear condemnation of the attacker and his motives.  Similarly, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demonstrated superb leadership and a humane, loving response to the victims in Christchurch (and Muslims in general) in his recent address to the House of Commons.  

Indeed, when they put their mind to it, people can make quite an impactful statement against extremist violence.  In January 2015 when Muslim gunmen killed 17 people in Paris, there was an immediate global reaction. The phrase “Je suis Charlie” trended on social media and in fact became one of the most popular hashtags in the history of Twitter.  Approximately 3.4 million people marched in anti-terrorism rallies throughout France, and 40 world leaders — most of whom were white — marched alongside a crowd of over 1 million in Paris.  

While several political and religious leaders have made public statements condemning the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, there is much less activism on the streets and even on social media following this particular atrocity.  Many Muslims who expected words of solidarity, unity, or comfort from non-Muslim family or friends were disappointed by the general lack of interest, even after a mosque was burned in California with a note left in homage to New Zealand.

In a public Facebook post, Shibli Zaman of Texas echoed many Muslims’ feelings when he wrote, “One of the most astonishing things to me that I did not expect — but, in hindsight, realize that I probably should have — is how few of my non-Muslim friends have reached out to me to express condolences and sorrow.” His post concluded, “But I have learned that practically none of my non-Muslim friends care.”

Ladan Rashidi of California posted, simply, “The Silence.  Your silence is deafening. And hurtful.” Although her words were brief and potentially enigmatic, her Muslim Facebook friends instantly understood what she was talking about and commiserated with her.   

Why do words and actions matter so much in the wake of a tragedy?  

Because they have the power to heal and to unite. Muslims feel shattered right now, and the lack of widespread compassion or global activism only heightens the feeling that we are unwanted and “other.”  If 50 innocent Muslims die from terrorism, and the incident does not spark universal outrage, but one Muslim pulls the trigger and the whole world erupts in indignation, then what is that saying about society’s perception of the value of Muslim lives?

To the compassionate non-Muslims who have delivered flowers, supportive messages, and condolences to the Muslim community in New Zealand and elsewhere, I thank you sincerely. You renew our hope in humanity.

To the white people who care enough to acknowledge their privilege and use it to the best of their ability to bring about justice and peace, I salute you.  Please persevere in your noble goals. Please continue to learn about institutionalized racism and attempt to make positive changes. Do not shy away from discussions about race and do not doubt or silence people of color when they explain their feelings.  Our discomfort, our defensiveness, and our professed “colorblindness” should not dominate the conversation every time we hear the word “racism.” We should listen more than speak and put our egos to the side. I am still learning to do this, and while it is not easy, it is crucial to true understanding and transformation.

To the rest of you who have remained silent, for whatever reason:  I ask you to look inside yourself and think about whether you are really satisfied with a system that values some human lives so highly over others.  If you are not a white supremacist, nor a bigot, nor a racist — if you truly oppose these ideologies — then you must do more than remain in your comfortable bubble.  Speak up. Spread love. Fix problems on whatever level you can, to the best of your ability. If you are in a leadership position, the weight on your shoulders is heavy; do not shirk your duty.  To be passive, selfish, apathetic, or lazy is to enable hatred to thrive, and then, whether you intended to or not, you are on the side of the extremists. Which side are you on? Decide and act.

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case, he is justly accountable to them for their injury.”  — John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.  

For the past decade, writer Laura El Alam has been a regular contributor to SISTERS Magazine, Al Jumuah, and About Islam.  Her articles frequently tackle issues like Muslim American identity, women’s rights in Islam, support of converts/reverts, and racism.  A graduate of Grinnell College, she currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband and five children. Laura recently started a Facebook page, The Common Sense Convert, to support Muslim women, particularly those who are new to the deen.

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Spiritually Processing What Happened In New Zealand A Few Days Later

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi



It feels like we’re living in the times that were described by the Prophet in a number of different narrations. The Prophet said, “A time will come upon people when a person practicing his religion with patience will be like one holding on to a burning ember.”

 عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِمَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ الصَّابِرُ فِيهِمْ عَلَىدِينِهِ كَالْقَابِضِ عَلَى الْجَمْر

Just like holding on to a burning ember is very difficult, it causes physical pain, holding on to our religion will also be very difficult. It will lead to hardships and difficulties. It seems as if every other week we’re dealing with some type of tragedy, some type of crisis. And each one seems to be bigger and worse than the last. As Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) told those who were complaining about the trials and difficulties they were facing at the hands of Hajjāj ibn Yusuf, “There is no year, except that the one that is after it will be more evil than it, until you meet your Lord. I heard this from your Prophet .”

 “‏ مَا مِنْ عَامٍ إِلاَّالَّذِي بَعْدَهُ شَرٌّ مِنْهُ حَتَّى تَلْقَوْا رَبَّكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ سَمِعْتُ هَذَا مِنْ نَبِيِّكُمْ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.

Similarly, the Prophet told us that we will face trial after trial, difficulty after difficulty. The Prophet said that near the end of times the Ummah will be faced with trials and difficulties that it will dislike. Then he said, “There will be tremendous trials one after the other, each making the previous one dwindle into insignificance. When they would be afflicted with a trial, the believer would say: This is going to bring about my destruction. When at (the trial) is over, they would be afflicted with another trial, and the believer would say: This surely is going to be my end.”

· وَتَجِيءُ فِتْنَةٌ فَيُرَقِّقُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا وَتَجِيءُالْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ مُهْلِكَتِي ‏.‏ ثُمَّ تَنْكَشِفُوَتَجِيءُ الْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ هَذِهِ ‏.‏

This week, the Muslim ummah was faced with another devastating trial. Two separate mosques were attacked by a right-wing extremist in New Zealand during Friday prayer. According to the latest report approximately 49 god-conscious, mosque-going Muslims were massacred in cold bold. This is an absolute act of senseless violence. They were killed in the masjid simply because they believed in the kalima la ilaha illa Allah… There’s absolutely no mistake that this was a cowardly act of terrorism. May Allah grant all the deceased the highest ranks in Jannah and may He give patience and strength to their families.

This is a result of years of unchecked and unfiltered hate speech, xenophobia, Islamophobia, prejudice, and racism that has been propagated through the mainstream media. All of us know that the mainstream media, whether its CNN, BCC, or Fox News, portrays Islam and Muslims in the most negative light possible. There’s a whole well-funded industry of Islamophobia and propaganda dedicated to tarnishing the image of Islam and Muslims in the average person’s mind. They’ve created an environment where the word Islam has negative associations. To an extent that when someone hears the word Islam, they automatically think of violence, terror, bombings and the enemy.

Although the perpetrator himself carried out the massacre in cold blood, I can’t help but place blame on all those who demonize Islam and Muslims. Part of the blame rests with those politicians who use fear-mongering, hate and prejudice to paint Muslims as the “other” just to win votes. They say outlandish things like Muslims are colonizing and invading our countries. That they want to take over and impose Sharia Law. They introduce anti-Sharia bills to create more fear. Part of the blame goes to these obnoxious, loud-mouthed, bigoted pundits, like Bill Maher and his likes, who constantly spew inflammatory rhetoric from their influential platforms. Part of the blame goes to people like Lauren Southern, Tommy Robinson, Richard Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Frank Gaffney who are openly prejudiced towards Islam and try to create a sense of hate and fear in their viewer’s hearts. They openly speak of something they call “the Muslim problem”. Part of the blame goes to all these other bigots who use their influence to preach against Islam. There are so much bigotry and fear-mongering that at times it seems overwhelming. There’s so much bias, hate, and prejudice that sometimes we feel stuck. And it’s this rhetoric, this hate, this prejudice and bigotry that has created an environment that would allow for something like this to happen. Senseless acts of violence like this don’t happen in a vacuum. There are circumstances that are created that allow them to take place.

This tragic incident really hit home for a lot of us. Part of the reason is that Muslims living as minorities can actually relate to it. It feels real. It is real. The individuals killed in the masjid could’ve been any one of us. It could’ve been any one of our family members and that’s a scary thought. Whenever we see Muslims in pain, struggling, dealing with death and loss we’re supposed to feel that pain as well. As the Prophet said, “The believers are like a single body. If the eye hurts the entire body feels the pain. If the head hurts the entire body feels that pain.” All of us are feeling that pain. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of pain the parents and the families are feeling right now.

How do we channel this pain?

How do we deal with it? What are we supposed to do? One thing that we can definitely take solace in is the fact that the Prophet , the last and final messenger, our role model also felt that pain. He experiences similar trials and hardships. There was a very powerful anti-Islam, anti-Muslim sentiment among the people of Makkah. The Prophet himself was attacked both verbally and physically. He dealt with the pain of rejection, prejudice, bigotry, and hatred. He had to deal with the pain of seeing some of his closest companions tortured, beaten, persecuted, and even killed. Yasir, his wife Sumayyah and their son ‘Ammar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) faced painful persecution at the hands of Quraish. Yasir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) died as a result of his persecution and his wife was killed by Abu Jahl just because they were Muslim. They were made to feel this pain, to go through these trials, difficulties and struggle to make them stronger. To develop their faith, personality, and character. This pain didn’t cause them to give in to fear; it didn’t make them scared. Rather, it made them stronger.

In multiple places throughout the Quran Allah teaches the Prophet how to deal with this pain. How to derive strength from these trials and hardships. When the people of Quraish rejected him when they called him a liar, a magician, a sorcerer and a madman Allah told him, “So be patient, [O Muhammad]. Indeed, the promise of Allah is Truth. And ask forgiveness for your sin and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord in the evening and the morning.” Allah told him to seek strength through patience and prayer.

To focus on his relationship with Allah . Allah told him something similar in Surah Taha, “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night[exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.”

These are the same words of advice that Allah gives to us as believers, “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” The true strength of believers has never been through financial or physical means. Their true power has always come through their spiritual strength. These incidents are meant to push us closer to Allah , to unite us, to strengthen our faith, and make us more dedicated to our religion.

These are wake up calls. Allah is literally shaking us and telling us to come back to him. It’s time to come back. That’s the only true way of changing our situation.

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