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The Paris Massacre, Assessing the Muslim Response


I do not regard lightly, the loss of any innocent life that Allah has made inviolable. Innocent life is sacred, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, or ethnicity. It is Allah who grants life to whomever He pleases, and no one has a legitimate right to take that life unjustly. When people die, other people’s lives are affected. When innocent people are mercilessly killed, slaughtered, gunned down, beheaded, massacred, blown up, suicide bombed, or droned for no sense at all, it amplifies the tragedy.

I agree wholeheartedly that condemning violence against innocent souls is an appropriate Muslim response as it falls into the category of enjoining the good and forbidding evil (al-amr bil ma’roof wa annah’yi an al-munkar). However, condemning selected instances of violence, while remaining silent about others that are equally if not more heinous, only perpetuates the widely held notion that Muslims living in the West are disingenuous, and self-serving. If Muslims are in fact, morally outraged about the terrible slaughter in Paris, then we should be equally outraged when it happens in Beirut, North Africa, Palestine, in suburban Connecticut, or in a Chicago slum.

There is a difference between taking a firm, unequivocal, morally principled position against injustice and murder of innocent lives of any kind, and taking episodic stances against occurrences of extreme violence’s against innocent civilians, according to hyperbolic pressure from the media, or our own political, and public relations considerations. This recurring, and seemingly automated Muslim reaction to these types of selected and sensationalized acts of extremism only takes us deeper into an ostentatious black hole, with no foreseeable ending or win game.

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If we still believe that selective condemnation of Muslim violent extremism will somehow convince the media and vocal critics of Islam, and Muslims, to put the brakes on their vitriol, and give the rest of us a break, then history has shown that we are terribly wrong, and have not succeeded by any measure.

That we continuously find ourselves in the circuitous predicament of feeling compelled to condemn yet another incident of Muslim violence, and then complaining with the same frequency that no one’s listening, is testimony enough that just as violent extremists have hijacked the image of Islam, our politics has hijacked our morality.

We cannot continue to calibrate the shelf life and intensity of our moral consciousness based upon the length of a news feed or the broadcast schedule of the news media. Politicizing our Islam has virtually eviscerated Muslim moral credibility in the West. If people believed that we were truly a people of conscious and not a people of convenience, there would be no expectation of Muslims to condemn selected instances of violence, nor would we feel any compulsion to do so.

Imam Luqman Ahmad has been the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California, for close to 20 years. He is the author of the Book: ‘The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafiyyah Sect, a detailed analysis of extremist salafiyyism. Available on He can be reached at

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

American born, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad who comes from pioneering Muslim parents, has been an Imam for 24 years is an associate Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam, housed in the first building built originally as a Mosque in the State of Ohio. He is author of the book; “Double Edged Slavery”, a book about the civilizational status of Black American Sunni Muslims. He blogs at and can be reached at: Shaykh Luqman graduated from the language and usool ud-deen program at Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan and received his ijaazah in Hafs Quran recitation from the Quranic village of Wad al-Faadni in the Jazeerah Province of Sudan. Shaykh Luqman also studied at Umm Al-Quraa University in Saudi Arabia and at the Haram al-Makki. While in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in addition to the teachers at Um al-Qura, the Imam studied with Sheikh Suleiman al-Hazmi, Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq who was his sheikh of tafseer al-Quran, and Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazaali. Shaykh Luqman learned usool al-hadith from Sheikh Muhammad bin Humayad a classic era Az’harian trained in the Ottoman period. Imam Luqman also took lessons from the late African American Shaykh; Muhammad Ghulaam Al-Haarith, one of the first indigenous American Muslims to attend Azhar University.



  1. John Howard

    November 14, 2015 at 5:08 PM

    For a start let’s get some facts right shall we. The bombings in Beirut, North Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria are committed by MUSLIMS AGAINST FELLOW MUSLIMS ! The Israel situation is an ongoing affair that is as much the blame from all parties. The attacks in Paris are attacks on NON MUSLIMS BY MUSLIMS! Where are your condemnations of the killings in the Muslim world by your fellow travellers? Where is the outrage from Muslims, the demonstrations, the complaints about when your own murder your own. The sectarian murders by Muslims is horrendous. Personally I have given up worrying about Muslims any more because they are it seems very happy to slaughter each other happily. But when you inflict it on the rest of us then you more than irritate me. I question why should we allow followers of this belief be allowed to immigrate into our secular and democratic states because it is becoming more and more apparent that our standards and values are not accepted or wanted. At least one of those animals had a Syrian passport who had come to Europe as a “refugee” .
    Don’t you get it yet Islam is the problem !

    • Honest Muslimah

      November 16, 2015 at 12:44 PM

      Yes… Because a suicide bomber is carrying around his Syrian passport so that later he can be identified? Genius! … Failed propaganda that is!

      • John Howard

        November 16, 2015 at 5:30 PM

        You will admit that he was a Muslim at least won’t you ? After all you can;t be that stupid! They found the passport on or near his remains Are you implying that the French authorities dropped it there to blame the Syrian immigrants?

      • Kristy

        November 16, 2015 at 10:00 PM

        Honest, They matched his unattached bloody finger to his passport. His other remains included fragments of the exploded incendiary device he had been wearing.

      • Matt

        November 17, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        It is a bit convenient that a passport was found in a decent enough condition to tell who it belonged to, when the person it supposedly belonged to had been blown to pieces.

        Also, the first thing Hollande did was close the borders, why? The problem was in Paris, nowhere near the borders, it wasn’t like an army of terrorists were sat waiting at the borders waiting for the all clear.

        The refugees should not be blamed for this, as they are running away from the same people who attacked Paris. The Governments through various media sources are using it as a deterrent for allowing refugees into their respective country.

    • Yasin

      November 16, 2015 at 1:34 PM

      What a silly thing to say? Seriously, such a silly silly comment. Howard, you seem to follow this website and by now you know this website and the its contributors don’t support terrorism and, in fact, condemn it openly and clearly. Despite all this you still write silly comments that seem to serve no purpose other than show your bigotry, gullibility, and small mindedness. Your comments will be received better on a Daily Mail or Daily Express column.

      • John Howard

        November 16, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        Yasin you may not not support terrorism I won’t argue with that and the majority of the Muslims don’t here BUT and there is always a but more often it is prefaced with a snide inference that it is all the west’s fault, Every time an outrage is committed in the west out comes the “we are the victims” To date Muslims have not been rounded up and placed in ghettoes by the state, murdered by the rest of the population. There has been the usual yelling or graffiti but compared to what is happening in Muslim countries the law and the non Muslims has more than protected. These outrages are in your faith’s name all I ever hear is how we the non Muslims need to be educated! Lady it’s time you educated your fellow followers! We are tired of burying our citizens murdered in Allah’s name

    • Mustafa

      November 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      John where is your outrage at Western terrorism and slaughter of innocent people? Where are the protests, the demonstrations? Comeone John, how can we know you don’t sympathize with terrorists? We mourn for ALL loss of life and condemn ALL crimes, why don’t you?

      • John Howard

        November 17, 2015 at 5:29 PM

        If you are referring to Iraq and Afghanistan Tell me what was the US going to do after 3,000 of its citizens were murdered by ISLAMIC terrorists ? Sit back and apologise for putting the Trade Centre in the way of the planes they had “borrowed” ? Iraq was certainly a big mistake but muslims had a fantastic opportunity after Saddam Husein was deposed to set up a nation that could have been the role model for the Muslim world. Instead they degenerated into a savagery where they slaughtered each other The west did not slaughter hundreds of thousands of Iraqis after that was they were murdered by their fellow Muslims! Many westerners were against the Iraqi war and demonstrated as such all over the west. Where are your demonstrations against the slaughters in Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Lebanon, India etc etc These are the ones committed by Muslims on either non Muslims or Muslims? Where is the Muslim generosity for the Syrian refugees in the Gulf states and other parts of the Muslim world – It is found only in the west among the kufars! The victim mentality is alive and well and a very useful screen for the failings of Muslims. Finally one more thing the term “Islamophobia” is often used against critics of Islam that term was first thought up by the Muslim Brotherhood that scion of brotherly love and fairness and democratic ideals

      • Mustafa

        November 28, 2015 at 4:33 PM

        John Howard Western terrorism only started after 9/11? Why aren’t you condeming Western terrorism before 9/11 John? Why don’t you put an end to the victim blaming, hypocrisy, blatant falsehoods and double standards John Howard?

        • John Howard

          November 28, 2015 at 9:21 PM

          Western terrorism before 9/11? Really? Do you mean the support of Israel the only truly democratic nation in the Middle East? It is interesting that Israeli Arabs show consistently in polls that they prefer to live among the hated Jews than live among their own co-religionists elsewhere in the Arab world. Why is that I wonder? Double standards? Probably but before you criticise the west look at yourselves first. One of the great strengths of the west is that we have the freedom to criticise everything from religion to our government and we do . We also change our governments when we don’t like them which we do – regularly. As for the 100 million or more Muslims who have come to the west we have seen those same traits that you accuse us of namely victim blaming, hypocrisy, blatant falsehoods and double standards. It is always our fault that these massacres occur in the west. Constantly on this site I have read how Islam needs to educate the west of their ignorance about the religion of peace and what it can do for them. The fact that the vast majority of us do not want to take your message or religion on doesn’t men anything it seems because you keep on pushing. The term cuckoo in the nest comes to mind when Islam is mentioned among us kafirs. How many Muslims here in the west have been murdered by the non Muslims, western governments ? Where are the camps to keep you under guard, How many mosques have you built? How is it that laws have been enacted to protect your right to practice your religion. Where have we closed your mosques. You have come to our nations and we have whether we wanted to or not accepted your immigration. It is time you acknowledge just how much you have got from our nations

  2. Bint Ahmed

    November 14, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    Finally, someone has the courage to write this honest assessment of reactions to modern day violence

  3. R

    November 14, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    My thoughts exactly. You Sheikh are able to put it words more eloquently, subhanallah.

    • R

      November 14, 2015 at 8:46 PM

      * I meant put it in words

  4. Mehmet

    November 15, 2015 at 2:11 AM

    I found this comment on a newspaper article and i found it really good

    Melissa Cronin
    11/14/15 10:38am
    Asymmetrical warfare is particularly frightening and horrifying, because it overwhelmingly leads the weaker combatant, who cannot compete on a conventional field of battle, to go after vulnerable targets and innocents.

    What’s happening here isn’t about Islam. It’s about the occupation by Western powers of other people’s countries, an occupation going back generations. It’s about the ruthlessness of the West, especially the oil industry, which has collaborated with the most brutal and reactionary elements in resource-rich nations in order to occupy and exploit those countries, generating trillions of dollars in profits. It’s about our collaboration in assassinating their reformers, in terrorizing and imprisoning their most enlightened leaders, teachers, journalists and physicians, all to prop up the autocrats who, in exchange for the absolute power and wealth we give them, provide us endless access to all that profit.

    It’s about the endless cycle of revenge and retaliation in which both sides are now, permanently, hopelessly, enmeshed, a cycle reinvigorated by the Bush administration’s invasion and destabilization of Iraq and the last fifteen years of an anarchic, unimaginably ugly and bloody state of war.

    Understand this: the only reason white, Christian countries aren’t generating teams of terrorists who commit horrid atrocities and mow down innocent civilians is because white, Christian countries have immense armies and advanced weaponry to do all those things.

    That allows the rest of us to sit back and be perfectly horrified about how uncivilized and bloodthirsty those Muslims are, compared to our civilized selves.

    We use soldiers and drones and official doctrine to kill people—most of them quite innocent—by the tens and hundreds of thousands, but we are very adept at pretending otherwise. We congratulate ourselves for being more civilized than the kind of people who would gun down or blow up innocent civilians. We howl like angry little wolves about the beastliness of Islam, then send in more drones to wipe out hospitals or wedding parties or small villages.

    The unforgivable horror in Paris will be—must be—avenged. It is impossible, in the real world, to “turn the other cheek” after an event like this one, so cruel, so savage, so depraved.

    In the process of retaliating, Western military personnel and weaponry will wipe out countless innocent lives, along with a handful of guilty lives. The survivors of those slaughtered innocents will become radicalized, and will live for acts of revenge against us. They will bomb and behead and incinerate as many of us as they can.

    We will be appalled at such savagery, which we will associate with what we claim to be a bizarre and vindictive religion that does not value human life as we value it—a lazy, ahistoric, thuggish fallacy that appeals to us because it’s easier to make that case than it is to accept that our luxurious Western way of life has been based entirely on sucking up other people’s resources, killing and enslaving them as necessary to protect our interests.

    Hence we non-terrorists will enslave and bomb and poison and gun down more of them to teach them a lesson, killing more of their old people and women and children, reducing more of their homes to rubble, and creating more radicals.

    There is no stopping point. This goes on until the end of human civilization—or until we all run out of oil.

    • lee

      November 18, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      Awesome response to John Howard!

  5. masood

    November 15, 2015 at 4:19 AM

    Could not have said it in better words.

  6. n

    November 15, 2015 at 4:26 AM

    But how will anyone know we equally condemn all violence against innocent people when we don’t get the airtime? We are ignored and silenced by the Zionists powers. May Allah grant us the ability to unite and defeat the disbelievers.

    • Alima Mehru

      November 15, 2015 at 5:48 AM

      It is this sort of comment (by n) that demonstrates our arrogance and seeks to justify another example where Islamic world has used depraved uneducated immoral juveniles and base criminals to demonstrate our moral superiority by murder and intolerance.
      Allah is greater than man made Islam.
      Allah is not so weak and feeble that he has only been able to speak to a single prophet since the 5th century.
      There are many ways to Allah.
      Ashamed by brothers!

      • Ibn Islam

        November 15, 2015 at 11:32 AM

        And they are ashamed of Muslims like you.

    • Please explain

      November 15, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      ‘Defeat the disbelievers’. Strange choice of a words!

  7. james

    November 15, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    ‘n’s comments are a perfect example of why the world fears Muslims. we believe ‘n’s perspective to be the majority perspective.

    • tabitha

      November 15, 2015 at 12:50 PM

      The world aka western world fears Muslims? Really, they do? Or is it guilty conscience manifesting as fear?

      I think all these isis terrorists and powerful western polticians+their muppets deserve each other. Somebody put them in a box together. Dear Lord please make it happen.

      • John Howard

        November 16, 2015 at 5:59 AM

        Tabitha I wonder if Muslims should feel similar guilt after all the invasions of much of North Africa, Greece, Spain, Eastern Europe over the centuries which are on a par with any western invasion and by all accounts even more bloody. The Armenians and Greeks also have very good reasons to question the mercy of Muslims. Over a million Armenians were murdered during World War 1 by the Ottoman Empire. And currently the invasion of Cyprus where Turkey took over half the Island. Let us not forget those same powerful western leaders went into Kosovo and saved the Muslims from the Serbs but we hear no thanks from the Muslim s about that. Right now over a million Muslims are being taken in by Europe and as we have seen not all are refugees. Where are the rich Muslim nations in their charity to their fellow Muslims Why is it only we decadent westerners taking these refugees ? Look into own house because right now Islam smells badly. The restraint shown by the French populus and their government to the local Muslim population since those attacks as well as the Charlie Hebdo massacres says more about western values than it does about your faith’s

      • Mustafa

        November 28, 2015 at 4:43 PM

        “and by all accounts even more bloody.”

        John, by all accounts you are a troll.

        No, of course that is just my account but I can pull things out of the air like you. The fact is, Western terrorism is far severer a threat to world peace than anything a Muslim has done. This is indisputable and an absolute fact. I’m sorry to say, but you Westerners need to STOP BEING TERRORISTS

      • james

        December 22, 2015 at 6:01 PM

        tabitha, it doesn’t sound like you have peace on your mind.

      • James

        December 28, 2015 at 3:13 PM

        Tabitha you can blame others if you wish, but the Quran is the immutable word of God: Q8:12, Q9:5

    • Clarke

      November 15, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      Agree. The “victim” mentality of blaming others for one’s own lack of action is, unfortunately, an excuse that infuses what the public sees as Muslim reaction to events such as those in Paris. The perception is “we condemn the violence, but …” If the viewpoint expressed in this post (which I strongly want to believe is that of the silent majority of Muslims) were consistently expressed to all acts of violence it would help the West have a more accurate understanding of Islam.

  8. Alima Mehru

    November 15, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    What is wrong Ibn Islam? Do you not rejoice in being reminded that Allah is greater than Islam?

    • Reductio ad absurdum

      November 15, 2015 at 6:02 PM

      Sorry, you may think you are saying something terribly clever, but you’re just spouting nonsense. The proposition ‘Allah is greater than Islam’ is like saying ‘the moon is greater than feminist existentialism,’ that ‘gravity is greater than a V6 turbo’ or that ‘Judaism is greater than Yorkshire pudding’. Classic conflation/’apples and oranges’ fallacy. You may very well have some coherent idea you’re trying to express, but try again.

    • Ibn Islam

      November 16, 2015 at 8:10 AM

      Allah’s religion is Islam, so what is your problem or should I say position?

      • Alima Mehru

        November 17, 2015 at 4:33 PM

        Are you trying to say that Allah’s only religion is Islam?

      • Mustafa

        November 28, 2015 at 4:34 PM

        Yeah, it is.

        As Allah Himself says,

        إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ ۗ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۗ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

  9. Hamburger

    November 15, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Why aren’t all life’s valuable. I don’t think you are smart enough to deem who is innocent and who is guilty. So this phrase in the Koran seems to justify radical jihads.

  10. Muhammed Maheebi

    November 15, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    We Muslims must band together and renounce our Islamic faith, as it is destroying the world. Wherever we go, we suicide bomb, we kill, murder, steal and ruin.

    • Ibn Islam

      November 16, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      You just became a kafir because you got all uncomfortable with a little pressure by the kufar? How sad is your condition.

      • Tomas

        November 23, 2015 at 11:51 AM

        Kafir appears a lot on this site. I am interested in your interpretation of its meaning and where you draw the line in the chain of belief.
        is it:
        Kafir 1. someone who does not believe in a single god?
        Kafir 2. Someone who does believe in a single god but is not convinced that the man Muhammad was a prophet
        Kafir 3. Somone who does believe in a single god and who does believe that Muhammad was a prophet, but does not believe that he was the bestest or last prophetthat Allah has managed to speak to and has chosen (or was born into) the customs of a different organisation
        Kafir 4. someone who does believe in a single god and that the man Muhammad was the bees knees in prophets(or he was the only prophet) but does not buy into the religion that was created by the men who wrote down and interpreted what he said and created a brand around it with clothing and living habits to differentiate us from them.
        Kafir 5. And as there are several brand variants, One of the adherents of any other brand that is not yours – what is your variant by the way?
        Kafir 6. Someone who does believe in a single god and that the man muhammad was the best pophet and buys into your whole brand package
        Kafir 7. Someone who does what he is told to show all that he is one-of-us but does not think much about it, and enjoys just the benefits of the Ummah

        I am genuinely interested in which ones you brand Kafir

      • Mustafa

        November 28, 2015 at 4:36 PM

        1-4 are confirmed kuffar by the consensus of the scholars. 5-7 it varies person to person.

    • Mustafa

      November 17, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      Naah, go ahead user with a Real Name and do it yourself. I’m staying nice and put but you go ahead.

      • John Howard

        November 28, 2015 at 8:50 PM

        I am a troll according to you am I and the western nations are the terrorists are we? Tell me what did the western nations do to create Syria Assad has never been in our sphere of influence but we the “terrorist nations of the west” are being demanded of the support of the millions of refugees that are now flooding out of that country to Europe. Not one of the richest nations in the world namely the Gulf states are taking in 1 of these so called refugees! In fact by all accounts many of these so-called refugees are from countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran and half of Africa and the rest of the Middle East. You call me a troll because I dare to question the motives and agenda of all these Muslim “migrants” When many of us question what will happen to our societies and culture with this huge invasion of a culture that has never been in our societies and who show a distinct aversion to being accepting of or tolerating our values. Already in Germany there have been clashes with locals such as demanding only men deal with these immigrants because women are an affront to them in management roles. There are demands of money for cigarettes, houses, and all the other welfare that they feel they are entitled to. The fact that you call us kafirs is not only demeaning but I consider as do many many non Muslims extremely offensive and racist!
        As for pulling things out of the air the facts are very clearly in evidence and it only a denialist who doesn’t see them. I now await you to call me a racist because that is the normal way you try and counter facts

  11. Alee bin Hussen

    November 16, 2015 at 7:13 AM

    The Western media expect the Muslims to behave in an expected way.
    We too Muslims have the right to expected the Western media to behave in an expected way.
    THEIR WAY. The way they claim to be.
    How about Charlie Hebdo making some funny cartoons about the Paris attack. Making fun of the dead. The same way they made fun of the dead of the Russian plane which exploded.
    I personally as a Muslim would condem it.
    This is the acid test of their so call freedom of speech.

  12. Ibn Islam

    November 16, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    The Muslims are like one body; and whoever’s body already suffers from pain, he won’t feel the pain of others.
    Sh. Abdul-Aziz al Tarifi

  13. Ava

    November 16, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    I’ve been reading quite a few comments on this site.
    And it doesn’t look good.
    In fact it’s hateful in the light of what has happened.

    Shame on you.

    • Mustafa

      November 28, 2015 at 4:37 PM

      Considering Western crimes which are far worse, please address your comment to a mirror.

  14. Z

    November 16, 2015 at 4:33 PM

    Mehmet, please where can I find that comment on the newspaper article that you mentioned???

  15. Budikhan

    December 19, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Levant crisis provides an opportunity for the sociopaths, psychopaths and mentally unbalanced to seek out and fulfil the expressions of their perverted thoughts and desires. Under the notion of an Islamic empire that would purge the inequalities of materialistic societies, the Daesh enjoy the spoils of war and invite like minded to join them from across the world, to live hedonistic, violent and hippocritical behaviours. Just as with many wars those who can not defend themselves live and die in hope of a noble fighter and defender will save them and restore balance. Obama and Putin both must have enough secondary gains to intervene.

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