By Ismail Ibrahim
(Reading time without references: 45 minutes)
The Islamic faith requires Muslims to believe in and practice five pillars. In our day and age, condemning terrorism committed by extremists seems to have become the sixth pillar.
There is an online video of a Muslim commentator on Australian television giving an interview to a national news station. In spite of the terrorism committed in the name of Islam, his firm stance in building a progressive case for the role of Muslims in western societies was captivating. He could have spoken from a weak, defensive, apologetic stance that is adopted by some commentators speaking on behalf of Muslims.
One thing he said was particularly striking:
If you ask me do I condemn the attack, I would say no, not because I condone it or I justify it, but because I reject this discourse which puts the focus on disempowered individuals and let’s those in powerful institutions get away scot free. The entire Muslim community is [made out to be] responsible [by] asking them to condemn and apologize and distance [themselves] and ignores the greater injustice. I reject the discourse. It’s not the act that I justify, it’s not, but it’s the focus that is unfair and unjustified.
I contrasted this with what transpired a few weeks back. In the aftermath of the assassination of UK parliamentarian Jo Cox, some conservative Muslim organizations local to her Batley constituency went out of their way to condemn the act. It was as if they were forcing themselves to take ownership of the crime and then disassociating themselves from it. Though everybody else in society had expressed their outrage, I found this wording strange given that nobody else had issued such a statement of condemnation. The Muslims organizations could have taken advantage of this opportunity to call it what it was: right-wing extremism culminating in terrorism. But they did not possess the foresight to highlight this.
I believe this was an inadvertent spillover from what can be described as the ‘condemnation culture’ of Muslims against the terrorism that is done in their name. It is a trend that has burdened Muslims for 15 years, ever since the 9/11 attacks, in which Muslims genuinely felt Islam’s name could have been tarnished by not speaking out. Now, it is a phenomenon that Muslims – especially in the West – have allowed themselves to be consumed by, either willingly or unsuspectingly.
The Jo Cox affair was not the first issuance of a condemnation by a Muslim organization. Following the Paris attacks late last year, the Muslim Council of Britain purchased ad space in The Daily Telegraph and Mail Online to publish a condemnation. Additionally, online fatwas with multiple signatories from global Muslim leaders have appeared on numerous occasions, all to the same effect.
Even then, the right-wing press condemned Muslim organizations for not condemning vociferously or quickly enough.
It now seems that Muslim organizations feel the need to raise the ante of apologies anytime there is a terrorist attack committed by a Muslim, lest the denunciations do not register with non-Muslims. Nowadays, whenever there is a Muslim attack, you can count on some Muslims to condemn it, even prematurely before the full facts are established, and in progressively stronger language.
But we, as Muslims, need to change the script, and I would offer as follows: First, until we find out more, I urge all Muslims not to rush to “defend”, or send press releases or blog posts that dish the same, scripted narrative of insecurity: “We Muslims condemn terror.” These kinds of comments play to our (supposed) collective insecurity and it’s not clear to me they have any real impact. Fight the urge to write anything at all that says anything about “condemning terrorism”, “Islam is a religion of peace”, or the like.
Video:Muslims Are Victims of Terrorism
It is almost like the Muslims have become ‘condemnation dealers’, dispensing the opium of Muslim condemnation to western politicians and media, who have been made so addicted to it they need to have a higher dosage anytime there is a terrorist attack. It is time the Muslims grew a backbone, stopped condemning terrorist, and put the right-wing media through cold turkey. There is no need – in fact it is counterproductive – to pander to governments’ security crackdowns and the media’s sensationalist news headlines. Enough is enough.
This bend-over-backwards approach to condemning Muslim terrorists is at odds with the approach adopted in aforementioned Australian Muslim commentator’s quote. Of course, only one of these two approaches can be the correct route: to condemn or not to condemn. As Muslims need to have a strong, united voice on this, only one should be promoted and considered worthy for adoption; the other must be discarded.
To this end, Muslim organizations, leaders and activists should take an honest assessment on whether the race to condemning almost every act of terrorism in the past decade and a half has yielded any fruitful results for the western and global Muslim communities.
I was already firm in my conviction that Muslims must stop condemning terrorism. As I researched this matter, this belief was made absolute; instead, they should focus on making positive cases for the role and place of Muslims in the West. The unhealthy obsession of Muslim organizations and leaders with condemnations has snowballed into a type of self-flagellation.
But how much longer are we to continue doing this? How can we live as a healthy community if we become overwhelmed with guilt and fear every time a lunatic decides to commit a barbaric crime? How much longer should we pander to the unfair expectations laid out for us to meet?
Analyzing what both Muslim and non-Muslim commentators have said thus far in rejection of the condemnation culture, I have collated those insights in one piece, so it may be consulted whenever Muslims are inevitably be put in the spotlight and are called to condemn Muslim terrorists. Whereas some items in the following list are of my own observations, I hereby give credit to the many political analysts on various platforms who have shared their thoughts on this pertinent subject, all of whom have been referenced. This piece has also been designed to be as comprehensive as possible, casting the widest net possible in the acquisition of the best and most distinctive insights supporting the theme of this piece.
- The Muslim community should not condemn terrorist crimes by Muslims, not because Muslims condone or justify the act of crime, but because of the disproportionate focus on their disempowered community at the expense of those in power who have the same, similar or even greater crimes to their name, which go either unreported or underreported.
- Condemnations cannot be a healthy entry point into the ideological fight against terrorism and the discussion on its causes, which is where the focus of the debate should be.
- Condemning implies Muslims are in need to lift themselves as a faith community from sub-human barbarism to humanness – a negative by-product of the being in a state of perpetual condemnation.
- The killing of innocent civilians is a monstrosity. To be suspected of condoning something as monstrous and being asked or expected to disassociate oneself from it, simply because of one’s faith, is grossly unfair. Muslims are bearing the brunt of this.
- Peoples of other religions and no religion are assumed to be innocent and outraged when one of their affiliates perpetrates acts of crime and terrorism. Until the same presumption of innocence is not afforded to Muslims, there would be no reason for Muslims to persist in condemnations when they could clearly be futile – the very assumption of guilt leveled at Muslims is destructive.
- Condemnations are not proven to shield the Muslim community and its prominent figures from accusations of extremism. BBC presenter Andrew Neil, the UK’s ex-Prime Minister David Cameron and the UK defense secretary Michael Fallon all grotesquely implicated a prominent Imam in the UK, Suliman Gani, with extremism and supporting ISIS and put his family in danger by doing so, even though this Imam is on the record of rejecting ISIS, terrorism, extremism and violence.
- As per the prophetic tradition, Muslims believe in assisting Muslim criminals out of their criminality, not disassociating themselves from them or disowning them.
- The corpus of Quran and prophetic tradition is sufficient in condemning all acts of criminality and terrorist atrocities. This is immutable and will remain unchanged from crime to crime. The Quran and prophetic tradition do not have a shelf life, nor do they expire or are in need of being refreshed or updated. Muslims must refuse to be trapped in the condemnation cycle on behalf of their faith. Most non-Muslims would have probably memorized the relevant passages from the Quran and prophetic tradition in this regard.
- Habitual condemnation against Muslim terrorist outfits has resulted in Muslims criminals being anathematized from Islam altogether, which in itself is a grave matter from the Islamic perspective, especially given that perpetrators are many a time said to be suffering from mental and psychological problems and cannot even be properly declared as deviants. Furthermore, condemnations oftentimes accompany salvific supplications (e.g. “RIP” or “May God rest their souls”) for non-Muslim victims of terrorism, which from the theological perspective are impermissible.
Pushing entire groups of people outside the fold of Islam – in other words doing exactly what it is that forms the basis of the ideologies we want to reject – is not a productive foundation on which we can heal our faith and build ourselves. It is not how we deal with the problems we’ve yet to even diagnose despite their tangible presence. Aside from the legal conditions necessary to declare someone outside the fold of Islam – sorry, President Barack Obama does not suffice – we cannot deny that groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda are part of Islam. Islam beyond just a religion, that is. They may not be representative of the faith, its principles and creed but they are working within the framework of Islam as they understand it and interact with it. And they are also part of a long tradition of similar groups, ideologies and individuals who ultimately were met with defeat because they just were not sustainable because they were not representative of the principles, beliefs and spirit of Islam.
- Muslims should not fall into the trap of become mouthpiece and tool of western governments, their agencies and right-wing ideologues that possess ulterior anti-Muslim motives through the medium of Muslims issuing such condemnations. Those who have these ulterior motives tend to brandish words like ‘Islamism’ in response to Muslim terrorism. Just as anti-Zionism is sometimes used to disguise Judeophobia, attacks on ‘Islamism’ are used as a front to attack Islam itself, and by extension the Muslims. Condemnations perpetuate the exploitation of these ulterior motives.
Zaid Shakir on the importance of living Islam for Islam and the media silence on domestic terrorism
- Muslims protest at how people of other ethnicities, religions and orientations are not implicated, or are asked to condemn crimes, when one of their affiliates perpetrates an act of criminality or terrorism. Nay, those acts are actively shielded by media many outlets and politicians from the label of terrorism, demonstrating the West’s selective application of the terrorism label, or the bar of terrorism being lowered in the case of Muslims. The case of the Chapel Hill shootings is an example of this, which can be contrasted with Francois Hollande’s hasty judgement on the Nice event as an act of terrorism even before investigations had started on the killer and his motives.
In my job in the communications department at the Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), I have witnessed the public reaction to many horrific crimes involving Muslims around the world. After the murders at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, public demand forced CAIR representatives to make media appearances and release statements explaining that the criminals that murdered the 12 staffers were not representative of Islam. We live in an unfortunate media climate where this has become expected. Muslim leaders condemn terrorism only to be labeled apologists or spin doctors, yet still western dialog demands this ritual of condemnation each and every time some nutjob, who just so happens to be Muslim, commits a violent act. On Tuesday night it was Muslims who were killed by a white male atheist. I am white and male and my spiritual beliefs float somewhere between atheist and agnostic. When I woke up Wednesday morning, after the Chapel Hill story broke, my phone didn’t ring. CNN didn’t call asking me to explain how not all white atheists are murderers. Richard Dawkins didn’t have to draft a press release condemning atheist extremism and no one gives me nervous glances when they try to find parking near my house.- Renner Larson -CAIR Chicago 
- Extant Muslim condemnations, as well as western media coverage of terrorist attacks across the world, are lopsided. Terrorism in Bangladesh, Burma, Central African Republic, Indian-administered Kashmir, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Saudi Arabia etc., in which tens or even hundreds of people die at once, do not attract the same condemnations or media coverage as a police shooting incident in the United States, an airport attack in Western Europe or a hostage situation in Australia would do. Even al-Azhar, the GCC, Egypt, the Arab League and Turkey publish their condemnations, most recently for the Nice attack. The level of condemnations from Muslim organizations, not only in the West but across the world, seems only to mirror the level media coverage in the western media for terrorism that occurs in the West, which – according to John Simpson of the BBC – is ‘grotesquely selective.’ The selective expression of outrage is antithetical to Muslim values, especially given that the first victims of terrorism are Muslims in Muslim countries; and many a time, Muslims have endangered their own lives in trying to stop terrorist acts in their tracks, but this does not as much coverage as the spilled blood of Americans and Europeans does.
Live from the @islamophobia16 ex FM Jack Straw sinking in a lake of ignorance. still asking “Muslims to be more loud in condemning 9/11”
— Yasser Louati (@yasserlouati) June 24, 2016
- Condemnations only work when facts remain the cornerstone of the media and society, when society is not bound by the shackles of despondence and fear. When facts no longer remain relevant and are substituted by irrational anti-Muslim bigotry, issuing condemnations is a luxury that Muslims – with their backs against the wall – can no longer afford, as there would be more immediate priorities than insisting on issuing condemnations whenever a terrorist crime is committed.
- The media disproportionately focuses on the vocal fringe that claims to represent Islam. It does not give fair coverage to Muslims who are opposed to that fringe. This breeds the unfair accusation that Muslims have not been vocal enough. As the western media has been relatively uninterested, or already satisfied, with the condemnations of mainstream Muslims, there is not much point in further condemning anytime a crime by a Muslim is committed. The little coverage that Muslims have gained in opposing the fringe should be considered sufficient and Muslims should fall back on that instead of wasting more of their time and resources in issuing denunciations.
- There is a perception that those wanting Muslims to condemn are indirectly subjugating Muslims into accepting the particular values or lifestyles of victims that may run contrary to Islamic values. The attack on the LGBT community in Orlando is an example, having triggered an intense discussion on Islam’s stance on homosexuality, even though Islam’s position on homosexuality was irrelevant to the crime committed. Another example was free speech and Charlie Hebdo: Muslims make no apologies for opposing for what the paper stands for and profoundly disagree with its xenophobic material that results in the demonization of entire Muslim underclass of France (and elsewhere) – and this is at a time when Muslims in the crosshairs of the corporate media and are the main victims of the western war on terror. Muslims do not have to agree with Charlie Hebdo’s material in order to be trusted when they say that a crime was perpetrated against its offices.
There is a bizarre phenomenon of non-conservative Muslims demanding from conservative Muslim leaders to condemn terrorism, yet still blame them for the terrorism that the conservatives would have condemned. In other words, liberals hold their very conservatism responsible as the basis for the crime. It has reached the point where Muslims are expected to condemn their own sources of faith. It is disturbing that the culture of condemnation is now being used to attack Islam itself. It is even more concerning that gullible Muslims are falling into this trap or questioning the tenets of their faith.
16. Given that every single major Muslim leader and organization in the West has repeatedly denounced terrorism – which is now demonstrably insufficient for governments and the media as they crave for more from Muslims – it is evident that this is less to do with terrorism and more to do with the position of the Muslims themselves. The Muslim community is in effect being told to accept responsibility for a problem that has been of the western governments’ own creation.
- Answering the call to condemn is akin to answering the subliminally-posed question on the allegiances of Muslims in the countries they are citizens of.
- Non-mainstream Muslims such as liberalists and Ahmadis – but also a number of mainstream non-Ahmadi Muslims – who wholeheartedly remain enslaved in the condemnation ritual tend to reflex towards the attempt to craft some universally acceptable version of Islam. This may buy time, but it is highly unlikely to translate into credibility in the long term.
- Muslims need to be a transformative group that imbibes courage, commitment to justice both internal to themselves and externally with non-Muslims, character and principle, not for some positive publicity, self-interest, or to deflect some negative press. Making up for the present credibility deficit is key for Muslims in the West as that is the only way to enlist the respect and trust of non-Muslims, many of whom want to genuinely work with and help Muslims but feel there are barriers of the Muslims’ own making. If Muslims show they are being affected by Islamophobia by constantly condemning terrorism, the perception of Islam will have been further damaged in the eyes of non-Muslims who have to endure both Muslim terrorism and Muslims condemning. Islamophobia doubly affects them as it affects Muslims. There can be no real coalition building without respect and mutual trust. The condemnation ritual is a form of a subconsciously self-imposed colonialism in the post-colonial era, which strips Muslims of credibility and erodes trust.[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdJHgKYPSRg[/youtube]
- Contentious fringe sects like the Ahmadis at the forefront of the condemnation game, and have in fact gone as far as dictating to mainstream Muslims to unite with them in condemning Muslim terrorists. Mainstream Muslims should refuse to do so and must not acknowledge leadership for them on anything pertaining to religio-politics. It is rich that they ask mainstream Muslims to join them, but when mainstream traditional Muslims issue a statement of their own with hundreds of signatories, no Ahmadi leader signs it.
- Muslim criminals generally are not dealt with in a manner that non-Muslim criminals and terrorists are. Whereas the latter are afforded a light-touch mention after careful deliberation of their right-wing tendencies, or a sympathetic inquisition into their mental health, the former are heavily scrutinized and almost solely investigated for their religion, political motivation and Muslim ideology. The global media’s attention falls on their background, origins, and local Muslim community. The right-wing Britain First murderer of the British parliamentarian Jo Cox is a case in point, in which the mass media made brazen its hypocrisy by failing to label its perpetrator as a terrorist, even though the right-wing political motives and affiliation of her murderer, Thomas Mair, were evident. Neutral analysts have agreed that that the media discourse would have been radically different had the murderer been a Muslim, with the entire Batley Muslim community subject to intense global media scrutiny had the killer been a Muslim. Other obvious examples are Dylan Roof, Robert Dear and Anders Breivik. According to US statistics, between (and excluding) 9/11 and the June 2016 Orlando shooting, there were more incidents and deaths caused by right-wing extremists than by ‘violent jihadists.’
But terrorism experts caution that because the Islamic State seems to have broad appeal to the mentally unbalanced, the displaced and others on the fringes of society, there are limits to how much any military campaign in Syria and Iraq can reduce violence carried out in other countries on the group’s behalf. 
- Islam does not subscribe to the West’s notion of guilt by association or collective punishment; philosophy and international law is on their side of this argument. Muslims, by their moral code and ethics, do not consider themselves responsible or accountable for unjustified acts of violence done in their name, as their faith itself rejects it. When Muslims do honestly condemn, it still comes off as somewhat unnatural due to this precise reason. Whereas clarifications on Islam’s stance on terrorism and crime are welcome, the condemnation game is inherently alien to the Islamic tradition. The western media, however, routinely concocts false links and connections that are simply non-existent, based on some views shared between mainstream Muslims and Muslim terrorists. Regarding the Orlando killer, one respected news reporter and journalist in the UK, Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, tweeted that Omar Mateen visited Saudi Arabia twice, from which he inferred that this had an influence on his criminality, and in turn implicated the entirety of Saudi Arabia in the process. Saudi Arabia happens to be visited by millions of Muslims annually from across the world and there was no justification for such a tweet.
Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen, visited Saudi Arabia (home base of radical Wahhabism) in 2011,2012 (Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman)
— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) June 14, 2016
- The Islamophobic segments of western society will never accept Muslim condemnations, and even falsely accuse Muslims as liars, apologists and spin doctors when they condemn. They are now so sophisticated and deeply advanced in their Islamophobia they now use Arabic terms like Taqiyyah as a slur.
- Condemnations have become reflex actions that seek to distance Muslims from negative press. Instead of achieving this goal, the opposite seems to be taking place: Keeping Muslims in the limelight through the medium of condemnation is effectively bad press. Routinely issuing condemnations does not make any Muslims safer than before. In fact, they make them more vulnerable to Islamophobia.
- Constantly condemning leads to the immunization of non-Muslims from empathizing with Muslims, which in turn normalizes bigotry against Muslims. Normalized, systemic, institutionalized bigotry is worse than sporadic violence. The UK Conservative peer Baroness Warsi stated that prejudice against Muslims is so normal that it has now “passed the dinner-table test.” Keeping Muslims in the spotlight through the medium of condemnation is partly responsible for this.
To be absolutely clear, it is evident that Islamophobia has become the accepted form of racist xenophobic bigotry in America today. Unlike Anti-Semitism or homophobia, which are roundly (and rightfully) condemned by every corner of American society, we are seeing increasing levels of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric growing around the country… 
- Constant condemnations against Muslim terrorists contribute to the climate manufactured by Islamophobic zealots and feral anti-Muslim think tanks such as Quilliam and neoconservative think tank The Henry Jackson Society, among others, who thrive off and profiteer from fear-mongering and hate generated by demonizing the entire Muslim faith community.
- There is an imposition of unrealistic demands on the Muslims community to be more vocal in its condemnations. One UK newspaper, browbeating Muslims, proposed that Muslims denounce ISIS by marching through London in massive numbers with placards saying ‘not in our name’, arguing that Muslims had “done too little in public to express solidarity with the victims in Paris and the civilised, tolerant democracies in which they live and which IS want to destroy.” Right-wing media outlets frequently complain that Muslims are not vocal enough when condemning, or do not speak out altogether. This is proof that the condemnation panacea has failed. The acceptance of the right-wing media should not be considered the standard for the acceptable level of noise required to condemn terrorism. It is highly likely that Muslims shout out their condemnations from the hilltops and the media will still not consider this adequate.
Despite this avalanche of condemnations, it’s clearly not reaching—or not persuading—many of my fellow Americans. In fact, a Zogby poll released just last month found alarmingly that the favorability ratings for Muslims in the United States had fallen from 36 percent in 2010 to 27 percent.
- There is no empirical evidence that condemning or government-sanctioned programs like Prevent has had any impact on the ground with Muslim criminals who are already radicalized or Muslims who would potentially be radicalized.
- Islam encourages pre-emptive education, and high standards in general in which honesty and integrity and vital. Condemnations by nature are PR stunts, not education, and represent a very low standard that does not assist in building integrity. Radicalized or potential radical Muslims are not foolish to pay heed to condemnations. Condemning is not a card that saves the Muslim from radicalization.
- Condemnations are part of the ‘politics of respectability’, whereby minorities try to show they are compatible with the existing order of things. The problem with this is it places the focus on the minority, rather than the conditions which create the imbalance and unfairness in society.
- Terrorists do not pay any heed to statements of condemnation. To the contrary, they thrive off denunciations and would not hesitate in branding those who condemn them as sellouts, Uncle Toms, hypocrites and apostates who themselves deserve to be killed. The kill-list of prominent Muslim scholars and activists published by ISIS confirms this.
Do you wish to understand the privileges and perks that are afforded to the world's sole superpower? Would you like to…
- Condemnations tend to be issued by Muslims in authority. Radicals are by nature rebellious to such authorities. Statements of condemnation are bound to exacerbate their radicalism further than quell it. In essence, those condemning are in effect preaching to the choir.
- No number of condemnations can prevent terrorism that is rooted in alienation caused by governments, such as the cases of Jihadi John and structural Islamophobia in France causing radicalization in the local Muslim population. Muslims believe that radicalization rooted in unjust foreign policy, acts of political expediency and double standards of governments has not been sufficiently addressed in media discourse, or by Muslims perpetually condemning terrorist acts for that matter. Condemnations of these terrorists are merely a distraction from the real debate that needs to take place.
- Part of the distraction that the condemnation culture brings is the lack of discussion on the erosion of civil liberties, not only against Muslims (who are disproportionately affected), but all of society. Muslims should use the attention to highlight this, instead of wasting the opportunity by condemning acts they are not responsible for and making scapegoats out of themselves.
- Condemning has become a synonym for apology. Denunciation of terrorism is a form of apology – for Islam itself and for being Muslim. Muslims must refuse to apologize for the crimes of others, even though they may be their co-religionists who are associated with them through shared, universally-recognized aspects of the faith. Muslims have apologized far too often for a cancer they are victims of. Muslims do not need to disavow or apologize for what is killing them.
- Being constantly on the defensive by pretending to accept one’s status as a pilloried and psychologically battered community turns away Muslim prospects, which is against one of the objectives of the faith. Condemnations by nature are not statements of positivity. If condemnations are going to be face of Islam, then it is the faith that will invariably be associated with the very crime of terrorism that Islam has disassociated itself from. Not every truth needs spelling out. There is a reason why believers in God do not say “God is the creator of apes, dogs and pigs.” There is a reason why Islam’s laws on capital punishment are not the first thing presented to persons interested in Islam but happen to disagree with the concept of capital punishment. There is a reason why Muslim dietary laws on meat, game and slaughter are not the first items that are presented to a vegetarian interested in the religion.
37. In zones of conflict, more Muslims have died than anybody else at both the hands of Muslim terrorist organizations and the military/sanction interventions of western governments in Muslim countries, which have destabilized an entire region. Likewise, Muslims in the West are bearing the brunt of anti-Muslim rhetoric of politicians, draconian legislation disproportionately targeted at them, and a security apparatus in which Muslims are considered guilty before proven innocent.
It therefore makes no sense for Muslims to condemn global terrorism when they are the primary target of terrorism – both vigilante and state-backed. Examples of ‘collateral damage’ – a euphemism for state-backed acts of violence and terrorism, which in turn breed vigilante terrorism – are too numerous to mention.
This anxiety has varying sources and manifests itself in different ways. From Muslims feeling compelled to apologise for crimes they neither condone or have any part in, to being publically compelled to condemn such attacks. The anxiety is exasperated when Muslims witness the hypocrisy in such calls and take a principled stand in order to avoid political exploitation. Muslims are witnesses to similar atrocities against people of other faiths, geography and race, yet privileged elite in Parliament are not seen to issue a condemnation against such regular terrorism – as a matter of principle, why should public and vocal condemnation be forcibly extracted on certain violence as the state eye is rendered blind when the violence is born from Western policy? I am yet to see mass condemnatory statements for Palestinian babies being burned to death by Jewish settler terrorism, or Palestinian civilians shot to death “intentionally and unlawfully” by IDF terrorists (who also happen to run over two year old toddlers), from the Cameron government or the various state-authorized counter extremism organizations for that matter. And indeed, I do not see the Jewish community being asked to condemn or apologize. This suggests such calls are ideologically and politically driven rather than rooted in humanity. Only white/Westernized power-structures are worthy of solidarity. –The Coolness of Hind 
- Being expected to condemn constitutes othering, which Muslims in the West must reject for themselves. Muslims are being increasingly treated in a similar way as European Jews were in the early-to-mid-20th century, and how Bosnian Muslims were treated in the run up to the war and genocide there during the 1990s. Expecting disenfranchised segments of the population to condemn criminal acts carried out by a few individuals in their midst is no doubt based on the rejection of Muslims being citizens of western nations equal to their non-Muslim neighbors.
We are told that Muslims are equal citizens in this country but the reality is something very different. If we say we don’t drink, we are labelled anti-social or not willing to integrate, if we drink we are labelled moderate, if a Muslim wears a hijab, she is oppressed, if she doesn’t she is liberated, if we express an opinion outside of the mainstream narrative, we are angry, if we join a mainstream political party we are passionate, if we sing the praises of the British establishment we are liberals, if we object to foreign policy we are extremists or Islamists.- Assed Baig 
- Muslims as a faith community do not believe in faith-based ideology being the only factor in radicalization and extremism. There are mental health issues, societal alienation, economic difficulties, grievances based on unethical foreign policy and political motivations at play as well. These factors must always be properly and satisfactorily explored and investigated before the Muslims community is singled out and expected to continue issuing statements of condemnation ad nauseum.
- Condemnations of terrorism are only a result of the authorities’ failure of establishing pragmatic and practical intelligence measures, and of government promoting community cohesion and economic prosperity in the underclass that is lacking in these aspects, especially in Europe. The condemnation culture in effect covers up those failures by diverting attention to the Muslim community to own up to the crime and condemn the ideological drivers behind the terrorist. In the aftermath of the November 2015 bombings in Paris, CNN anchors interviewing French activist Yasser Louati effectively demanded French Muslims to assume the responsibility of spy agencies, and blamed French Muslims for not doing anything about the attacks.
- Muslims must refuse to condemn because they should not allow extremists to define the Muslim mainstream. That caricature of Muslims is the description unjustly painted by extremism think tanks and western corporate right-wing media, like in a recent alarmist poll that suggested one in five British Muslims sympathized with ISIS.
- Condemnations are a form of self-imposed indignation, and a self-deprecation that perpetuates the psychology of guilt in Muslims. Western Muslims must demonstrate a sincere drive – similar to that of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself – for a dignified and permanent existence in lands they are citizens of, no matter what difficulties may lie ahead. The condemnation fetish is an indignity that detaches Muslims from their responsibilities as citizens of their respective countries.
Malcolm X hit a turning point when he stopped seeing himself as a member of a maligned minority. He took his dignity into his own hands and refused to be at the mercy of the opinion of others – ‘ni–er’ became a slur too small and meaningless for him. Western Muslims need to collectively do the same. We need to get over our insecurities, stop pandering to the double standards others have constructed for us and demand our place as full-fledged citizens of this society.
We have to be very, very careful about being psychologically bullied into this position where we feel that all we can do as Muslims is apologise, is adjust, is accept our status as a ‘problem people’ – a ‘problem people’ is people about whom it is said – and I know little a bit about being considered a ‘problem people’, I know a little bit about that – a ‘problem people’ about whom it is said, “Something is wrong with you, and if you would just change that something everything would be alright.” And you know what happens, typically? That something is changed, and then what happens? The goalpost moves. And what you end up as is a modern slave. You end up dominated. You have had your story taken away from you, and you have been given a supporting role in somebody else’s story. And yet you turn around and say, “This is my country.” If this is my country, then I have a right to my story, and let our stories come together, and let us produce a symphony, let us produce some harmony, not a single voice, many voices, but mine a certainly identifiable part… One of the services that we can render to American society is, instead of constantly trying to appease bigotry and prejudice, to hold up to America’s psyche so it can see what it is doing in terms of another chapter in trying to create a problem people…Back in 1963… James Baldwin, a famous African American writer, made a very poignant, pungent statement… Baldwin said this: “I am not a nigger, and America needs to figure out why it needs me to be a nigger. Does that make it easier for you to act on your prejudice? Does that make it easier for you to have a higher dignified raised sense of self? Does that make it easier for you to carry out acts of indiscriminate violence? Does that make it easier for you to do that?” And what we have to do as Muslims is say, “We are not those people who you say we are, and what you have to figure out is why you need us to be that. Why do you need us to be terrorists? Why do you need us to be security threats?” And we have to help America by helping America see that, and when we’re constantly trying to appease those prejudices, all we do ultimately is strengthen them. This is not service to American society. This is not the type of service that American society needs… because if we allow these prejudices to run rampant, they will know no end, and it can happen. –Dr Sherman Jackson 
- Condemnations tend to be on platforms not in control of the Muslims. In essence, Muslim condemnations are at the mercy of how they are spun by the corporate media. Muslims (and other minorities) need to come together to establish their own media platforms to provide a comprehensive narrative about the role of Islam and Muslims in the West, instead of giving the right-wing media the attention it demands only when it is to put already beleaguered and embattled Muslim community in a weaker position.
But my experiences lead me to believe that the key is the media. It possesses the power to both humanize and demonize minority groups. Plus, it enables smaller minority groups to share their own story on their own terms with millions of people across the country.
- Being asked to apologize for and condemn violence that has orphaned and victimized a generation of Muslims has the perverse effect of re-victimizing Muslims by dehumanizing them and stripping them of their own experiences and history. The dehumanization process renders the human condemnations an aberration. Every patronizing demand for a fresh condemnation is equal to a demand to prove humanness. Until Muslims do not feel they are worthy of being treated as fully human by all institutional segments of society, it will give rise to a generation of Muslims harboring a siege mentality, which will be totally apathetic to all but themselves.
If I condemn ISIS, I am – in essence – condemning myself: I am condemning myself and my communities to the continuation of the never-ending onslaught of suspicion, dehumanization and interrogation that is far from unique to us (especially when living as minorities) but is the most public. – Sana Saeed 
- Never-ending condemnations validate the dangerous trend and false notion that unless Muslims do not publicly condemn every event perpetrated by a co-religionist, the default assumption should be that they must endorse it, and that any silence from Muslims automatically denotes support and agreement. When that is assumed to be the default, the condemnation is assumed to be the exception to what may be construed as the Muslim evil standard.
- It is inherently Islamophobic to be expected to condemn only when a Muslim commits a crime. Muslims appearing on the media are never asked when a non-Muslim commits an act of violence. An example of blatant Islamophobic questioning was on CNN, when Don Lemon asked American Muslim human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar whether he supports ISIS. Another example of an atrociously Islamophobic interview was Kay Burley speaking to human rights campaigner Cerie Bullivant on Sky News.
- The condemnation game has been wholly unproductive in the sense that it has not yielded the desired effect of taking heat off Muslim communities.
- The negative image of Muslims whipped up by politicians and mass media effectively drowns out the Muslim voice, even when they are condemning. Muslims should stop wasting their time, breath and ink in the pursuit of condemnations.
- Condemnations against terrorism and disclaimers such as “Islam is a religion of peace” to prove Muslims’ commitment to non-violence are puerile. The right-wing corporate media tends to give a disproportionate amount of airtime and coverage to so-called ‘moderate’ Muslim voices that have zero grassroots support among observant Muslims, Islamophobes, and extremists are on the fringes of extremism – all of which ostracize the already suffocated mainstream Muslim community. In doing so, the media unnecessarily prolongs the fight of combating the destructive hype surrounding the overwhelming majority of Muslims.
Because no one asks where the moderates of anything else are but I need to constantly provide a Rolodex of names in a futile attempt to satiate not a sincere curiosity but, often, just a rhetorical question with a poor point. Sana Saeed 
An additional tendency of the media, which fuels the myth that Muslims do not condemn terrorism, is to focus on Islamophobes as spokespersons on issues. That means individuals who have made a career out of spreading hate and outright misinformation about Islam and Muslims are given ample air time to share their hateful views. This is akin to giving large amounts of air time to former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke to spout his hatred of Jews. In the case of Muslims, hate-mongers like David [should be Robert] Spencer and Pamela Geller are featured prominently in news items about Islam and Muslims without being challenged or another view being presented for balance. –Samana Siddiqui (SoundVision) 
Of course, some will still say they don’t hear these condemnations. I don’t doubt those people. The mainstream media is about ratings, meaning that bloodshed will be covered 24/7 while denunciations by Muslims will get little to no press. Dean Obeidullah 
First, media outlets are not interested in reporting the Muslim side of a breaking news story. It is neither in their own interest, nor do they feel that their audience will care what Muslims have to say about a crime committed in their name. This is why most of the time, journalists and their editors will not include a quote or statement from the many that Muslim individuals and organizations immediately send out. Second, it is the nature of the news media to report on that which is an aberration, not the norm. In practical terms, that means they will never show the law-abiding, tax-paying Muslim. They will hone in on the exception. Such bias is nothing new. In the past, this same prejudice was exercised against other minority communities by the American media, from African-Americans to Jews to Japanese-Americans. Muslims are the current scapegoat being singled out for such unethical journalistic treatment. Samana Siddiqui (SoundVision) 
Now comes the hard part: How to convince media outlets to be more inclusive when it comes to Muslim-Americans? Some already have been very embracing, especially online media publications that have made it a priority to present diverse voices because it yields content that’s both more nuanced and distinctive. But on TV news, both network and cable, there are few Muslims who are a regular part of that media landscape. Take a moment and count the Muslim anchors or Muslim network contributors you’ve seen. (That shouldn’t take long.) Dean Obeidullah 
- Muslims believe the bar of scrutiny is set artificially high for them, and the bar for accusing a Muslim with extremism is set low. Furthermore, the margin of error for Muslims appearing on the media to defend their community is very thin, where any error or problematic statement is single out to highlight the problematic nature of Muslims. In this climate, highlighting and exposing the causes that incubate radicalism in disenfranchised Muslims, rather than merely staying safe by disassociating oneself from Muslim terrorism, is a discussion only the brave will be willing to undertake. As the saying goes: “It is better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees”; or, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best form of Jihad is a word of truth in front of a tyrannical ruler.”
- Muslims do not need to demonstrate their law-abidingness via condemnations, nor should they feel that patriotic flag-waving or nationalistic loyalty is a manner in which a Muslim should behave. Muslims should not need to prove they can condemn in the sternest language possible.
- A downside to the condemnation ritual is that it becomes a cliché, losing value over time and is drowned in its own banality, so when the exceptional case of a condemnation is required, it does not sound as effective. Oft-repeated condemnations thus become inadequate to showcase the Muslims’ abhorrence with terrorism.
- Condemnations, and being asked to condemn terrorism, ignore the many condemnations Muslims have already issued. In the age of the Internet, pleading ignorance to this reality is nothing short of lazy Islamophobia. Evidence of Muslims already having condemned terrorism is overwhelming. Failure to locate and accept this evidence is tantamount to promoting an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion toward Muslims.
- Condemnations are part of a growing western culture of political correctness. Not to be confused with wisdom, it is a hindrance to the Quranic concept of speaking and behaving in a manner that is considered right, just and fair. Muslims should understand the external and internal harms that the lip service of politically-correct condemnations bring upon their communities, and should instead focus on the real issues that face overwhelming majority of Muslims in the wake of attacks perpetrated by isolated Muslim criminals.
- Mainstream Muslims do not have a papal structure, not a caliph to speak on their behalf, like the Pope or the Qadiyani Caliph. As mainstream Muslims are a number of fragmented communities across the world and – barring religious practice – are not homogenous by any standard, they are expected to all individually issue condemnations, which is impossible. Yet, they are treated as one, homogenized community that can easily issue condemnations on behalf of all as the Vatican does on behalf of all Catholics. This is not the case for Muslims.
Myriam Francois: You seem to see a contradiction between the need to hide one’s faith, as a “moderate Muslim” and the need to publicly denounce attacks on the other hand. Are French Muslims in a lose-lose scenario?
Olivier Roy: Exactly, it is a double bind. On one hand they are criticized for being communitarian (communautarize)–-and on the other hand because we perceive them as communitarian, we demand of them that they respond as a community to condemn terrorism. But because there is no “Muslim community,” nobody can speak on behalf of it to condemn terrorism, [but then] they are told they do not condemn terrorism. It is a trap Muslims are placed in.
- The condemnation culture is based partly on the fanciful notion that anti-Muslim rhetoric and abuse will cease. This will not happen; the opposite has happened with the rise of Donald Trump and half of the United States in favour of supporting him for the country’s presidency, and right-wing parties emerging across Europe and in Australia. The climate Islamophobia actually increases the threat of terrorism.
- Condemning is a tacit admission of guilt by indirectly conceding that terror is borne from Muslims, and therefore Muslims should atone by condoning policies that criminalize them. As such, Muslims are forced to go out of their way to prove they have nothing to hide, as they would be considered guilty until proven innocent.
The implication is that if Muslims are not constantly shouting out their opposition from the rooftops, they support militants and are therefore a potential threat, one that warrants suspicion and retribution – in other words, guilty until proven innocent. – Sharif Nashashibi 
- The ritual of condemnation has resulted in a crippling case of inferiority complex plaguing Muslims, many of whom have been internalizing the belief that, somehow, the Muslim community is responsible for the crimes of those who have Muslim names.
- Islam requires Muslims to speak the truth with strength and courage to those in power. They are also responsible for bringing peace and security among communities both locally and abroad. This means they must reject politically-motivated violence, whether that may be that of ISIS or of the governments that rule over them. If Muslims do not feel the need to condemn the government’s acts of violence against civilian population (and rightly so) whenever it happens, then likewise with ISIS. Muslims are not responsible for either, nor do they encourage or endorse it. These acts condemn themselves. If Muslims are required to condemn, they must condemn governments as much as ISIS is condemned. By the same token of consistency, if Muslims are obligated to condemn terrorists, it should be because they oppose their abuses as human beings, not because they are Muslim. In that sense, they have no more of an obligation to do so than any other community. Muslims may denounce attacks on civilians, but only as citizens of a diverse integrated populace, not as a suspicious ‘other’ trying to prove their place in western society.
So it is patronizing for Muslims to be told to reject those who target their own communities. Imagine the reaction you would receive if you told someone that they should condemn the murder of a family member. It is insulting to be told of the need to condemn something that should be a given. If people do not “explicitly, forcefully and consistently” condemn murder, rape, child abuse, racism etc, are they suspected of condoning these acts? Of course not. Sharif Nashashibi 
- Token condemnations strike of a selfish, myopic self-preservation attempt that is done more out fear than conviction, usually at the expense of Muslims who refuse to do so out of the principle of trying to underscore more pressing issues, such as throwing light on the proper context of crimes committed by some Muslims. Muslims need to be united in the message they send to the western media, governments and their agencies. Continuing to feed into the cycle of denouncements unabated is thus a disservice to Islam and the Muslims in the West and globally. Furthermore, crimes at which condemnations are targeted at are carefully curated by those who practice condemning. This leads to self-division within Muslims, even before being divided, conquered and rendered subservient by external forces, as certain acts of violence are overlooked. Proportionate to the amount of condemnations that are issued, there are relatively a very few number of attempts by many Muslim organizations to discuss the root causes of attacks, and little effort is invested to question the mainstream media narrative that imposes generic labels on Muslims. Whereas there are many other Muslims who refuse to participate in the condemnation game, the disunity of strategy in tackling how terrorism needs to be addressed is harming Muslims. Western countries, not where the forefathers emigrated from, are the homes of its Muslims citizens. They thus need to assert not only their rights but also their responsibilities as citizens. They cannot treat themselves as immigrants and second-class citizens who speak up only when it is convenient for them to do so (i.e. condemning only when required to do so), remaining silent the rest of the time.
Because doing so only feeds the ubiquitous floating distrust of Muslims. Because when you ask Muslims to condemn or denounce heinous actions, ideologies or groups what you’re saying is that you don’t trust any Muslim. Because you’re saying that I can’t be trusted until and unless I vocalize dissent against an individual, an action, an ideology or a group that claims to do something in the name of a shared identity. Sana Saeed 
For starters, we need to stop thinking like immigrant minorities and demand that people treat us like we belong here. On a day following some national tragedy, or any day for that matter, we must firmly stand up to anything that falls short of dignified treatment—instead of bracing up for hate speech or snide remarks at the office. When we do encounter hate crimes, we too have to be strong and recognize that the perpetrators represent a fringe minority – instead of becoming disillusioned with society at large. We must start holding others to a higher standard and assume they’re also intelligent enough to distinguish fringe Muslim extremists from the normative majority. If they fail to do so, we need to strongly point out their lunacy – instead of getting into apologetics. We can no longer entertain ludicrous questions about whether we condone honor killings, FGM or domestic violence – would a catholic ever be asked whether they condone pedophilia and child molestation?… We need stop issuing condemnations of terrorism and declarations of heresy when our fanatical brethren have run-ins with the law. Like other faith groups, we should instead offer public prayers, statements of condolences and expressions of solidarity. We must express equal outrage when people outside our community commit heinous crimes – not doing so hints at our disingenuousness and self-interest.Waleed Ahmed 
It sounded like they were apologizing for something they haven’t done, like they were running for cover… Dr. King said we are all caught up in a network of mutuality — whatever affects one directly will indirectly affect the other. If I speak up against ISIS, it’s because I’m a human being, not because I’m a Muslim… When you ask Muslims to condemn or denounce heinous actions, ideologies or groups what you’re saying is that you don’t trust any Muslim.
A decade of condemning terrorism and participating in public relation exercises has done us little good. The events of this past summer have put us back to square-one; our image in the public eye is the same as it was on 9/11 – arguably worse. Our current strategies have clearly failed; it is evident we need to take a new path forward. Waleed Ahmed 
This brings me to a question I often ask myself: What can we do to reach out to more of our fellow Americans to make it clear we despise these terrorists and they don’t represent Islam? There’s no easy answer. And this issue is made more complicated by the fact that within the American Muslim community there’s a difference of opinion on how to approach it. Some say we should publicly increase condemnations of the terrorists. Other say we already have, so what can we do more? Another faction says why should we denounce people who we have zero connection with? We don’t call on other religious groups in the United States to denounce their worst examples. My suggestion is a multi-faceted approach. One is increasing the interfaith work that many in our community employ in hopes of reaching more people of other faiths. I’d love to start an “Adopt a Muslim” program so everyone can have a Muslim friend!
- Sensible Christians realize that condemnations by Muslims in the West mask Christendom’s own violent history and present. Muslim condemnations enable the Christian world to project their faults onto the “Muslim Other” so that they do not take seriously their own complicity in a violent world order.
We routinely and rightly condemn the terrorism that kills civilians in the name of God but we cannot claim the high moral ground if we dismiss the suffering and death of the many thousands of civilians who die in our wars as ‘collateral damage’. Ancient religious mythologies helped people to face up to the dilemma of state violence, but our current nationalist ideologies seem by contrast to promote a retreat into denial or hardening of our hearts. Nothing shows this more clearly than a remark of Madeleine Albright when she was still Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the United Nations. Later she retracted it, but among people around the world it has never been forgotten. In 1996, in CBS’s 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl asked her whether the cost of international sanctions against Iraq was justified: ‘We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima … Is the price worth it?’ ‘I think this is a very hard choice,’ Albright replied ‘but the price, we think the price is worth it.- Karen Armstrong
- It appears that many of those Muslims at the forefront in promoting condemnation rituals are those in positions of power, are relatively privileged, and fear jeopardizing their precarious position and fragile legitimacy in the eyes of western governments.
- The trade-off mentality – Muslim leaders as a minority sacrificing speaking their mind in the pursuit of societal inclusion and belonging – leads to a conflicting strategy when dealing with terrorism. A conflict in strategy in this vital issue leads to a sense of self-division within Muslims.
Muslim leaders have been scared into silence. Prevent officers visiting mosques and community leaders frighten them. They are told that if Muslims display any political opinions outside the mainstream then they are extremists, that if they do not inform on them, that their bank accounts can be frozen, mosques closed and they could face prison. Muslims are afraid. Muslim organizations and leaders are subservient to the state, scared to mention foreign policy as a radicalizing factor just in case they are harangued for justifying the murder. It has got to such a state that we do not even realize that our minds have been conditioned through years of media misrepresentation and widespread Islamophobia. Questioning the reason for a murder does not mean condoning or justifying it. Condemning something that has nothing to do with you feeds into the narrative that this is a Muslim problem, that this is something that the Muslim community are responsible for, at least in part. In turn so-called Muslim leaders stifled debate and discussion in mosques, too afraid to discuss anything political. For too long they have played a subservient role to the state, asking for a seat at the table and hoping for crumbs to be passed to them.-Assed Baig 
- Instead of condemning, Muslims should learn how to reverse the question of condemnation back at those who patronisingly demand it from Muslims. If anything, then Muslims should spare their condemnations for when Muslims are under attack at home and across the world, and for when non-Muslims are unfairly targeted by governments and security forces, in solidarity with those victims.
Obama cannot be blamed for his predecessor’s actions, but his own actions in the region have only made the issue worse. Therefore, Obama has far more explaining to do in regard to ISIL than almost any individual Muslim. This is especially true since ISIL’s victims are largely Muslim. Muslims don’t need non-Muslims to tell them that a group primarily killing Muslims deserves to be condemned. But they do deserve an explanation from figures involved in fostering the conditions for this group’s emergence. As such, I call on Muslims to ignore Obama’s request for further condemnation. Muslims have already made their stance on ISIL clear, and those who don’t believe it likely never will. If any attention is to be given to those who demand condemnation from Muslims, it should be in order to turn the tables. To point out that supporting foreign policy like Obama’s creates more complicity in ISIL’s emergence than simply calling oneself Muslim. This is the conversation that needs to be had, and Muslims should insist that it takes place.
However, this is not something thrust upon other communities when extremists commit abuses in their name. For example, I do not assume that my English friends support far-right groups such as the English Defence League, the UK Independence Party or the British National Party, just because they do not constantly condemn them. I do not demand it, nor should I. Doing so with Muslims often has the opposite from the intended effect. While many will acknowledge among themselves that certain community issues require attention, a wall comes up when calls are made by those who are hostile to Muslims, or by politicians whose countries have caused a great deal of death and destruction in the Muslim world, or in countries where Muslims face discrimination as a minority. As such, American presidents, British prime ministers and Islamophobic media commentators are not the best-placed figures to tell Muslims what they should and should not reject- Shareef Nashabishi.
As a Muslim American, living in a post 9-11 United States, I have continuously asked myself why I should be responsible for condemning such acts when I, like the majority of Muslims around the globe am in no way, shape or form involved with and/or privy to any of the acts of violence that have been committed by other Muslims. As a Muslim, can I explain the acts of violence by other Muslims based on our shared identity? NO. But can I work to explain this violence through a scholarly endeavor that undertakes an understanding through the a socio-political lens that actually investigates the myriad of factors including war and occupation that lead to the rise of such groups? Absolutely. While politicians and Islamophobes alike continue to pressure the Muslim community into nonsensical apologies based on a homogenized identity, many Muslims have, unfortunately, internalized the narrative of collective responsibility, leading them to issue condemnations of acts of violence and terrorism based only on the fact that we share one piece of our identity. Coupled with the ever present voice of those calling for Muslims to speak out against Muslim terrorists, those who have stepped up to this plate, have not presented a counter-narrative as they purport, but rather an internalization of the dominant narrative where Muslims are guilty until proven innocent. Most ripe in this sense is Frantz Fanon’s quote in which he states the following: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
- In Western culture, condemnations and apologies are hard to come by. Governments and their institutions acknowledge grievances years and even decades after of cover-ups, and issue graduated responses – starting from acknowledgements, through to condemnations, and finally apologies – long after the crimes were perpetrated. In the UK, The Hillsborough Disaster, The Battle of Orgreave and Jimmy Savile are a few examples of many. This is because condemnations are considered an acknowledgement of guilt – by association.
- In Western culture, those issuing apologies are many a time not those who perpetrated the crime in the first place. A recent example is the current leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who apologized for the 2003 invasion of Iraq which was spearheaded by his party (the then UK government), even though he himself was opposed to the war at the time and it was Tony Blair who led the war. The politics of condemnation is ultimately an act of self-cannibalism. This premise for condemnation and apology-issuing is alien to Islam, even though it is perfectly acceptable, nay recommended, from a western perspective.
- Muslims should be able to grieve as human beings for human loss without being expected to condemn it first.
- Instead of condemning, Muslims should fight for the right of not becoming the secondary victims of terrorist atrocities.
- Condemnations issued by Muslims have the effect of underplaying the fact that the victims of many western terrorist atrocities are Muslims themselves. One third of the Bastille Day attack victims in Nice were Muslims. Proportionately, this did not get as much media coverage as the religious identity of the attacker. In fact, the media went to lengths to point out he had grown a beard a week before the attack, and even went as far as saying ISIS claimed responsibility of the attack even though there were no obvious links between the attacker and ISIS. Amidst the Islamophobic hysteria, the mayor of Béziers in Southern France, Robert Ménard, tweeted an image of a Muslim child tugging at his veiled mother while pointing to a shop window wanting a white truck as a toy. In this climate, condemnations are a senseless, pointless exercise.
How can anyone believe that small groups of terrorists accurately represent Islam or Muslims worldwide? If, let’s say, half of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world were killing innocent people like ISIS is, it would be pretty hard for me to deny that those actions represent the faith on some level. But we don’t see that. What do we see? ISIS slaughtering Muslims on a daily basis. ISIS is also despicably attacking Christians and of course the Yazidis, but the reality is that over the past five years, close to 90 percent of the victims of these “Islamic” terrorists are Muslims. ISIS even killed a Muslim professor in Iraq who publicly opposed the group’s persecution of Christians. Denounce them? I need to be protected from them.
— Robert Ménard (@RobertMenardFR) July 19, 2016
- Those who tend to make clichéd complaints about Muslims not condemning, or not condemning enough, tend to be the sort of people who do not make the effort to look hard at the painstaking efforts mainstream Muslims undertake to combat radicalism. They appear to be of the type that does not have many Muslim friends. Condemnations are not an appropriate method to teach non-Muslims about Islam. The leader of Australia’s One Nation political party Pauline Hanson, and Australian TV host Sonia Kruger, are two examples (out of many) where condemnations would simply fall on deaf ears as they are unacquainted with the local and global Muslim community at a personal level. The responsibility of reaching out falls on their shoulders, not Muslims. Non-Muslims who oppose their bigotry are also responsible for reversing their ignorance. They need to understand how white fears are being exploited. They should not for them to wait for Muslims to alleviate their insidious prejudices that have been nurtured by government and right-wing media.
- Condemnations mask the Islamophobes’ sense of responsibility for addressing their own bias by unjustifiably offloading that burden to Muslims as a whole, painting them as the source of many of the world’s problems, one of which is terrorism. The condemnation culture is a burden that Muslims must shrug off their shoulders.
- Muslims should not condemn because terrorism by nature is antithetical to Islamic law and the observant Muslim’s identity. All Sunni schools of Muslim law explicitly classify brigandage – which includes terrorism –as a major sin, punishable by a Muslim judge by capital punishment and even crucifixion. Terrorist and criminals do not represent normative Islam. Muslims should not take ownership of any crime on the account that he/she is a Muslim, not even through a condemnation, let alone an apology.
- Reputable non-Muslim journalists, commentators have stated that Muslims do not need to, and preferably should not, condemn terrorism committed by Muslims. Even sensible parts of the general public understand this and do not make it a requirement on Muslim to condemn terrorist attacks by Muslims every time it occurs.
Unfortunately non-Muslims in the public sphere represent my views more than our so-called Muslim leaders.- Assed Baig
- Muslims need to be cognizant of the political agenda behind the need for Muslims to condemn. Condemnations – if they are ever to be issued – must be based on principle and not political expediency.
- Asking why Muslims are not condemning terrorism is no longer an innocent question. At best, it is a lazy question, the answer of which lies at everybody’s fingertips. At worst, it denotes a willingness to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and is telling more of those putting the question forward than Muslims themselves.
(Tangential note: The bulk of this piece was written between two major right-wing terrorist attacks. The first draft of this piece was written after the murder of Jo Cox MP; it was developed as news of other attacks filtered through. As the piece went into editorial, the Munich attack hit the headlines, occurring a quinquennium to the day of Anders Breivik’s killing spree. After much confusion, speculation and obfuscation by the global media again regarding the numbers of attackers, alleged chants of “Allahu Akbar” and the attacker’s Iranian background, it transpired that this ‘lone wolf’ terrorist, Ali David Sonboly, was a committed German nationalist – whose Shi’i-Iranian ancestry was as irrelevant as the UK foreign minister Boris Johnson’s Sunni-Turkish ancestry (the former allegedly abandoned Islam to join the Christian faith; the latter won a competition insulting Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) – celebrating none other than his predecessor and spiritual mentor, Anders Breivik. Three of Sonboly’s victims were Turks, and another three were of Kosovo-Albanian descent – all six were probably Muslims. I decided not to incorporate the relevant commentaries assessing the fallout from the Munich shootings, and the ensuing hypocrisy of right-wing media burying the news and politicians’ social media vitriol crawling into its shell, let alone not expecting condemnations from the relevant persons ever since the terrorist turned out not to be an ‘Islamist.’ No right-wing organization has condemned or been asked to condemn either attack. Having said that, a cursory search on the Internet reveals the usual suspect rushing to condemn the Munich attack.)
The condemnation ritual is palpably counterproductive. It is a sad reality that some Muslims feel compelled to doggedly condemn terrorism carried out by Muslims, many a time without even being prompted. Muslims need to work to get to the point where they don’t have to worry about being blamed as a collective when terrorism occurs.
I dare to include the congregational public fatwas that carry open invites for signatures from all and sundry condemning the barbarism of groups like ISIS.
American Muslim communities are so diverse they even have a Brother "Kya Bakwas" who signed the Orlando Statement. pic.twitter.com/0MLKcqdyk9
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) June 15, 2016
One was more than enough – I hope that no such open-invite fatwa is ever issued again. They come off more as political statements – which is what condemnations are by nature – than they do as edicts explaining the religion’s position. If anything, efforts behind congregational fatwas should be channelled to condemn media, politicians and legislation that have unscrupulously targeted the Muslim community, all of which have eroded the human and civil rights of the general society. Nowadays, the ordinary Muslim is exhausted of hearing and reading about condemnations against Muslim terrorists being issued on their behalf.
And while I’m tired of people in my communities constantly partaking in and creating public campaigns to put up a good face of our religion, condemn this group or that action and issuing this statement and that letter – I can’t actually be angry with them. I can’t blame them for wanting, so badly, to not have to hear the same questions again and again, day in and day out. I can’t blame them for trying to show how they practice, envision and know Islam to an audience that only sees in black banners and white script. But while I can’t be angry with them, I am angry. At something I can’t always articulate but it never leaves my mind. What we need is not the pacification of Islam vis a vis campaigns and rhetoric that are antithetical to our tradition and propel Jihad as only and primarily an internal struggle. What we need are not hashtags, videos, social media campaigns and signs that make it clear that whatever the current Muslim boogeyman in the news is doing has nothing to do with the rest of us who share belief in the same religion. What we need is not an ever-changing litmus test of who is Muslim and who isn’t Muslim enough based on what makes our religion and us look bad. What we need are not open letters to questionable groups that serve maybe more as a public relations strategy than any actual engagement and debate meant to thwart unfettered violence. What we do need are internal campaigns to fix the broken parts of our communities; to reach those who feel disenfranchised, angry and powerless when they see their kin in their cities and around the world under fire, under surveillance, under suspicion and under clouds of blood and bombs. This isn’t about so-called “counter-radicalism” but about making sure the particulars of our community are healthy so that the whole can be healthy. If one part hurts, the whole feels the pain. And we need more than publicly, poorly slapped on bandages. Sana Saeed 
I for one am fed up of this apologetic and subservient tone. I have nothing to apologise for, I should not be asked to condemn the actions of two men that had nothing to do with me just as a white man should not be asked to condemn the murders committed by Anders Breivik or for the violent actions of the English Defence League. Assed Baig 
The situation has become so preposterous that it is now the domain of satirists, which is precisely where it should be relegated to and kept; satire should actually emancipate Muslims from the condemnation game.
— hend amry (@LibyaLiberty) December 15, 2014
The innately regressive nature of condemnations in the manner that is transpiring today is not recognised in Islam. It is high time for the condemnation game’s failed venture to be assigned to the annals of history. In its place, a fresh approach that is rooted in proactivity, renegotiating the social order for Muslims in western societies and traditional Islamic education is what is needed, away from the PR stunt and entertainment flash that the essence of condemnation is.
Do Muslims want to spend their efforts and energy trying to get a seat at the table of economic injustice, imperialism and structural injustice by condemning what everyone else knows to be condemnable, or do they want to take the brave, principled stance in committing themselves to proving that the status quo is unacceptable?
The wake of the bombings on 7th July, the further attempted bombings on 21st July, and the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes on 22nd July have seen a great outpouring of outrage and condemnation. At the time of writing it is hard not to believe that there will be further violence and further condemnation on London’s tubes, buses and perhaps elsewhere. The purpose of this communiqué is not to add our voice to this condemnation. It should not need to be stated that we neither sympathise with nor support the attackers on either side, and we feel nothing but grief for the pain of those killed, maimed or bereaved by them. But the mass acts of condemnation and commemoration, epitomised by the two minutes’ silence on 14th July, is of a piece with a wider long-term trend in public life which expresses dissent on a mass scale only to neutralize it. From the two minutes’ silence to Live 8, the mystique of participation turns political emotion into a public spectacle and thereby ‘raises awareness’ or ‘expresses solidarity’ while leaving the world around us unchanged. In short, the ritual of condemnation is all about business as usual.
Instead of internalizing a perpetual state of victimhood, Muslims in the West must channel their frustrations into championing law and order, and actively work alongside other groups where there is a convergence of interests. As Yasser Louati said in his presentation at the European Islamophobia Summit 2016 in Sarajevo, “Muslims have a great responsibility to guarantee that the state of law and democracy remain alive in western democracies… Muslims are the barometer of democracy and the rule of law in western democracies.” This is because it is now the Muslims who understand better than anybody else what it means when human rights and civil liberties are violated. Muslims must take a leadership role in this and take a large share of ownership in this regard, instead of outsourcing the fight to contemporary Abu Talibs and letting them and the extreme right-wing fight it out in defining Muslims.
Dear Muslims & supporters, do not continue to trouble yourself looking for the best counterarguments within false frames – that’s a lose-lose. If you really wish to challenge the hysteria our world is falling into, challenge the damn false frames themselves – that’s a win-win. -Ahmed Rehab -CAIR 
So, I will not condemn ISIS and I will not name, to whoever asks, the names of the moderates. I will not issue letters in the papers explaining this and lauding that and I will not sit at a table where the host with one hand praises my attendance and with the other denigrates my position in my society. I will, however, speak on my own terms and not with the neatly placed talking points meant to pacify and remind me of where I should sit and where I should stand. -Sana Saeed 
Important Note: For the purposes of this write-up, this excludes Ahmadis, self-confessed apostates, radical extremists, terrorists, extreme liberals, and Muslim deformers – a non-exhaustive list of which can be found later in the footnotes. The theme of this article is not directed at them. They may continue condemning ‘Jihadist terrorism by extreme fundamentalist radical Islamists’ at will.
 Why don’t Muslims condemn terrorism? | Soundvision (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Stan Grant speaks to Uthman Badar about Boston bombings | Sky News Newsnight (Australia) (Australia (retrieved 8/7/16)
 A town in West Yorkshire, England, with a Muslim population of 15,930 – 41.3% of its total. (UK Census 2011)
 “We are all extremely stunned by the horrible murder of Jo Cox. We wanted her so much to pull through after the dreadful shooting. We utterly condemn terrible violence of this sort regardless of who perpetrated it.” (The Press, 24/6/16; pg. 9; retrieved 8/7/16)
 Muslim Council of Britain takes out advert denouncing Paris attack | The Guardian (retrieved 8/7/16). Its American counterpart, CAIR, is not much different from the MCB, though it has improved drastically in this regard it seems in the past couple of years.
 Although condemnations are praiseworthy to a degree when Muslim terrorism occurs – such as how Muslims in war-torn Libya came out after the 2012 Benghazi US Consulate to protest, seemingly to educate obtuse but powerful Americans about how Libyans felt about the attack, trying to potentially escape their wrath, though the tone of some was problematic (15 Photos Of Libyans Apologizing To Americans | Buzzfeed; retrieved 8/7/16) – it can be safely assumed that the condemnation phenomenon is now exhausted and is no longer an educational measure. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did condemn wrongdoing by some of his Companions and criticised the errant actions of his Companions, and that was part of their education. However, condemnations by Muslims nowadays that are issued in the media are purely political, designed to appease the non-Muslim media and political establishment are in no way analogous to prophetic criticisms of his Companions. The message that mainstream Muslims do not condone terrorism has undoubtedly reached non-Muslims at all levels. Unfortunately, it seems that the shelf life of politically-charged condemnations tends to reduce dramatically fast.
 Ottawa Shootings: Time to Reexamine The Collective Muslim Psyche | Muslim Matters (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Every effort has been made to ensure the listed points are distinct from each other. However, there may still potentially be some overlap in the list. Due to subtle expressive variances and the different sources from where items on this list are referenced, I consciously decided to preserve mutually similar listed reasons as distinct from one another, rather than subsuming multiple points into one and potentially missing out on the of nuances of each.
 This is what David Cameron purported: David Cameron asks Muslims to not be Muslims and quietly condones far right terrorism | Coolness of Hind (retrieved 8/7/16).
 IS a reaction to unjust occupation | ABC Lateline (Australia) (retrieved 8/7/16).
The responses by Wassim Doureihi caused a furore in Australia at the time. In light of this article, however, his approach was absolutely correct. The classic media tactic was employed here, in which a question on security and terrorism is asked in a decontextualized manner that gives the impression that the issue is in a vacuum and hence the answer must be straightforward, binary and simplistic: the answerer is not allowed to discuss the agenda and/or the wider context of the question without being accused of evading the question.
Another example of this was when Jeremy Corbyn was asked by Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News about why he called Hamas and Hezbollah ‘friends’, in the run-up the UK Labour leadership election in 2015 (Jeremy Corbyn: ‘I wanted Hamas to be part of the debate’ | Channel 4 News (UK); retrieved 8/7/16).
But without doubt, the master of over-simplification is Fox News’s Sean Hannity, catering for his dim American audience. In one such example out of many, he posed a question to Yousef Munayyer, a leading American advocate for Palestinians’ human rights about whether Hamas is a terrorist organization (US Muslim civil rights group showing sympathy to terrorists? | Fox News; see also Vice’s follow-up with Munayyer: The Full Yousef Munayyer Interview | Vice; both retrieved 8/7/16).
 Why Muslims should never have to apologise for terrorism | DailyO (retrieved 8/7/16)
Ironically, this was the same argument used by hardline conservatives pontificating on Fox News when it came to the topic of discussing The New York Times’ description of Anders Breivik as a ‘Christian extremist’ after his atrocity in Norway (Articles of Faith: The Conservative Double Standard on Christian Terrorism | Time; retrieved 8/7/16).
 In the case of the fascist right-wing terrorism that was inflicted on Jo Cox, a Gujarati Batley taxi driver – who happens to be the a leader on a local mosque committee and a regular on a local Muslim radio station – sang a song to this effect and uploaded it online, and followed it up with a ridiculously layman-like theological defence after he was rebuked for the song. In spite of his embarrassing lack of sophistication as is evident to anyone who takes a cursory look at his YouTube channel, local Muslim scholars have just started to complain about him, yet have proven themselves to be utterly toothless in preventing this person from having direct line of media into each and every local Muslim home. This, as ever, goes back to: a lack of prioritising the needs of the Muslim community, a lack of activism and education beyond traditional Muslim rituals, and the lack of leadership, allowing laymen such as this person to take a role whereby they can not only influence the Muslim community at large in the domain they are unqualified to speak about, but can also boldly challenge local scholars. Some local scholarly bodies were also the same ones who jumped to condemn the Jo Cox murder – even when nobody asked them to.
Why Muslims Hate Terrorism More | The Daily Beast (both retrieved 8/716)
 ‘Islamism’ and ‘Islamists’ are meaningless terms popularized by the much loathed and detested extremist think tank Quilliam. It has no correct rendition in the Arabic language other than إسلام سياسي, which does not carry the sinister undertones that are attached to its English counterpart. One of the contradictions of non-Muslim politicians and analysts is they reject the Islamic nature of ISIS, referring to them as ‘Daesh’ or ‘so-called Islamic State’, but have no qualms in utilizing the terms ‘Islamism’, ‘Islamists’ and ‘Islamist extremists’ for whomever they consider fit.
“The Fallacy of the Term ‘Islamism’ – The second fallacy is the Western invented term ‘Islamist’, which the West uses to distinguish between colonialized ‘spiritual-only’ Muslims and pre-colonialized holistic-Islam Muslims. Ironically, the term ‘Islamisme’ was invented by the French philosopher Voltaire as a label for ISLAM. He was one of the first Western thinkers to stop using the term ‘Muhammadanism’. The West continued to use ‘Islamisme’ until it fell out of favor during the 20th century (around the time many Muslim [secular] countries were created by the West. Considering that Islam has for 1400 years consistently been associated with a holistic system, which includes ruling, economics and political affairs, the word ‘Islamism’ adds nothing to the word ‘Islam’ and is therefore irrelevant and mostly used to mislead non-Muslims (and Muslims alike), in order to make a distinction without a difference. According to Maajid’s ‘criteria’ of what an ‘Islamist’ is, the Prophet Muhammed (saaw), who ruled Madinah according to revealed divine law, would himself fall into Maajid’s definition of an Islamist! Seeing as Muhammed’s teachings constitute what we call Islam, ‘Islamism’ is a useless modern description at best, and harmful Western invented deception at worst.” (Maajid Nawaz, ‘Islamism’ and the Fallacious ‘You Share the Same Ideology as ISIS’ argument | Abdullah al Andalusi; retrieved 8/7/16)
“The language slips frequently and fluidly from Islamism, or Islamic extremists to Islam, condemning not only the violent minority, but criminalising the entire community.” (“There aint no crescent in the Union Jack” | Myriam Francois; retrieved 8/7/16)
 There was an intense media discussion in the UK on “anti-Zionism = Judeophobia (commonly referred to as anti-Semitism)” following the historical inadvertences of UK parliamentarian Naz Shah, who was temporarily suspended from the Labour Party. See Lord Jonathan Sacks: ‘Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism’ | BBC Newsnight (UK) (retrieved 8/7/16).
Authorities too quick to rule out terrorism in Chapel Hill shooting deaths | News Observer (both retrieved 8/7/16)
 ISIS even took credit for this attack as well as the Orlando attack. It seems that they will take credit for any attack wherever it may happen, no matter how much of a loner the criminal was, regardless of his/her past (lack of) observance and religiosity, and so long that the perpetrator was a non-Shi’i Muslim.
Even the nomenclature in the western media describing these attacks change suddenly when the identities of both perpetrators and victims are revealed. See We love to talk of terror – but after the Munich shooting, this hypocritical catch-all term has finally caught us out | Independent (retrieved 24/7/16).
 Outrage at Paris attacks masks our racism | Jonathan Cook (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Politicians routinely make this accusation against Muslims. See Yasser Louati’s objection to Jack Straw, ex-foreign secretary during the UK Blair government, who suggested that Muslims in 2016 need to be more vocal in condemning 9/11: Why I Confronted Top European Liberal Politicians On Their Role In Mainstreaming Islamophobia | AlterNet (retrieved 8/7/16).
 The Islamic position on homosexuality is as irrelevant to the Orlando shooting as is the position of many Republican Party politicians in the United States.
 Anon. Even the most radical and/or conservative of clerics who are anti- ISIS ideology have repeatedly condemned various terrorist attacks in the West. See Islamic Statements Against Terrorism | Charles Kurzman, UNC (retrieved 8/7/16).
 They are the type who would raise banners, and hashtag on Twitter, stating #notinmyname. See Paris attacks: Muslims use #NotInMyName hashtag to condemn Isis terrorism | International Business Times (retrieved 8/7/16). It is noteworthy that whereas this particular form of disassociation was adopted by liberals, some conservatives also unwittingly jump onto this bandwagon.
Other Muslims seek to win sympathy though other non-condemnation methods, such as blind hugs and holding up boards inviting those passing by to write a comment. This is the sad result of Muslims wanting to prove they are not terrorists.
 Imam of Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque Belgium condemns Brussels terror attacks | Rabwah Times (YouTube) (retrieved 8/7/16). Coincidentally, in this very clip, this Ahmadi imam jettisoned all non-Ahmadis from the Muslim faith for rejecting his messiah, and is in fact a subtle underlying theme of many of the political and anti-terrorism statements issued by leaders of this group.
Contrast this appalling behavior with how honorable Americans Sikhs refuse to disassociate themselves from Muslims in the aftermath of Muslim terrorist attacks because, as one says, “It’s just not an option for us to throw another community under the bus, even if it means things are harder for us.”
Another American Sikh adds, “We need to be better than that as Americans, and that is what our Sikh values teach as well.”
A third – Waris Ahluwalia, an American Sikh actor and designer – says, “That’s not the way I was raised. That’s why I wear this turban, to treat humanity with care and kindness. I’m not here to point fingers… You need to lead with love… When you [disassociate yourself from Muslims], you’re part of the problem… [as] you [would] be only thinking about yourself.” (Confused Islamophobes Target American Sikhs | The Daily Show (YouTube); retrieved 8/7/16)
This echoes the similar treatment received by a Nigerian Christian, who was forcibly removed from a plane because he was assumed to be Muslim by a fellow passenger who had read a message about prayer off his mobile. In defence of Muslims, he said, “Even if I was a Muslim, it was pretty unfair the way I was treated. I don’t think anyone, irrespective of their religion should be treated in such a way. If we keep on giving into this kind of bigotry and irrational fear, I dare say that the terrorists will have achieved their aim.” (Man removed from UK flight over ‘prayer’ message on phone | The Guardian; retrieved 8/7/16)
The topic of Muslims on flights was perfectly satirized on The Daily Show:
 Calls for UK Muslims to unite and condemn ‘barbaric’ Nice attack | Kirkintilloch Herald (retrieved 21/7/16). Personally, I was shocked to see the title, only to be comforted by realising this was a Qadiyani initiative, ever leveraging their persecution in Pakistan and more recently the murder of Asad Shah, having taken religious ownership of his life despite having declared prophethood for himself, rendering him a heretic by Qadiyani standards.
Timothy McVeigh does not qualify on to be on this list as he was identified as an example of a domestic terrorist. Having said that, the 1995 Oklahoma Bombing happened in the pre-9/11 era: It would not be false to suggest that McVeigh would have been labelled and treated differently had it occurred in recent years, since media stations nowadays are reticent in labelling non-Muslim acts of brutality as terrorism. Other examples are the Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski. 9/11-like suicide attacker Joseph Stack, who used a plane to launch an assault on Austin’s IRS offices in 2010, was identified as a domestic terrorist by some outlets.
Andreas Lubitz, the suicide pilot who crashed a plane in the French Alps in 2015, was also not identified as a terrorist, but the right-wing media coverage demonstrated how a white criminal enjoys a privilege that a non-white or Muslim criminal does not ( Why authorities were so quick to dismiss terrorism as the cause of the Germanwings crash | Quartz; retrieved 8/7/16).
 Deadly Attacks Since 9/11 | International Security (retrieved 21/7/16)
 These shared views are one of the pillars of the (now academically-discredited and utterly falsified) conveyor belt theory (though still routinely) promoted by extremism think tanks, which theorises that religious conservatism leads to religious extremism, which in turn leads to religious terrorism.
 The Big Lie About Muslim Silence on Terrorism | The Huffington Post (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Taqiyya, or the terrorist ‘art of deception’ | France 24 (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Baroness Warsi says Muslim prejudice seen as normal | BBC (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Islamophobia is Cool in America Today | The Islamic Monthly (retrieved 8/7/16)
 The Henry Jackson Society articles | Coolness of Hind (retrieved 8/7/16)
 https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2015/nov/24/why-its-wrong-to-demand-that-muslims-condemn-isis | The Guardian (retrieved 8/7/16). Another similar call to Muslims to march was made in the New York Times by Thomas Friedman, by Nina Burleigh in Newsweek.
Tarek Fatah, a Canadian secularist and liberal activist attributing himself to the Islamic faith, even went as far as saying that Muslims are the enemy if they do not tweet “I am #CharlieHebdo.”
Another, Irshad Manji, a promoter of a deformed version of Islam, was confronted by Mehdi Hasan and Ibrahim Mogra for claiming terrorism was not condemned strongly enough by Muslim leaders. This irrational behaviour is at the bitter end of the aggressive condemnation ritual spectrum.
 ISIS Has Hit List of Western Muslim Leaders | The Clarion Project (retrieved 8/7/16)
This is opposed to what some have advanced, that consistently condemning ISIS will make it lose its appeal: “It might persist as a counter-culture for years, if not decades, to come. But as long as Muslims around the world consistently condemn, contradict, resist, and combat ISISism, it will stay on the fringe, a counter-culture movement that will eventually lose its appeal.” (10 overlooked dimensions of ISIS | The Islamic Monthly; retrieved 8/7/16)
Regarding Asim Qureshi, it was incredibly revealing that he was asked to condemn terrorism on Channel 4 News twice. The first was in an interview with Matt Frei in August 2014; the second was a few months later in an interview with Jon Snow in February 2015. This alone is very telling and reveals the necessity of Muslims not allowing themselves to be browbeaten into condemning the extremism and terrorism that they are not party to.
But that was not the last time Jon Snow persisted with this line of questioning – this time with Tariq Ramadan, in July 2016: “One of the things which perplexes people is that if something is being done in the name of Islam, and is not even remotely Islamic, why do not the Islamic authorities across the land and in every land condemn it and indeed maybe even declare fatwas against those who do it?” (Channel 4 News (UK); retrieved 26/7/16)
See also The Muslim Blame Game – ‘Not In My Name’ | The Huffington Post (retrieved 8/7/16).
 Woolwich attack: of course British foreign policy had a role | The Guardian (retrieved 8/7/16)
Toronto couple changes sign after backlash from asking Muslims if they’re sorry | 680 News (Canada) (both retrieved 8/7/16)
 Sun’s ‘Muslim poll’ faces growing criticism | The Guardian (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Ottawa Shootings: Time to Reexamine The Collective Muslim Psyche | Muslim Matters (retrieved 8/7/16)
 The independent media is what is exactly needed, and this is what Muslims need to strive to, building coalitions, alliances and strategic partnerships with non-Muslim independent outlets that do not serve the right-wing corporate media narrative. See Amy Goodman’s works including: Amy Goodman’s Keynote Address at CAIR-SFBA’s 20th Anniversary Banquet | CAIR SFBA (YouTube) (retrieved 8/7/16).
This, however, does not mean that anything goes. Engaging with the wider public must be done with maturity and an understanding of the wider political context and agenda. The video showing UK Muslims dancing around to Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ soundtrack was an example of where prominent Muslims failed to understand that their actions would be inevitably used as an exception to the rule, to divide Muslims, and to brand those who didn’t agree with it as extreme (To be #happy Muslim or not to be – #anthroislam | Allegra Lab; retrieved 8/7/16). Unfortunately, this – which utterly fails in dispelling stereotypes – was replicated by Muslims in other countries like blind sheep being herded into a slaughterhouse. Another good example of this was video made by some Muslims in the US, trying to prove they are normal (I’m Muslim, and I’m Tired of Proving My Humanity | The Islamic Monthly; retrieved 8/7/16).
In response to Rana Elmir, so-called ‘Muslim reformist’ Zuhdi Jasser appeared on Fox News to denounce her article. Part of his usual diatribe included that Muslims should take ownership of terrorism, as this sits with his deformist agenda. Amusingly, he asked Elmir – whom he accused of being oppressed by ‘Islamists’ – to consider joining his so-called ‘Muslim reform movement.’ Falsely speaking on half of most Muslims, he suggested that they are tired of ‘press-release condemnations’ (which is the main thrust of this article, albeit from a different perspective) and want theological deform. To cap it off, he implied his reformist movement is equivalent to the reformist movement of the American Founding Fathers.
But that was not the only time Fox News invited masochists to refute Elmir’s article. In another episode, it invited Brigitte Gabriel and Mike Ghouse to refute her. Ghouse talked about being bullied into silence and not condemning, when it can be proven that Muslims are being bullied into condemning; and Gabriel claimed that ISIS is wholly Islamic and following the teaching of the Prophet (peace be upon him), forcing even Ghouse to embarrassingly disassociate himself from her!
Elmir’s article was followed by an outpouring of abuse directed at her, which she highlighted in a follow-up.
 Challenging terrorist stereotypes should not be handed over to delinquents, like in the popular YouTube series “Diary of a Badman” (the social media celebrity – loathed by the Muslim grassroots – of which has since been signed up to the flawed and disparaged counterterror Prevent programme: https://coolnessofhind.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/humza-arshad-a-bad-man-with-bad-strategy/; https://coolnessofhind.wordpress.com/tag/prevent/; both retrieved 8/7/16), or the BBC show “Citizen Khan” for that matter, which has been described as Islamophobic in the UK Parliament (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36048059; retrieved 8/7/16). Indeed, these shows serve the same purpose in reinforcing concocted negative stereotypes about Muslims as American shows (24, Homeland, Sleeper Cell) and movies (Taken, American Sniper, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty) have had in recent years. Many American conservatives who consume such content tend not to be able to make the distinction between the movies and real-life: American Sniper actor Bradley Cooper showed up the DNC 2016, much to the chagrin of Republicans who expected some loyalty (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jul/29/bradley-cooper-american-sniper-hillary-clinton-dnc; retrieved 29/7/16).
 Dear Don Lemon: Thanks for Making Me Famous | The Islamic Monthly (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Five Truths You Should Know About Terrorism And Islam | Counterpunch (retrieved 8/7/16)
 To name a few: Zuhdi Jasser, Ayaan Ali Hirsi, Maajid Nawaz, Maryam Namazie, Usama Hassan, Ed Husain, Tarek Fatah, Mike Ghouse, Tarek El Gawhary, Taj Hargey, Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji, Tawfiq Hamid, Hakan Cerrah, Haras Rafiq (Note: This is not a kill list). Ironically, these deformists are united with ISIS terrorists in that both want to deform Islam from within. As Hamza Yusuf put it, Muslims need a counter-movement to this. These are the type of individuals who would have no qualms in throwing Muslims under the bus to prove their credentials to western governments. Their wars with the Muslim community are as dangerous and damaging as western governments’ wars in Muslim countries.
“In the film, Namazie from the Council of ex-Muslims, claimed that emphasising Islam as one’s main or only identity was “part and parcel of the effort to hand them over to the islamists” which sounds like a conspiracy if I ever heard one… Why are Islamophobes like Namazie being given a platform to espouse erroneous and stigmatising nonsense under the guise of, according to Maajid’s introduction, giving a voice to an “increasing number of Muslims using their faith identity to advance a progressive agenda.” What is progressive exactly about stigmatising those who identify first and foremost with their religious identity as somehow ‘extreme’? By that token surely the Pope, Dalai Lama and Chief Rabbi are all ‘extremists’!” (What I Might Have Said If I Had Been on Newsnight… | The Huffington Post; retrieved 8/7/16)
“What people don’t realize is that the reason the Brigitte Gabriel, Steven Emerson, Frank Gaffney (to name a few steamers) have been trying to have the Muslim Brotherhood declared a terrorist organization for years is because it would, quite unjustifiably, facilitate “linking” almost every Muslim intellectual, activist and organization to a “terrorist org.” The reality is that the term “Muslim Brotherhood” is like “the conservative movement” – it’s broad, amorphous, internally linked and with elements of consistency but also extremely ideologically and organizationally diverse and not bounded by any single institution. At the same time the MB is a discrete institution in Egypt. So islamophobes try to pass a rule for the discrete organization (nonsense btw, as the US gov has repeatedly confirmed) and then have that rule apply to the amorphous trend. Re: below… Tarek El Gawhary throwing Egyptians under the bus in the name of Sisi and his noxious regime.” (Jonathan AC Brown | Facebook; retrieved 23/7/16)
Another egregious example of Muslims throwing observant Muslims under the bus was Tahir al-Qadri. In the run-up to the now infamous pandering-to-government ‘fatwa’ he issued in front of the global media at Westminster in 2010, he sold out both Salafis and Deobandis as extremists, terrorists or terrorist sympathizers (New Look, Old Tactics: Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri and the Counter-Extremism Agenda | Coolness of Hind; retrieved 8/7/16).
 The Henry Jackson Society is another example of an organisation run by prominent Islamophobes. At a time when Shaker Aamer, the last Briton held at Guantanamo was being released, HJS were invited onto various media outlets to give their view. Instead of supporting his release, they all questioned what would happen next in terms of the security threat posed by Shaker Aamer. (No need to reference this, all available via a simple google search and on the HJS webpage; in fact, HJS is so proud about this they even have video stating this on its YouTube channel). Related to this, an ex-White House legal advisor was able to spout his anti-human rights rhetoric on BBC Newsnight, justifying Aamer’s detention without charge, over which ex-Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg took him to task for.
Not every case of ludicrous Islamophobia is absorbable even for the right-wing media. The now infamous Steven Emerson, a regular on right-wing media outlets in the United States, is a name most people would know for claiming parts of the UK are Muslim-only and are no-go zones for non-Muslims.
It appears that Islamophobia has seeped into the highest levels of the establishment. One of the most awkward moments in the history of State of the Union speeches manifested in 2015, when Barack Obama defended Muslims against offensive stereotypes – nobody on the floor applauded, having applauded Obama in his previous sentence for denouncing Judeophobia.
Even when praising Muslims, politicians nowadays are seemingly unable to phrase themselves without dropping a word or two that can be aptly described as ‘polite Islamophobia.’ At the 2016 Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton offended Muslims by saying, “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” This was expertly broken down by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic for the Islamophobia it implied.
Other examples of ‘soft Islamophobia’ include: Barack Obama humiliating Muslim guests at the White House by defending Israel’s bombardment of the Palestinians; David Cameron’s inability to resist mentioning terrorism in his Eid greetings; Larry King’s remarks to a Saudi; and the US media’s description of the UAE’s first female fighter pilot.
 The numerous times in which Anjem Choudary, who is on the fringes of the Muslim community, has been invited to speak on British and American (and other) TV platforms demonstrates the corporate media is interested only in headlines and not community cohesion.
 Even when this does happen, the average Muslims who is supposedly patriotic to his/her country is a victim of the right-wing corporate media’s wilful disregard. At the DNC 2016, the parents of an American Muslim soldier who died in Iraq were speaking on stage, but Fox News decided cut away to advertisements. There is something deeply cynical and sinister about this.
 3 Reasons Christians Shouldn’t Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism | Sojourners (retrieved 8/7/16)
 ‘Izzah: Literary Analysis, Islamic Understanding | Muslim Matters (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Stop asking me to condemn terrorists just because I’m Muslim | The Washington Post (retrieved 8/7/16).[
 The myth of collective Muslim responsibility | Middle East Eye (retrieved 8/7/16)
 The myth of collective Muslim responsibility | Middle East Eye (retrieved 8/7/16)
 On Israel’s 2009 bombardment of Gaza: “The harshest critics are found in the frontline of demonstrations. Unlike previous politically charged events – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – there are fewer condemnations from the mosques. Imams, burned by accusations of inciting violence, have remained low-key, encouraging their congregations to return to the teachings of the Qur’an and Hadith, and seek spiritual comfort.” (Reaction from British Muslims | The Guardian; retrieved 8/7/16)
 Ottawa Shootings: Time to Reexamine The Collective Muslim Psyche | Muslim Matters (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Here’s Why These Muslims Are Refusing To Criticize ISIS | The Huffington Post (retrieved 8/7/16 )
 Ottawa Shootings: Time to Reexamine The Collective Muslim Psyche | Muslim Matters (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Karen Armstrong | Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence (retrieved 8/7/16)
 There are exceptions: “My parents still fear that I will be arrested for writing and expressing an opinion as a journalist. I have been inundated with calls since the attack from Muslims that are afraid of a backlash, one even asked me if there would be ethnic cleansing. I told them not to be afraid because I had faith in the British people to see through the fog that politicians and mainstream media perpetuate.” (Woolwich and the Muslim response | Assed Baig; retrieved 8/7/16)
 Barack Obama has dictated this to Muslims numerous times: 6 Times Obama Called On Muslim Communities To Do More About Extremism | NPR (retrieved 8/7/16).
 A case in point would be the black community in the United States, which is at present suffering from immense brutality at the hands of white police officers. Furthering the imposition of the condemnation ritual, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings demanded a condemnation from black protestors: “Reports out of Baton Rouge this morning of three officers killed and others wounded are deeply disturbing. This must stop. Violence against our police officers under any circumstances is not acceptable and poses a grave threat to all of us. Those peacefully protesting police across the country must swiftly condemn this type of violence against law enforcement.” (Mayor Mike Rawlings | Facebook; retrieved 21/7/16)
 No, Obama, I Won’t Condemn ISIL | The Islamic Monthly (retrieved 8/7/16)
 The myth of collective Muslim responsibility | Middle East Eye retrieved 8/7/16)
 The lies binding Hillsborough to the battle of Orgreave | The Guardian (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Hanson: ‘We have to take a strong stance against Muslims’ | Yahoo7 News (retrieved 21/7/16)
 7 Questions to Ask Before Asking if Muslims Condemn Terrorism | Patheos (retrieved 8/7/16)
Similarly, the ‘I’ll ride with you’ campaign after the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis is a good example of non-Muslim reaching out to Muslims, instead of asking them to condemn the act.
11 reasons why Muslims should not condemn ISIS | Blog of the Bearded One (all retrieved 8/7/16)
Even the ex-President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, was asked about whether Muslims should condemn terrorism or not. He did not gave any indication that they should.
 IS a reaction to unjust occupation | ABC Lateline (Australia) (retrieved 8/7/16)
 3 False Assumptions About Muslims in the Age of ISIS | Sojourners (retrieved 8/7/16)
 Boris Johnson wins ‘most offensive Erdoğan poem’ competition | The Guardian (retrieved 8/7/16)
Coincidentally, Boris Johnson was rebuked for assuming Munich was an Islamically-inspired terrorist attack.
 “But regardless of what details surface, Chief Andrä’s classification of the attack — as potentially inspired by a famous terrorist attack, yet not terrorism itself — reflects more than the increasingly blurry line between mass assailant and terrorist.” (Terrorist or Disturbed Loner? Munich Attack Reveals Shifting Labels | The New York Times; retrieved 24/7/16)
 Ahmadiyya Muslim Community statement on Munich Attacks | The Times of Ahmad (retrieved 23/7/16)
 This was from the Orlando Statement (retrieved 8/7/16), which does not utilise the word condemnation. However, it has all the hallmarks of a condemnation: The fact that a website link was registered and is dedicated to Muslims denouncing the Orlando attack is problematic for all the reasons highlighted in this piece.
 The non-Muslim parents of so-called Jihadi Jack were remanded in custody for allegedly providing financial support to their son who had joined ISIS.
A cursory look on news blogging website Medium throws up a number of article penned in defence of the theme of this piece:
I’m sorry I won’t internalize collective responsibility #MuslimApologies | PCDN (all retrieved 8/7/16)
 Explaining with wisdom means Muslims should continue expressing their condolences to victims and their families and expressing empathy. Wisdom does not mean nothing is to be said after a terrorist attack. It would also not be of wisdom to sound like a broken record anytime there is an attack or compromising on fundamental aspects of Muslim theology.
 One Muslim Danish politician said that not speaking out means condoning terrorism, and that terrorists think they have a lot of support in the West if Muslims not coming out in their droves to condemn. This is an absurd proposition that should be called out for what it is. The calamity here is this politician is a Muslim.
** The following is a list of online articles that directly relate to the theme of this piece, all of which have been used as references in support of its thesis.
*** The following is a non-exhaustive list of people who have been cited in this article in support of its thesis:
Marvin Abbey, Johari Abdul-Malik, Waleed S Ahmed, Hiba Akhtar, Abdullah al Andalusi, Shabir Ally, Waleed Aly, Karen Armstrong, Uthman Badar, Assed Baig, Moazzam Begg, Jonathan Brown, Amina Chaudary, Jonathan Cook, Jeremy Corbyn, Wassem Doureihi, George Eaton, Rana Elmir, Max Fisher, Myriam Francois, Suliman Gani, Roy Gleenslade, Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Mehdi Hasan, HA Hellyer, Dilly Hussain, Arsalan Iftikhar, Sherman Jackson, Jason Jones, Nazia Kazi, Imran A Khan, Ziaullah Khan, Renner Larson, Yasser Louati, Hind Makki, Aasif Mandvi, Davide Mastracci, Hasan Minhaj, Dalia Mogahed, Marwan Muhammad, Yousef Munayyer, Sharif Nashashibi, Dean Obeidallah, Peter Oborne, Kamran Pasha, Yasir Qadhi, Asim Qureshi,Tariq Ramadan, Ahmed Rehab, Olivier Roy, Rizwaan Sabir, Marc Scarcelli, Zaid Shakir, Samana Siddiqui, Usaid Siddiqui, Mark Steel, Jon Stewart, Aman Wadud, Sayeeda Warsi, Jessica Williams, Hamza Yusuf
**** The following is a non-exhaustive list of people who have been cited in this article as antagonists to Islam and/or mainstream Muslims in various aspects discussed in this piece:
Emma Alberici, Kay Burley, David Cameron, Hakan Cerrah, Bill Clinton, Tarek El Gawhary, Steven Emerson, Michael Fallon, Tarek Fatah, Matt Frei, Brigitte Gabriel, Mike Ghouse, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Tawfiq Hamid, Sean Hannity, Pauline Hanson, Taj Hargey, Usama Hassan, Ayaan Hirsi, Ed Husain, Naser Khader, Sonia Kruger, Don Lemon, Asad Majeeb, Irshad Manji, Robert Ménard, Maryam Namazie, Andrew Neill, Asra Nomani, Barack Obama, Bill O’Reilly, Tahir al-Qadri, Haras Rafiq, David Rivkin, Jon Snow, Erick Stackelbeck, Jack Straw, Isha Susay, John Vause
Zahra Billoo Responds To The Women’s March Inc. Voting Her Off The New Board
Earlier tonight, I was voted off the Women’s March, Inc. national board. This followed an Islamophobic smear campaign led by the usual antagonists, who have long targeted me, my colleagues, and anyone else who dares speak out in support of Palestinian human rights and the right to self-determination.
The past 48 hours have been a spiral of bad news and smear efforts. Part of the smear campaign is motivated by opponents of the Women’s March, because the organization has traditionally challenged the status quo of power and white supremacy in our country. However, much of the campaign is driven by people who oppose me and my work challenging the occupation of Palestine, our country’s perpetuation of unjust and endless wars, and law enforcement operations targeting the American Muslim community.
The Women’s March, Inc. is an organization I once held dear. I spoke at the first march, spoke at regional marches every year after, spoke at the convention, participated in national actions including the original Kavanaugh protests, and worked to mobilize Muslim women for their efforts.
During the past few years right-wingers, from the President’s son to the Anti-Defamation League and troll armies, have targeted the Women’s March, Inc. For so long, I’ve admired their resilience in speaking truth to power, in working together, and in never cowering. Over and over again, the co-founders of Women’s March, Inc. put their lives on the line, winning power for all women in all of our diversity. The Women’s March, Inc. that voted me off its board tonight is one that no longer demonstrates the strength that inspired millions of women across the country.
To see and experience its new leaders caving to right-wing pressure, and casting aside a woman of color, a Muslim woman, a long-time advocate within the organization, without the willingness to make any efforts to learn and grow, breaks my heart. This isn’t about a lost seat, there will be many seats. The Women’s March, Inc. has drawn a line in the sand, one that will exclude many with my lived experiences and critiques. It has effectively said, we will work on some women’s rights at the expense of others.
To be clear, anti-semitism is indeed a growing and dangerous problem in our country, as is anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia, ableism, sexism, and so much more. I condemn any form of bigotry unequivocally, but I also refuse to be silent as allegations of bigotry are weaponized against the most marginalized people, those who find sanctuary and hope in the articulation of truth.
In looking at the tweets in question, I acknowledge that I wrote passionately. While I may have phrased some of my content differently today, I stand by my words. I told the truth as my community and I have lived it, through the FBI’s targeting of my community, as I supported families who have lost loved ones because of US military actions, and as I learned from the horrific experiences of Palestinian life.
In attempting to heal and build in an expedited manner within Women’s March, Inc., I offered to meet with stakeholders to address their concerns and to work with my sisters on the new board to learn, heal, and build together. These efforts were rejected. And in rejecting these efforts, the new Women’s March, Inc. demonstrated that they lack the courage to exhibit allyship in the face of fire.
I came to Women’s March, Inc. to work. My body of work has included leading a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization for over a decade, growing it now more than six-fold. In my tenure, I have led the team that forced Abercrombie to change its discriminatory employment policies, have been arrested advocating for DACA, partnered with Jewish organizations including Bend the Arc and Jewish Voice for Peace to fight to protect our communities, and was one of the first lawyers to sue the President.
It is not my first time being the target of a smear campaign. The Women’s March, Inc., more than any place, is where I would have expected us to be able to have courageous conversations and dive deep into relationship-building work.
I am happy to have as many conversations as it takes to listen and learn and heal, but I will no longer be able to do that through Women’s March, Inc. This action today demonstrates that this organization’s new leadership is unable to be an ally during challenging times.
My beliefs drive my work, and I am not seeking accolades or positions of power. These past few days have been the greatest test of that. My integrity, my truth, and my strength comes from God and a place of deep conviction. I will continue my work as a civil rights lawyer and a faith-based activist, speaking out against the occupation of Palestine and settler-colonialism everywhere, challenging Islamophobia and all forms of racism and bigotry in the United States, and building with my community and our allies in our quest to be our most authentic and liberated selves.
Onward, God willing.
The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’
As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.
While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:
The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.
I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”
On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,
The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.
First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.
Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.
More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:
Al-Arian mentions that,
“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.” He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban. But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.
These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.
Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:
This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.
What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?
What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.
Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?
If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.
If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.
When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.
Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch
Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)
Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.
A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.
Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)
His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.
His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.
Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).
Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.
Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.
The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.
Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.
Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.
During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.
He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.
Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.
Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.
After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.
Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.
Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)
Zahra Billoo Responds To The Women’s March Inc. Voting Her Off The New Board
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