Paris tragedy: Muslims too condemn violence and terrorism
It is sad to learn about the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, which killed and injured many people.
Muslims condemn it. There is no excuse for taking innocent lives.
People of all religions have their own eccentric followers and misled ones. Religions or their followers ought not to be blamed for the misdeeds of some of them who often did such depraved things in the name of their religion.
Regarding misdeeds, let us take an example. In Singapore, littering is an offence; if caught the offenders are fined heavily. Go to the playgrounds and other public resting areas in the neighbourhood early in the morning and you will see lots of rubbish, like drink cans, food wrappers and cigarette butts. So, surely Singapore or all Singaporeans cannot be blamed for such offences. Only the offenders ought to be punished; they are usually a small number as compared to the large majority of Singaporeans who are good. Misdeeds in various magnitude and form like shooting of school children, killing of innocent people and misappropriation of religious donations take place daily all over the world, even in civilised societies, but the blame should be only on the person or group committing the misdeed.
Violence and killing as a result of hate and vengence is not the answer. It is unacceptable and against Islam. Prophet Muhammad did not take any revenge for the decade-long oppression on him and his followers. Instead, he won over his enemies with compassion.
Indeed, the Quran, the Holy Book of Muslims, prohibits the killing of innocent people. Islam considers all life forms as sacred but the sanctity of human life is accorded a high and special place, giving human beings the right to live. The Quran says: If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land (by the just law of the country), it would be as if he slew the whole mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind. (5:32)
The Quran equates the taking of even one human life unjustly with killing all of humanity. Thus, terrorising or killing of civilians is not in keeping with the teachings of Islam.
Therefore, Muslims join hands with others across the world in condemning any kind of attack on people anywhere in the world by Muslims or non-Muslims. Punish the doers of misdeeds but spare tarnishing the religion and its good followers.
With regard to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, an article in The Sunday Times (of Singapore, 15 November 2015), “No religion to blame for violence: Faith groups” by journalist Rachel Au-Yong, says: “Religious leaders from the various faiths in Singapore yesterday condemned the Paris attacks and offered prayers for the victims. They said such acts of violence were a crime against humanity and cannot be justified by any religion.”
Important parts of the article reproduced include:
- Mr Foo Check Woo, president of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO), said members attending a talk at its headquarters prayed for the victims and quick recovery of those injured. “The IRO condemns the terrorist attacks,” he added.
- The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said the Singapore Muslim community is deeply saddened by the loss of many innocent lives: “Muis expresses its sympathy for those affected by the tragedy and hopes that security and peace in France will prevail.”
- Ustaz Mohamed Ali, vice-chairman of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), which counsels terror detainees and counters radical ideology, said such terror acts “would never be justified by Islam”. “The Quran says life is sacred: If you kill one life, it is like you killed the whole of humanity,” he added.
- Reverend Kang Ho Soon, a pastor at Trinity Methodist Church, believes most Singaporeans will not associate such attacks with Islam. “We see again and again that terrorist attacks cannot be identified with religious groups,” he said. “Islam is a religion of peace. But every religion will have people who take it in a destructive way.”
- Singapore Buddhist Federation president Seck Kwang Phing said such terror attacks go against the teachings of all religions.”
- “Terrorism Has No Religion” trended globally on Twitter, with users saying no religion can be blamed for the attacks, as some online have suggested.
We need to promote peace and harmony among all peoples of the world, respect other cultures and beliefs and treat each other as equals in humanity, never take innocent lives in the name of taking sides with nations and freedom of speech, always remembering that we are all of the same stock from one pair of human beings – Adam and Eve. This is the challenge of civilised societies and nations.
By: Shaik Kadir
17 November 2015