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Simply condemning terrorism by Muslims is not enough


Posted 18 November 2015

Over time I have become increasingly frustrated by the statements many Muslim organisations issue after a terrorist attack has taken place. Like many other citizens, I am fed up with comments such as:

On Friday 13 November, Paris experience an absolutely horrendous terrorist attack. The following Monday I wrote a piece for the Conservative Home website which was published the following day. It was widely circulated using Twitter and is reproduced below.

Mohammed Amin: It is not enough for Muslim organisations simply to condemn terrorism

Mohammed Amin is Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He is writing in a personal capacity.

A chance email late on Friday evening alerted me and on TV I watched the unfolding horror in Paris. All governments have feared this type of terrorism since the Mumbai attack of 2008, but it was still utterly shocking to see it happening on the streets of a city that I know and love.

The following morning I drafted the statement issued by the Conservative Muslim Forum at this link closing with the need for everyone to assist the security services and to “assist the Government in rooting out the pernicious ideology that underlies such terrorism.”

Other condemnations from Muslims

There have of course been many condemnations of the Paris attacks from Muslim organisations and from individual Muslims. However, some of the statements I have read left me feeling frustrated – because they look so incomplete.

To give just two examples: the statement from the Muslim Council of Britain here and that from the Council on American-Islamic Relations here.

Condemning terrorism is easy and no Muslim organisation need fear any criticism from Muslims (or others) if all it does is to condemn terrorist acts. However, condemning terrorism is not enough if you are unwilling to acknowledge its causes. If you deny its causes, you cannot put forward a meaningful vision of the way forward.

The terrorists’ religious beliefs matter fundamentally

I am utterly fed up with hearing people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, argue that the religious views of the terrorists are irrelevant. Just one example: Dr Giles Fraser here.

Those who argue this appear unable to understand that more than one condition may be required for people to kill in the way they did on Friday evening.

This was explained in more detail in my Conservative Home piece “Terrorism and denialism” at this link.

The Muslim leadership that is needed

I have a simple challenge for Muslim organisations and Muslim leaders.

What are you doing to:

If you are not actively doing this, in my opinion you are part of the problem. Passive indifference to the 95 per cent of our wider society which is non-Muslim is not enough.

We all have to promote cohesion and to immunise our young people against being radicalised. Sadly too many parents only face up to the reality of radicalisation after their son or daughter has gone off to Syria to join ISIS. Even worse are the small number of those parents who actually regard such sons or daughters as heroes and not as children who have been duped into a death cult.

Concluding comments

The tone of the above piece reveals how strongly I felt about the subject. Indeed my feelings were so strong that they distracted me from noticing that I was inconsistent, twice using ISIS instead of my preferred usage of ISIL.

The editor of Conservative Home, Paul Goodman, noted my passion when sharing my piece in his tweet copied below .

Strongly-felt from @Mohammed_Amin on @ConHome: It is not enough for Muslim organisations simply to condemn terrorism

— Paul Goodman (@PaulGoodmanCH) November 17, 2015

There were a number of comments from readers. They have since been deleted as part of the site's housekeeping. Many commended the piece, while others treated it as yet another opportunity to denigrate Islam. However Muslims concerned about such denigration need to remember that it is the actions of the terrorists that are its cause.


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