Thursday, April 03, 2008

A former terrorist asks fellow Muslims to renounce terror

Hassan Butt, who was once a member of radical group Al-Muhajiroun has this to say in The Guardian:

I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.
By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the 'Blair's bombs' line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.


...what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.
How did this continuing violence come to be the means of promoting this (flawed) utopian goal? How do Islamic radicals justify such terror in the name of their religion? There isn't enough room to outline everything here, but the foundation of extremist reasoning rests upon a dualistic model of the world. Many Muslims may or may not agree with secularism but at the moment, formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion. There is no 'rendering unto Caesar' in Islamic theology because state and religion are considered to be one and the same.


Many of my former peers, myself included, were taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief. In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.

If our country is going to take on radicals and violent extremists, Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I'd like to term the Land of Co-existence. And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.

This is a fascinating read. First it dismisses the myth that policies of the U.S. or Britain cause Muslims to commit terror. It explains how some Muslims are brainwashed into believing that killing is the answer in their religion. And it calls upon peaceful Muslim scholars and clerics to re-address their theology and emphasize the peace they must embrace and reject the terror, so they can exist in harmony with a world of many faiths.

h/t dave bones