|Destruction near Tavistock Place in London following a bomb blast on a bus|
When asked whether the simultaneous bombings across London on July 7 were the work of Islamic terrorists, London's metropolitan police commissioner responded that there was not enough information yet to point fingers, but that the culprits certainly were not Islamic terrorists, because Islam and terrorism simply don't go together. He could not have been more accurate in his response. And such a fair and objective answer was especially welcome after Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the terrorists had acted "in the name of Islam," (although Blair admitted - almost as an afterthought - that most Muslims around the world would "deplore this act of terrorism.")
The truth is that no religion - including Islam - condones the killing of innocent people. Already, Muslim clerics and leaders as well as countless Islamic groups around the world have condemned the London attacks on moral, humanitarian and religious grounds. All agree that there is nothing Islamic about killing ordinary civilians taking the subway or bus to work or school. And there is nothing in the Koran or the Hadiths that could possibly condone such a deplorable and calculated murder. In fact, Islamic texts clearly condemn the killing of innocents. Such acts of terrorism are both morally reprehensible and in direct violation of Islamic teachings.
Some might naively argue that the terrorist attacks in London were a political response to Britain's involvement in the Iraq war. True, London has been fearfully bracing for such a possible backlash ever since the Madrid attacks of March 11, 2004. But there is no political message that can be conveyed or transmitted through brutality and violence. The perpetrators, whether they turn out to be fundamentalists or some other group, will fail to promote whatever political cause they pretend to espouse. The only message that they will successfully convey is that they have a passion for bloodshed and violence. While terrorists may hide their love of violence in political terminology, it is the satisfaction of an unquenchable appetite for mayhem that is their only recognizable and sincere motivation.
Sadly, the victims of their crimes are not only those who were killed or wounded or terrorized in London yesterday, but all Muslims, particularly those in the West, where they have been looked at with increasing discrimination and suspicion ever since September 11, 2001. Muslims will undoubtedly suffer even more discrimination in the wake of these latest attacks. In spite of the fact that all acts of "Islamic" terrorism blatantly contradict Islamic teachings, such acts serve to further distort the image of Muslims and Islam.
The ramifications of the terrorist attacks in London will undoubtedly be far-reaching and will be felt around the globe. They are also likely to further inspire a wave of international counter-terrorist cooperation between governments and security agencies, thus wasting valuable resources - time, money, but most importantly good will - that would have otherwise gone toward more productive endeavors.
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