The wonderful Karima Bennoune remembers those killed 40 days after the Boston bombings and calls for condemnation of Islamism. She says:

I would ask anyone who wants to support the rights of people of Muslim heritage in the United States in the wake of the Boston bombings, please do not so by explaining that jihadist terrorism is simply a response to US foreign policy, or a consequence of the alleged difficulties faced by Muslim youth in integrating into American culture, or the result of Russian bombing of Chechnya.

Many of us have criticisms of US foreign policy and that of other countries; integrating may indeed be challenging for those from immigrant backgrounds in many contexts; and Chechens did suffer through the intolerable flattening of their country by the Russian military between 1992 and 2009. (As far as I know the United States never bombed the province.) However, most Muslims, immigrants and Chechens have not become terrorists as a result. These things are no excuse for – or even explanation of – the choice to deliberately murder children and young people at a sporting event. Such a grave international crime has nothing to do with legitimate grievances and everything to do with extremist ideology and movements that indoctrinate and instrumentalize young people. We must defeat those movements which have killed so many civilians, especially in Muslim majority countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq and Pakistan.

I have just wrapped up three years of interviewing hundreds of people of Muslim heritage working against fundamentalism and terrorism around the world, and I learned many lessons from them that are helpful today. For example, Cherifa Kheddar, president of Algeria’s Association of Victims of Islamist Terrorism, or Djazairouna, who wrote right after 15 April to say how terrible the Boston bombings were. She told me that

“We cannot defeat terrorism by an anti-terrorist battle without doing the anti-fundamentalist battle.”

In other words, it is not just the violence of radical jihadis, but the underlying ideology of Islamism that we must confront. That ideology discriminates between Muslims and non-Muslims (as evidenced by Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s reported indignation that his Imam mentioned Martin Luther King, a non-Muslim, during a sermon), and between “good” and “bad” Muslims. It justifies egregious violence against women and civilians, or at least creates an environment conducive to them.

Of course, being an Islamist or a jihadist is not same thing as being a devout Muslim, and it is unhelpful when the US media simply describes radicalization as becoming “more religious”. This process is rather the adoption of a dangerous political stance that deploys religion in the service of an extreme agenda. The best way then to take a pro-human rights stance in the face of recent events is to support those people of Muslim heritage who are risking their lives to denounce and defy these movements. Many have raised their voices around the world in places like Afghanistan, but have rarely been heard in the west.

You can read the rest of the piece here.



  1. Only Islamists are mandated to carry out violent Jihad in the name of Allah. These murderous acts are not condoned or justified by the teachings of Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. There are more killed by Islamists each year than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition. More civilians were killed in two hours on 9/11 than in the entire 36 years of sectarian conflict in Ireland. Hopefully the Protestants and Cathlocs have given up their hatred at last. Clearly the Shias and Sunnis have not. A total of 20,900 deadly attacks since 9/11 in the name of Allah on all communities, suggests that extremists abound.

    From the 600’s, Islam butchered its way and forced conversion of a largely peaceful multicultural Mecca, Arabia, then out to Africa, India and Europe. Often the men were beheaded and the women and children were taken as slaves. Sometimes a religious community was given a third choice, that of dhimmitude, as a group with very few rights, who had to pay the Jizyah tax to stay alive. No wonder these are remembered as golden times for Islam, Dhimmis for income and slaves for the work and sex.

    The Crusades with all their crimes against humanity on both sides were an attempt to free captured Christians and the Holy Land. In the 1400 years since the rise of Islam it is estimated that 170 million died at the hands of Muslims. They died defending their homes, their countries and their religions.

    I do agree that we should leave occupied Muslim lands. I imagine the Christian Copts of Egypt (those who originally populated that country) will be forced to leave or die soon anyway. The Muslim Brotherhood have already put the age of consent/marriage down to 13 years (it is 9 in Iran). Only Islam (currently expanding fast) has a word for the infiltration and imposing of Sharia in their host countries “Al-hijra”. Will the Muslims of Europe return to a Muslim country, or continue to out-breed the Europeans, eventually enforcing Sharia?

    Anontdh, I have not got the measure of your personal belief. You may be practising Jizzyha the deception as prescribed by the Koran to convince us infidels that Islam is peace. I would like to think that you are deceived as to the true nature of Islam. If you are a scholar of the Koran, and Hadiths (accounts of Mahommed’s life) you should know its true nature. A few peaceful quotes from the Koran, which have been rendered outmoded by later calls to war are not enough to convince this Infidel. “O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty” Qur’an, Sura 9:123

    There is one thing we agree on: a thorough study of Islam will reveal its true nature, I advise all to look deep and long. The Koran is confusing and jumbled. There is one book, “An Abridged Koran” that takes out the repetition, sets its chapters out in chronological order (it is currently from the longest to shortest) and aligns the texts with the life of Mohammed.

    The great Abrahamic Religions! Only two teach “do unto other as you would have them do unto you”. Only two allow a freedom of choice, apostasy is death for most Muslims (only 7 years jail in Malaysia). Only one treats women as chattels, suggests beating of wives, stones the victims of rape for the lack of 4 Muslim witnesses, and condones genital mutilation.

    And one more thing, I do not hate individual Muslims, I am sure that the majority just want to be left to a peaceful life. However they are trapped in a religion which also has a totalitarian, political agenda. When we are all under Sharia we will have the “Great Islamic Peace”. Are we all looking forward to this?

    And Judaism for Terrorism in the Occupied Territories (Palestine)?

    Individuals, not religions,
    carry out inhuman acts.

    Islam is a religion of peace, accepted and practiced by more than 1.25 billion people worldwide. It is the fastest-growing religion in the world, and if it was what some critics claim, why should the people from all walks of life from around the world keep embracing Islam?

    Where is the sword now?

    In Islam, a person has the right to defend himself, his family, his country or his neighbor(s), which justifies the resistance being offered by the people of Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir and Palestine, to attacks on their soils by the so-called liberators, who are actually the occupiers.

    The Holy Qur’an clearly states that if a person saves one life, it’s as if he saved humanity, and if a person kills one human being, it’s as if he killed humanity.

    What is happening in the enslaved Muslim countries is a natural reaction to occupation, bombings, killing and terrorizing of innocent civilians (children, old men and women), rapes, in addition to looting of resources, national antiques and artifacts, above all destruction of property by the occupiers.

    Terror breeds terror.

    We assure those who bash Islam that if there was no occupation in this world by foreign invaders, there would be no resistance – the so-called terror.

    We would like those who criticize Islam to explain the following acts committed by the Christians on Jews, other Christians and Muslims alike, throughout history:

    – Hundreds of thousands of Muslim men, women and children killed by the crusaders, who were Christians.
    – Inquisition of Jews and Muslims from Spain by Queen Isabella, a Christian.
    – Millions of people killed by the European and American Christians during the two world wars.
    – Hundreds of thousands of Christians killed every year by the Irish Christians, including the British and the IRA, both Catholics and Protestants, during the past few centuries. Why are they not blamed to be “Christian Terrorists?”
    Both of them believe in Jesus Christ, who told them to turn the other cheek, and both of them believe in the same Lord, Who commanded that “Thou shall not kill.” Period.
    – Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was a Catholic. Are all Catholics terrorists?

    Last but not least, the bombings, killings, rapings and lynchings of both American Indians and black slaves (Afro-Americans) during the past 200 years in the United States.

    What about them?

    Will those filled with hate for Islam blame Christianity for the above inhuman acts by Christians in various parts of the world since its inception?
    If not, then why are they blaming the religion of Islam for what is a natural reaction to occupation of Muslim countries by foreign invaders?
    Most importantly, these folks should know that the three great Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have one common basis, and that is one God Almighty.

    “All men (and women) are created equal, and we all are one nation under Almighty God,” is a statement according to the Holy Qur’an and is very well elucidated in the U.S. Constitution.

    Lastly, yet importantly, as brothers in humanity, we recommend those filled with hate get an education in the history of Islam and Muslims, before they dare to write nasty letters full of personal, ingrain hate and vendetta.
    We would be pleased to provide anyone with free copies of the Holy Qur’an and Islamic literature in English, which would help them to understand the truth about Islam and Muslims and get rid of hate from their systems, God willing.

    May God Almighty show you the light, Amen.

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