A Memo to American Muslims: An Islamic Scholar Appeals to His Fellow American Muslims in the Aftermath of the Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (American Thought)

By Khan, M. A. Muqtedar | USA TODAY, January 2002 | Go to article overview

A Memo to American Muslims: An Islamic Scholar Appeals to His Fellow American Muslims in the Aftermath of the Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (American Thought)


Khan, M. A. Muqtedar, USA TODAY


IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, the most Benevolent and the most Merciful, may this memo find you in the shade of Islam enjoying the mercy, the protection, and the grace of Allah. I am writing this memo to you with the explicit purpose of inviting you to lead the American Muslim community in soul searching, reflection, and reassessment.

What happened on Sept. 11 in New York and Washington, D.C., will forever remain a horrible scar on the history of Islam and humanity. No matter how much we condemn it, and point to the Quran [Koran] and the Sunnah to argue that Islam forbids the killing of innocent people, the fact remains that the perpetrators of this crime against humanity have indicated that their actions are sanctioned by Islamic values. The fact that even now several Muslim scholars and thousands of Muslims defend the accused is indicative that not all Muslims believe that the attacks are unIslamic. This is truly sad.

Even if it were true that Israel and the U.S. are enemies of the Muslim world, wonder what is preventing them from unleashing their nuclear arsenal against Muslims. A response that mercilessly murders thousands of innocent people, including hundreds of Muslims, is absolutely indefensible. If anywhere in your hearts there is any sympathy or understanding with those who committed this act, I invite you to ask yourself this question: Would Muhammad sanction such an act?

While encouraging Muslims to struggle against injustice (Al Quran 4:135), Allah also imposes strict rules of engagement. He says in unequivocal terms that to kill an innocent being is like killing entire humanity (Al Quran 5:32). He also encourages Muslims to forgive Jews and Christians if they have committed injustices against us (Al Quran 2:109, 3:159, 5:85).

Muslims, including American Muslims, have been practicing hypocrisy on a grand scale. They protest against the discriminatory practices of Israel, but are silent against the discriminatory practices in Muslim states. In the Persian Gulf, one can see how laws and even salaries are based on ethnic origin. This is racism, but we never hear of Muslims protesting against such actions at international forums.

The Israeli occupation of Palestine is perhaps central to Muslim grievance against the West. While acknowledging that, I must remind you that Israel treats its 1,000,000 Arab citizens with greater respect and dignity than most Arab nations treat their citizens. Today, Palestinian refugees can settle and become citizens of the U.S., but, in spite of all the tall rhetoric of the Arab world and Quranic injunctions (24:22), no Muslim country except Jordan extends this support to them.

While we loudly and consistently condemn Israel for its ill treatment of Palestinians, we are silent when Muslim regimes abuse the rights of Muslims and slaughter thousands of them. Remember [Iraqi Pres.] Saddam [Hussein] and his use of chemical weapons against Muslims (Kurds)? Remember the Pakistani army's excesses against Muslims (Bengalis)? Remember the Mujahideen of Afghanistan and their mutual slaughter? Have we ever condemned them for their excesses? Have we demanded international intervention or retribution against them? Do you know how the Saudis treat their minority Shiites? Have we protested the violation of their rights? Yet, we all are eager to condemn Israel--not because we care for rights and lives of the Palestinians; we don't. We condemn Israel because we hate "them."

Muslims love to live in the U.S., but also love to hate it. Many openly claim that the U.S. is a terrorist state, but they continue to live in it. Their decision to live here is testimony that they would rather live here than anywhere else. As an Indian Muslim, I know for sure that nowhere on Earth, including India, will I get the same sense of dignity and respect that I have received in the U.S. No Muslim country will treat me as well as the U.S. has. If what happened on Sept. …

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