Islamic leaders in the Middle East yesterday denounced the slaughter of children in Russia as ‘unIslamic’, as commentators asked unusually soul-searching questions about the region and terrorism.
Even the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest Islamic group, condemned the bloody siege in Beslan. Its leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, said that kidnappings may be justified but killings are not. He added: ‘What happened is not jihad [holy war] because Islam obligates us to respect the souls of human beings; it is not about taking them away.’
While some Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East have long supported fellow Muslims fighting in Chechnya, such was the barbarity of the hostage takers that few voices spoke in support of the actions in Ossetia. Egypt’s leading Muslim cleric, Grand Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, was quoted as saying during a Friday sermon: ‘What is the guilt of those children? Why should they be responsible for your conflict with the government? You are taking Islam as a cover and it is a deceptive cover; those who carry out the kidnappings are criminals, not Muslims.’
Ali Abdullah, an Islamic scholar in Bahrain who follows the ultra-conservative Salafi stream of Islam, also condemned the school attack as ‘unIslamic’. However, he insisted Muslims were not involved and revived an old conspiracy theory: ‘I have no doubt that this is the work of the Israelis, who want to tarnish the image of Muslims.’
But the reaction was overwhelmingly filled with revulsion. Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote an article in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper under the headline: ‘The Painful Truth: All World Terrorists are Muslims!’
There is absolutely no justification for kidnapping, killing, torturing, or abusing any human being under any guise, especially religion. Religions do not have anything to do with the barbarity of man or their screwed up interpretations.
But there is a problem and I wonder now if religions are actually the culprit by inciting simple-minded folk to abrogate their God-given logic and just submit to wanton destruction in its name.
We know we have a problem when “learned” scholars who shirk their responsibility to educate and eradicate extremism in all their forms just pass the buck to the “Zionists. This blame on Zionists, Jews, Israelis has become the ultimate joker card in their decks. So rather than questioning and arriving at answers, they seem to be saying “hey bud, this is not our problem” and distance themselves further from truths which are so glaringly obvious it makes the mind boggle.
I know that Zionists, Jews, Israelis just like anyone else on Earth are not without blame, but come on, this is getting ridiculous.
Needless to say, I am disgusted by the events in Beslan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, and other parts of the world. And no, I don’t have an answer.