Two myths still rear their heads in Muslim responses to the London bombings, writes Irshad Manji.
First, that Britain courted the attack by joining the US in Iraq. Second, that Islam cannot be held responsible for what a few twisted Muslims choose to do.Read the rest…
Terrorists have never needed an Iraq debacle to justify their violent jihads. What exactly was the Iraq of 1993, when Islamic radicals first tried to blow up New York City's World Trade Centre? Or 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked? Indeed, that assault took place after US military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia.
If staying out of Iraq protected anybody from terrorism, then why did "insurgents" make hostages out of reporters from France, the most anti-war, anti-Bush nation in the West? Even overt solidarity with the people of Iraq, demonstrated by CARE's top relief worker in the area, Margaret Hassan, did not shield her from assassination.
When Muslims ignore these facts, we cloud what ought to be a clear repudiation of the London bombings. I say "ought" not just for moral reasons but also for strategic ones. An unqualified rejection of the London bombings can only help moderate Muslims differentiate themselves from the apologists.
Which brings me to a second myth: that Islam has nothing to do with these atrocities. You need not live in Britain to cling defensively to that line. Consider a prominent imam in New York City. He is a gentle, decent man; a new generation type who emphasises multi-faith dialogue. To top it off, he just returned from a conference about moderate Islam in Jordan, where he played a key role.
But in his official response to the London bombings, this cleric sanitises the Koran. He says it teaches us - and here is the precise quote - "whoever kills a human being ... it is as if he has killed all humankind". The imam is honest enough to indicate that he has removed a part of the passage but not honest enough to tell us it is a crucial part. The full verse reads: "Whoever kills a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all humankind." Militant Muslims easily deploy the clause beginning with "except" to justify their rampages.