Not All Muslims Are Terrorists, But…

Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa

Posted Jun 26, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Not All Muslims Are Terrorists, But…

by Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.”

This is a statement oft-repeated by many in our world today. I suspect this is based on the media reports of the horrific things that some Muslims have done (and continue to do) in the name of Islam: bombings, beheadings, suicide attacks, etc. Indeed, it seems that almost every single day there is another report of a car bomb or suicide bomb going off in the name of Allah.

But, there is nothing like an ugly little fact that ruins a perfectly good theory. Terrorism is not an Islamic franchise. The problem is that the media does not think that the terrorists of the non-Muslim flavor are as newsworthy as the Muslim ones.

Now, before I begin, I must say that I am not scapegoating the media here. I work with and in the media. I do not believe there is a “media conspiracy” against Islam. It is indeed true that there are brutal acts of violence that are committed in the name of Islam, twisting Islamic texts and precepts for justification. Every time I think these “Muslim holy warriors” have done their worst, they seem to do something even more brutal and horrific. When a suicide bomber enters a mosque and blows himself up during Friday prayers, it deserves to be reported.

The same goes when a suicide bomber kills innocent people at a hotel in Amman, Jordan. It is important news that deserves to be reported. In fact, a good friend of mine’s sister and her fiance were seriously injured in that attack. I do not think it should be ignored by the media.

At the same time, however, it is important to know that there are other terrorist attacks that occur, equally as brutal, that are not committed by Muslims. For instance, what if I told you that there was a recent bus bombing which killed 58 people. In response, the government launched airstrikes against the positions of the terrorists. What was the first thing that came to your mind?

The terrorists were Muslim? This occurred in Palestine? Israel? Iraq? All wrong. This terrorist attack occurred in Sri Lanka, and the accused perpetrators are not Muslim. In fact, the Tamil Tigers have committed dozens of suicide attacks in their guerilla war against the Sri Lankan government. Although the Tigers have denied involvement in this attack, the point is that this terrorist attack had nothing to do with either Islam or Muslims.

How about the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda? This group has been waging a rebellion against the Ugandan government and has been accused of horrific human rights abuses, including massacres and abduction of civilians. The group’s leader, Joseph Kony, wants to establish a theocratic government based on the Bible and the Ten Commandments. I haven’t seen many articles about this “Christian terrorist” group. In fact, the media doesn’t use the term “Christian terrorism” at all, unlike the myriad of people who continue to use the term “Islamic terrorism.”

Yes, the Toronto 17 are Muslims, and I am very thankful to God that they were caught. If what is alleged against them is true, then it is an enormous blessing that they were caught before they could perpetrate their barbarism against the innocent.

But the “Miami 7” are not Muslim, but members of a sect that combines beliefs of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In the immediate aftermath of the arrests, members of the news media called them “radical Black Muslims” before all the facts were in. The same was true in the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombings. Almost everyone claimed the perpetrators were Muslims until Timothy McVeigh was caught.

Let me say again, I am not dismissing the fact that many of our most vile enemies are terrorists of the Muslim flavor. Not only must they be defeated, but their ideology must be quashed forever. I have been trying my hardest to speak out against their evil and twisted interpretation of my faith. But, terrorists come in all different flavors, not just the Muslim one. Terror is not an Islamic franchise. It is a criminal one, plain and simple.

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