Woolwich, Britain Attack Condemned by Muslims
British Muslims have taken to Twiter to denounce the Woolwich attack and to express their dismay that anyone could claim that such an act of brutality had anything to do with religion. Representatives of many British Muslim organizations have condemned this terrible crime.
The Islamic Society of Britain has issued a statement:
Murdering a British soldier is an attack on our nation. No effort should be spared in purging this hate.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the deceased.
Justifying this killing in the name of faith or religion is false and rejected. Rejected by the Islamic Society of Britain. Rejected by scripture. Rejected by those who commit to God. Rejected by civil society. And rejected by truth.
We, the British, will remain together, resolute and strong. And we will carry on.
The Muslim Council of Britain has released a statement which said it understood the victim was a member of the Armed Forces, and calling for communities to come together. The statement said:
“This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly.
“Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.
“We understand the victim is a serving member of the Armed Forces. Muslims have long served in this country’s Armed Forces, proudly and with honour.
“This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonourable, and no cause justifies this murder. This action will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of the United Kingdom.
“We call on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.”
The Islamic Forum of Europe issued a statement
The Islamic Forum of Europe condemns the shocking attack and murder of a soldier in London today. Although reports indicate the suspects are Muslim, there is no basis in Islam for such barbaric attacks.
The perpetrators may have had delusions of being martyrs for their faith, but the plain facts are they were violent criminals. They do not represent anyone but themselves. Such attacks are cowardly and without honour.
The thoughts of Muslims are with the victim’s family at this tragic time. We must all let the authorities get on with the task of investigating how this happened and let the perpetrators feel the full force of the law.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) issued a statement
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is shocked by the horrific violent act of two men in London, U.K. ISNA condemns it in the strongest possible terms and trusts that those responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law. Nothing they believed or did represents the beliefs or actions of observant Muslims in the U.K. and around the world.
ISNA applauds the sentiment expressed by British Prime Minister David Cameron that “This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.”
ISNA admires the courage of ordinary British citizens who confronted the attackers. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victim. Our determination to continue our work for peace and justice by practicing the cardinal values of our faith remains as strong as ever.
If you click on the Muslims Denounce Terrorism logo on the front page of The American Muslim, it will take you to Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism. There is a great deal of information available through links on that page, including these very extensive collections:
A Spiritual Jihad Against Terrorism (5 parts), Sheila Musaji
Muslim Scholars Appeal to Christian Scholars for Dialogue and Peace - “A Common Word”, Sheila Musaji
Muslim Violence, Christian Non-Violence: People in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Words, Sheila Musaji
Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism
list of article collections and resources
- Part I & II Fatwas & Statements by Muslim Scholars & Organizations against extremism and terrorism
- Part III Statements & Articles by Individuals
- Part IV A few Quotes A-K, and L-Z
- Part V Muslim Voices Promoting Islamic Non Violent Solutions
- Part VI Qur’an & Hadith Against Extremism and Terrorism
- Part VII Selective Hearing of Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism
- Part VIII Religious terrorism is an oxymoron, Sheila Musaji
- Part IX Throwing Stones at the Qur’an From a Biblical Glass House, Sheila Musaji
- Part X Claim that all terrorists are Muslims ignores history
- Part XI Hirabah - Jihad - Terrorism - Violence - Just War - Crusades article collection and resources from TAM and Loonwatch - updated 7/6/12
Shelina Zahra Janmohamed, a British Muslim blogger wrote about her personal reactions to this, as did Mas’ud Ahmed Khan. I am certain that their reaction is shared by most Muslims in Britain, and in the U.S.:
Today is a very emotional and difficult day in London. Yesterday, we witnessed an event of disgusting proportions. There are so many thoughts running through my head because there are so many aspects to this brutal killing.
I feel horror at what has happened and shock that something so barbaric has taken place on our first world streets. I give my condolences for the families. I offer my admiration for those who protected the body and for the woman who engaged the killers in conversation to prevent further attack.
I feel that the killers in this case were like Breivik of Norway: lunatics who spouted what they thought was fashionable politicised rhetoric to in their minds justify something that is unjustifiable. What kind of nutter films a video of their exploits and then waits twenty minutes for the police to arrive? That suggests something that’s not right in their heads, a delusional exhibitionist swagger detached from reality. How and why? That I don’t know.
My brain cannot reconcile how they can use the words ‘Allahu Akber’ during this deed, (‘God is greater’) because they will know that God is greater than their base act which is not based on justice and Islam, but that Islam does not permit vigilantism, nor murder.
And this is, after all, murder. Murder of the most horrific kind. It’s the most extreme repulsive kind of gangsterism. And yet I ask myself the honest and genuine question, is this labelled terrorism because the murderers were Muslim? Or is this genuine terrorism? I don’t think we know the answer to this yet. How can we assert either way at this time?
And so I also feel angry that the exhibitionist barbarity of two individuals has been widened out to a bigger trend of terrorism before we know the full facts.
I’m also angry, and scared at the reprisal attacks that have already been happening on Muslims. Three mosques already have been attacked.
This morning as I stepped outside I felt scared, fearful of how I was perceived and what people would be thinking. I’m worried for my safety, for the security of my family. I had a hollow laugh at myself as I wondered if I live in a ‘nice’ area, safe from attack. But the racism and anti-Muslim hatred that has exploded in our midst since yesterday means I am under no illusions about how fragile we all are. What else should I think when I keep seeing repeated “Hitler killed the wrong people, he should have killed Muslims.”
I don’t want to have to keep issuing condemnations and explaining this is not Islam, this is not what it means to be Muslim, but there is little choice given the inflammatory context. The EDL took to the streets in Woolwich yesterday claiming ‘enough is enough’, and brought fear to a people already traumatized. And Twitter is filled with alarming expressions of hatred and threats against Muslims.
I don’t make proactive statements of condemnation as an apology: I have nothing to apologise for. I don’t make statements of condemnation because I am guilty or subservient. None of these are true, and I will not tolerate such suggestions.
I don’t make these statements for the EDL and other hate groups. I make them because in this case the killers used words dear to Muslims which we use in prayer, and these words must be respected and not defiled by inhumanity. But also, our wider society needs Muslims to reach out too, and I feel that the words from Muslims across the board are making a difference.
I don’t know how this story will unfold, but I pray that the consequences for all the people of Britain will not be a descent into hatred and division. This is what the killers wanted. This is what the EDL wants. But this is not what right-thinking human beings want, and will never be accepted by those with hearts and humanity.
I stand with my British brothers and sisters at this time of public crisis. I stand with hope for a Britain of togetherness. Shelina Zahra Janmohamed
Mas’ud Ahmed Khan, a prominent British Muslim blogger posted this heartfelt statement on Facebook:
After the senseless and barbaric slaying of a young British Serviceman by two, supposed “Muslims”, we are getting news of Mosques being attacked and firebombed, Muslim women being harassed, spat at, abused and having their headscarves ripped off. The senseless actions of these murderous idiots have placed Muslims under threat and danger here in Britain. I fail to understand why they carried this act out? There is no sanction and justification for it in our religion, none whatsoever. “They do it to us, so we do it to them” is not a valid principle in our religion. They have not helped “our women and children” in “our lands” by this act. They have not furthered any cause, Islamic or otherwise. They have made matters decidedly and emphatically worse for Muslims. They have only acted out of some disease deep down in their soul and psyche, it’s a discourse of anger, it’s reactionary emotionalism, it’s psychopathic.
Fighting a war on a battlefield i…s one thing, face to face with a well prepared opponent, but to run down an unsuspecting innocent person in the street and then butcher him is a psychopathic and cold blooded murder. One does not take the life of an animal without apprehension, but this was a human being, a husband, a father, a son.
I am reminded of the story of Sayyidina Ali, the Prophet’s cousin who, when on the battlefield he had an enemy combatant at the point of his sword and was about to finish him off in the heat of battle when the soldier spat on him. Just as Sayyidna Ali was about to run his sword through for the kill, he hesitated. The thought occurred to him as to whether he was going to finish him off in anger for the sake of himself, having been spat at or for the sake of God. Sayyidna Ali, decided it was the former and spared the soldier. When the soldier later asked him for an explanation he became Muslim due to the example set by this noble and righteous man. What example do these murderers set? They are poles apart, I am not sure what religion these guys are following but it certainly not the path the Sayyidna Ali was on.
The only sense I can make of this act and those like it are that there are some deep rooted mental issues that the perpetrators have. Deluded psychopaths, that’s the only thing that makes any kind of sense to me.
NOTE: Very little is known about the perpetrators or their affiliations and motives at this time. We don’t know what their nationality, or even whether they are lone wolves or part of some organized criminal gang like Al Qaeda. This will be updated as facts become available.
UPDATES — THE FACTS BEGIN TO COME OUT
It is now known that the two perpetrators of this crime are of Nigerian descent. ”... The two suspected killers, now under guard in hospitals, had been known to security services before Wednesday’s daylight attack, security sources said. Another man and a woman, both aged 29, were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. One of the assailants, filmed calmly justifying the killing as he stood by the body holding a knife and meat cleaver in bloodied hands, was named by acquaintances as 28-year-old Londoner Michael Adebolajo - a British-born convert to Islam.” **. The second perpetrator has been identified as Michael Adebowale, who was in a local juvenile gang, and survived a knife attack several years ago, after which he converted to Islam. Both of these individuals have come under scrutiny by the authorities in investigations over the past few years.
It seems that the two perpetrators had connection with Anjem Choudary, the British nutcase from Al-Muhajirun and Muslims4UK that many Muslims have warned about. (More about Choudary Anjem Choudary part of the Muslim Lunatic Fringe. The Chicago Tribune reports that Choudary is putting all of the blame for this act on British foreign policy. “Anjem Choudary said Michael Adebolajo (filmed with his hands covered with blood, carrying a meat cleaver and knife after attacking an off-duty soldier in broad daylight) had attended lectures run by al-Muhajiroun, Choudary’s organization, which was banned under anti-terrorism laws in 2010.” Adebolajo was picked up by police last year as he tried to leave the country, apparently on his way to join al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia. AFP reports that “Adebolajo had reportedly tried to travel to Somalia to fight alongside the country’s Shebab insurgents but had been turned back and had his passport confiscated by police.” He has been involved in Al Muhajiroun protests. The Mirror has this photograph of Adebolajo with Anjem Choudary at a protest in 2007.
The Globe and Mail [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/exiled-cleric-who-taught-woolwich-attacker-praises-his-courage/article12124893/]has now interviewed Omar Bakri Muhammed, the co-founder of Al Muhajiroun from exile in Lebanon. Bakri praised “the courage” of these criminals.
... Bakri said his organization Al Muhajiroun had nothing to do with the attack because they had not seen Adebolajo since 2005. However, Anjem Choudary, who took over the leadership of Al Muhajiroun when Bakri was exiled from Britain, has told Reuters Adebolajo attended the group’s events until about two years ago.
“I think Michael, or Mujahid, is going to stand for what God has destined for him,” Bakri said, speaking in English. “God destined for him to carry out the attack and God destined for the British soldier to die for the cause he believed in. Maybe Michael, in the eyes of many people in Britain, Muslim and non-Muslim, they don’t condone what he did. They condemn it. But in the eyes of Muslims around the world they don’t see him the same way. The Muslims in this country, they are so happy, proud of him. They see him as a freedom fighter attacking a military base.”
Bakri said he had been living in Lebanon since 2005, under an agreement by which Lebanon prevents him from leaving the country for 30 years. But he said he was in daily contact with students in Britain.
Foreign policies may have been what motivated this criminal act, and Glenn Greenwald discusses this at length here. However, individuals like Anjem Choudary, and groups like Al-Muhajirun need to be held accountable for providing angry young men with a false interpretation of Islam that can be used to justify terrorism and violence.
Not only have these individuals carried out a barbaric murder which is frightening and disgusting to all decent people —but they have also added another crime to this in attempting to justify their act or connect it in any way with Islam. It is difficult to watch the video in which the individual identified as Michael Adebolajo says that this act was done in revenge for perceived injustices towards Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. The MOTIVE he is expressing is clearly political, but wrapped in “Islamic” jargon. As a Muslim, I want to know where he learned this false perversion of Islam. Who taught him that Hirabah is Jihad. This act is NOT JIHAD, it is Hirabah and a criminal act under any mainstream understanding of Sharia. This is not an “Islamic” act. These men are NOT “ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS”. These individuals may be Muslims, but they are criminals who happen to be Muslim. They do not represent anything but an incredibly twisted perversion of Islam. These individuals have betrayed their country, they have betrayed the people of Britain (of every faith), they have betrayed Islam. These men are extremists, criminals, and murderers. Nothing about this barbaric act is “Islamic”.
Somehow, we need to find a way to marginalize lunatic fringe voices like Bakri & Choudary, and to magnify the message of mainstream Muslim scholars like Sheikh Ali Gomaa of al Azhar who wrote Violence is never an acceptable answer to provocation, and to expand and stress the many Muslim programs to counter radicalization.
Reports are coming in of violence directed at British mosques and individual British Muslims who have no connection with the perpetrators. The Zainabia Islamic Centre in Granby was attacked with a molotov cocktail. In Gillingham, Kent, a man ran into the local mosque and started smashing windows and bookcases. Meanwhile in Braintree, Essex, it is alleged that a man attacked the Islamic place of worship with a knife and explosive device. Both the attackers have now been arrested by police. The English Defense League (EDL) has rioted. Many anti-Muslim incidents have been reported to a local hotline.
ARTICLES on this particular act of terrorism:
A brave woman talked down Woolwich terrorists who told her: ‘We want to start a war in London tonight’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10074881/Mum-talked-down-Woolwich-terrorists-who-told-her-We-want-to-start-a-war-in-London-tonight.html
Anti-Muslim reprisals after Woolwich attack: English Defence League in street battles with police in Woolwich and mosques attacked in apparent acts of revenge http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-anti-muslim-reprisals
British police arrest two more over London attack http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/23/us-britain-killing-cameron-idUSBRE94L0WU20130523
Anjem Choudary Head of radical Islamist group who knew London knifeman blames UK foreign policy http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-britain-killing-choudarybre94m0oz-20130523,0,7929839.story
London Muslim Centre and Tower Hamlets Mayor condemn Woolwich attacks http://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/news/court-crime/london_muslim_centre_and_tower_hamlets_mayor_condemn_woolwich_attacks_1_2206908
Muslims condemn barbaric killing http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/10436984.Muslims_condemn_barbaric_killing/?ref=nt
Muslims must not apologise for terror - they are no more responsible than the rest of us, Ian Dunt http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/05/22/comment-muslims-must-not-apologise-for-terror-they-are-no-mo
Woolwich Machete Attack: Muslim Religious Groups Condemn Killing http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/22/woolwich-machete-attack-religious-groups-condemn-killing_n_3322089.html?utm_hp_ref=uk?ncid=GEP
‘Not in our name’ – British Muslims denounce the Woolwich attack on Twitter http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/05/not-in-the-name-of-islam-british-muslims-denounce-the-woolwich-attack/
UK mosques attacked in backlash of Woolwich beheading http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/UK-mosques-attacked-in-backlash-of-Woolwich-beheading/articleshow/20237304.cms
Was the London killing of a British soldier ‘terrorism’?, Glenn Greenwald http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-terrorism-blowback
What does it feel like to be a Muslim Londoner today? The Woolwich killings and my raw uncensored emotions, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed http://www.spirit21.co.uk/2013/05/woolwich-killings-raw-uncensored-emotions-of-a-muslim-londoner/
Woolwich attack: government convenes emergency meeting – live updates http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/22/woolwich-two-shot-in-police-incident-live-coverage
Woolwich attack: lone wolf and jihadist theories will occupy security forces http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/22/woolwich-attack-lone-wolf-jihadist
Woolwich attack: These killers represent no one but themselves http://blogs.metro.co.uk/news/woolwich-attack-these-killers-represent-one/