“…increasingly religious…” and Other Words

Several recent articles describe the Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev as having become, “…a fervent Muslim…” and “…increasingly religious…” I want to scream, “NO! He was NOT becoming a fervent Muslim! He was becoming a fervent KAAFIR (unbeliever) and increasingly IRRELIGIOUS! He took SATAN as a guide instead of ALLAH!”  Those articles were written by non-Muslims, while imams across the nation condemned the tragedy and even dared to say what they should have been saying loud and clear:  These men are not brother Muslims, but heretics. 

Instead of preaching to the choir, imams and Muslim writers need to clean up our language. There is no such thing as “radical” Islam. There is Islam, and there is other than Islam. There is no such thing as “fundamentalism” in the sense that one goes back to the founding (fundamental) principles of Islam to concoct justifications for terrorism.  There is no such thing as “extremism” which condones violence, and “non-extremism”, which does not. Do I need to cite Qur’anic ayahs regarding  malicious killing and all manner of violent behavior that wrecks havoc and brings suffering instead of peace? I think not.

In addition to disowning terrorists, we Muslims really need to change how we describe our religion and its associated perversions. WE know what is meant by “radicalism”, but the non-Muslim rightly thinks that “radicalism” is simply an exaggeration of established guidelines. “Fundamentalism”, with regard to Islam, is not actually fundamental; it does not go to the founding principles, and cannot claim right guidance. “Extremism” is not the outer edge of acceptable practice; it is not the purified, rarified essence of what we ordinary Muslims accept as Islam.

It’s bad enough that groups of Muslims in many countries learn corrupted ideas that subvert Islam, commandeer its theology and hijack its purpose, but even worse that the majority of  Muslims are not finding more effective ways to counter the development.  

One way, one small but important way, is to change how we describe our religion and the people who arose from our religion but who’ve stolen it, used it in service to the most heinous of evil acts. This post is my contribution to that goal. If you agree with me, speak up. Talk about this, especially to imams and Muslim leaders. If nothing else, post something on another blog, an article, a letter to the editor.

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11 responses

    • This is one of the more convincing of the many videos claiming that the collapse of the buildings was planned. It’s not hard to give a voice to that idea. What’s hard for me is to consider that the demolition was planned by my own government.

      The reasonable suggestion is that the planning and preparation (if done at all) was done by the group who eventually succeeded in ramming the building with the planes.

      I would be interested in scientific analysis for both sides.

      • Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, parents of suspected Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, claimed their sons were framed in a Russian press conference April 25. Photo: Reuters

  1. USA and Israel was trying Russia to join fight against so called Islamic terrorism (to legitimize illegally occupied Palestine land which was stolen 60 year ago) but Russia didn’t listen to them…
    Chechnya is in Russia..

    • You have raised a very important aspect to this subject, mak — the political situation that underlies the religious perversion. They are connected. I still think that Muslims must step up with more energy to separate religion from politics.

      Some will say that Islam cannot be separated from politics because Islam encompasses a political vision. I say that the politics of Islam does not endorse terrorism and the killing and maiming of innocent people. It does not even endorse the killing and maiming of guilty people, except in certain, well-defined, narrow, specific situations.

      Palestine is a forced sacrifice. It’s been stolen, and it won’t be restored, except by decree from Allah. We would be arrogant to think we can help Allah in this endeavor. What we can do, however, is work in ordinary ways…

      Since my personal strength lies in words, I write. I write posts like this one, now and then, to stimulate thought and inspire others to think about the way in which words can either clarify or obscure situations. I feel strongly that the words we use to describe what happened in Boston and other places actually make things worse, especially for the way in which non-Muslims understand Islam.

      • I’m not surprised that the parents claimed the sons were framed. No parents in their right minds can bear the thought that their kids have done something violent to take the lives of innocent people. Parents are victims, too.

  2. “These men are not brother Muslims, but heretics.” — Yet I’ve heard others argue that we don’t have any right to say who is or is not Muslim as that is up to God to decide especially if those people said the shahada and believe themselves to be Muslims. So maybe this is why some people say people like these brothers are extreme and have a radical interpretation of Islamic texts. I think in any religion we can interpret things in a variety of ways to justify what we want to do or don’t want to do.

    • I disagree. This idea that a person is a Muslim (and therefore entitled to the benefit of the doubt) simply because he/she said shahada is hogwash. Criminals have used religion to justify crimes ever since religion was established. How much longer will sane people allow criminals to hide behind the “justification” of religion? “Extreme” and “radical” interpretations of any religion do not exist with respect to whether we are allowed to maim, terrorize and kill our fellow human beings. We are not allowed to do those things and remain in good standing– period.

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