We at Islamic-World have had many requests to make a public declaration of our position on the recent tragic events in the United States of America. First, we want to make it clear that we will never support or accept the use of violence of any kind or for any reason, unless it is in direct self-defense necessary to protect innocent Muslims or Islamic nations against physical attack. Second, there are no words satisfactory to express the great depth of our sorrow at the deaths of thousands of Americans and citizens of many other nations in the terrorist actions against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last week(11 September, 2001). I'm sure seeing the almost unendurable sadness of the families who have so unfairly lost their loved ones has touched the hearts of every right thinking person, and brought tears to many million eyes around the world.We commit to do our part in the struggle to rid the world of criminal violence and terrorism, and to help bring about a world of peace, love and justice according to the Will of Allah.
With this said, and said with utmost sincerely, even at this moment of great sorrow some harsh realities must still be faced. America is not the most loved among nations. It is a telling fact that millions of people throughout the world hate America, and are convinced they do so with good reason. These deep seated negative feelings toward America are perhaps most evident among the people of the poorest nations in the developing world and the people of many of the world's Islamic nations, who rightly consider themselves to have been oppressed and exploited by America and American interests. There seems to be no question that many million people across the world today are suffering, even dying, both directly and indirectly due to policies and practices of the American government and its allies. Many of those suffering are our Muslim brothers and sisters. Unless the real causes of this deep animosity toward America are removed it is naïve to think that it will be possible to stop those who would be willing to use violence to harm America,American citizens or American interests. Terrorism can never be stopped until injustice in all of its forms is stopped.
Regarding the issue of exploitation, particularly economic exploitation, we view as highly significant a comment made in an address to the people of America several years ago by then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who said, "America with about five percent of the world's population utilizes about forty percent of the world's resources; and, we are going to have to work ever harder to keep it that way." When you are an African parent sitting homeless in the dust, hungry and thirsty, while your children die slowly before your eyes it is easy to see the blatant unfairness of this economic disparity. Is it then surprising that there will be anger toward America? Allah has told us that wealth must be equitably distributed among the world's people and nations.
The unfettered capitalism of America and the western nations, which has also now been foisted upon much of the rest of the world, is not fair, it is not just and it is not right – in a word it is evil. Islam offers what might be described as a form of limited capitalism, which is fair, just, and right in every aspect, and would result in an equitable distribution of wealth among the peoples and the nations of the world. The introduction of the Islamic economic system throughout the world would be a large step toward correcting past economic injustices, healing the wounds of the exploited masses, and would spread feelings of harmonious unity across the world.
Regarding the issue of oppression, the examples are so many it would be impossible to enumerate them. America has pushed upon the world, through powerful and often unfair techniques of social influence, a belief in the myth of itself as a model of everything good and right. They insist there is no right political system but the American way, that there is no right social system but the American way, and that there is no right moral system but the American way. In doing so they have stripped the wonderfully varied peoples of the world of their traditional cultures, their traditional beliefs, and their traditional way of living. When you look around the world today you see the citizens of most nations striving in a desperate attempt to mimic the look, the language, and the behaviour of Americans. It is often not a pretty sight!
America has convinced(through the use of economic, diplomatic, and even military force among other means) much of the world that their form of democracy is the best political system in the world, that it is the only right political system, and that it must be used to govern every nation in the world. As Muslims we must know that the American form of democracy can never be allowed in a truly Islamic society. In the American form of democracy any issue is allowed to be put to a vote of the people, and the majority decision prevails upon all. Can we as Muslims put an issue that has already been decided for us by Allah up for a vote and accept the will of the majority if they vote against the Will of Allah? Of course we cannot, so therefore we can never accept democracy as defined, practiced, and promoted by America. Islam offers a political system that is based on consultation and consensus that allows each individual's voice to be heard, but can never make a decision against the Will of Allah. The nature of this political process is such that it could easily be described as an Islamic democracy.
The President of the United States, George Bush, now says, "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists". This is a very scary thing to hear. He has made it very clear to anyone who is not 'with them' that America will harm them in every way that it can. What exactly does he mean when he says, "with us", does it mean as his words seem to suggest the unopposed acceptance of the rightness of their whole way of life? It was suggested a few days ago by one of the leading U.S. government officials that as part of this "war against evil" Muslims in Islamic nations not be allowed to criticize America in their educational institutions, their government functions, or even during their religious activities. We at Islamic-World are most definitely not with the terrorists, but as Muslims we cannot accept much of what is their 'American way of life'. Can we not support them in their attempt to rid the world of criminal violence and terrorism and at the same time not support in its entirety their way of life? We are, and we must remain, critical of all aspects of the American way of life that are in opposition to the Will of Allah.
This is a very critical moment in history for Muslims and for Islam. While President Bush is ever so careful at this point to claim that this war against terrorism is not a 'war' against Islam, we must wonder what the future really holds. While America is said to welcome Muslims in their practice of the religion of Islam, we wonder if this Islam we are being so welcomed to practice is truly the Islam given to us by Allah in the Qur'an and in the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him); or, will they allow us only to practice a weakened and secularized parody of true Islam, similar to that emasculated form of Christianity 'practiced' by the millions of nominal Christians in America and the rest of the western world that seems to blow with the ever changing winds of social fashion and human opinion?
We must remember it was not many years ago that a leader of the United States Congress stated in an address to the people of America, "Now with the fall of communism the only remaining threat to the American way of life is Islam". The leaders of America and leaders of nations subordinate to American interests often refer to "religious extremism" among Muslims. This 'religious extremism' they refer to sometimes includes such traditional Islamic practices as: Muslim sisters wearing the hijab (head scarf);Muslim brothers having beards, wearing turbans, or dressing in a tradition Islamic manner; praying regularly five times a day; praying too often at the masjid (mosque); or,believing that it is obligatory to live according to sharia (the Laws of Allah). The leaders of America and the western nations have made the term "fundamentalist Muslim" almost synonymous with the word terrorist. The term 'fundamentalist' as it refers to religion simply means, one who believes in the fundamental truths and doctrines of their religion. The term 'fundamentalist' is so alien to Muslims it would never be used by them. In Islam, if you are not a 'fundamentalist' Muslim you are not a Muslim.
Ultimately, America and the rest of the non-Muslim world must come to know and accept that all Muslims believe with good reason that they are responsible to Allah to help create a human society living fully and truly according to the Will of God, and most, if not all, Muslims will never cease in their efforts until that most sacred goal is achieved. This is the reality of Islamic faith and practice. Now is the time for Muslims across the world to stand tall and stand united, it is the moment for Muslims to be strong and to be proud, for we have in the Islam given to us by Allah in His Mercy the answer to every terrible problem presently threatening to destroy human society.
We believe that Muslims throughout the world should aid in the struggle to bring an end to criminal violence and terrorism of all kinds and in all places. The world's Muslims and Islamic nations should not, though, allow America to dictate the agenda in this proclaimed "war against evil". The followers of Islam are better placed to determine what constitutes a good, right, and just society than any other sector in today's world.No Muslim or Islamic nation should support, aid, or assist America to achieve any goal that is not consistent with Islam.
The non-Muslim world, as they decide how best to act against those they accuse of aiding, abetting, or carrying out acts of criminal violence or terrorism, must never ignore the fact that Islam does undeniably place high and binding obligation upon every Muslim to come to the aid of their innocent brothers and sisters anywhere in the world if they are attacked. If America and the world's other non-Muslim governments do not rightly carry out this battle against evil, Muslims and Islamic nations would no longer be able to legitimately offer their support and assistance. If it ever becomes clear that innocent Muslims are suffering or dying due to this "war against terrorism" being carried out in a wrong and unjust manner, all Muslims and Islamic nations should immediately withdraw their support from those responsible for bringing about this harm, and offer assistance to their brothers and sisters who have become the victims of wrongful violence.
We do not think sufficient evidence has so far been presented to feel sure that Osama bin Laden is responsible for the tragic deaths of thousands in America. We are open to the possibility that he may be responsible but we hope, of course, that these deaths do not fall upon the responsibility of any Muslim. We would not like to think followers of Islam would ever perpetrate such appalling acts. We believe that in the interests of justice, and to make this battle against terrorism most effective, that no action should be taken against any party until the weight of evidence is undeniable. No matter who is ultimately proven to have committed this atrocity we believe they should receive fitting punishment. We believe the perpetrators should be punished not because we think that their punishment will deter future acts of terrorism – but, for acts so vile as to cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people to go unpunished would indeed send a very dangerous message to others who might contemplate such actions in the future.
It is our hope and our prayer that this "war against terrorism" will not turn into a vicious quest for revenge which could so very quickly transform itself into the "clash of civilizations", Western secular materialism against Islam, which many believe is inevitable. At this critical point in human history the United States of America must make a most crucial choice. America in its grief can choose to exercise its unprecedented military and economic power in an orgy of vengeance, relentlessly crushing helpless 'enemies' both real and imagined, reveling in its role as the world's sole remaining superpower, and continue ignoring the genuine concern of millions around the world who believe its cruel self-serving policies have been largely responsible for the intolerable suffering of the world's poor and powerless, or America can choose to honour the memory of those who died so tragically by using its great power and influence to mark that moment of madness as the beginning of the creation of a future world of peace, love, and justice.
If America and the world's other governments in their completely justified, very necessary, and much overdue "war against terrorism" will also commit part of this long and difficult struggle to the creation of a good, right, and just society, if they do so in a way that follows the accepted standards of justice, and if they harm no innocent citizens of any nation in the process, then it should be expected they will receive the full and continued support of virtually every Muslim in the World.
(20 September, 2001)