No, not that Mohamed of Mecca who walked the earth 14 centuries ago, and for depicting his image people are getting killed in France, and ambassadors and embassies are getting attacked and burned all over the world. No, I’m talking about me, Mohamed Abubakr, the Muslim misfit from Sudan. Those of you who know me know that criticism of religion, especially my own, and religious figures and clerics are my guilty pleasure. That, and the condemnation of violent and non-violent acts committed by religious people in the name of God. This is part of the package-deal of being a liberal human rights activist and a religious reform advocate. Activists as a group are known for being extra vocal with condemnations of everything that happens anywhere in the world. In other words, we love ‘bitchin’! It’s a side effect of having a bleeding, liberal heart. But this is a good kind of side effect, such as the buzz experienced as a side effect of cannabis-based medicine consumption, so I’m not complaining.
I have received many well-intended messages from non-Muslim friends and contacts, wondering why I didn’t condemn the Charlie Hebdo attacks and ISIS burning the Jordanian pilot, and some politely demanded that I do condemn them, being a moderate Muslim. Because, you know, it’s my job as a moderate Muslim. After reading these messages, for the first time ever, I noticed “As a Muslim I condemn …” posts by my Muslim friends, and the humiliation and shame of the tone in which the posts are written. There’s no doubt that they are doing it because it’s their job to do so as moderate Muslims, and if they don’t, they are ISIS-supporting, condoners of beheadings, wife (WIFE)abusing terrorists.
This annoyed me very much, and this is the reason why I’m writing this blog post. From this platform, I want to send two messages. The first to all of those who contacted me lately asking for condemnation, and to all of those who come on FOX wondering, “Where are the Muslim condemnations?”:
I, Mohamed Abubakr, unlike the prophet Mohamed, am not responsible for other Muslims anywhere in the world. I did not bring the religion to mankind, I did not co-author the Quran, and I am not responsible for how lunatics interpret it. Being Muslim does not put any special responsibility on me to be any more of a condemner than you as a non-Muslim, of random Muslim terrorism in France, Syria or anywhere else in the world. That’s not in my job description as a Muslim. I’m not the Muslims’ keeper.
My second message is for the 1.6 billion “moderate Muslims”:
While yes, you are not obligated to post those condemnations on social media to prove your moderation, and random terrorists are not the representation of you as a peaceful majority, it is a lie to say that Islamic terrorism all over the world has nothing to do with Islam. That’s cowardly of you, and makes you part of the problem. What happened in Paris has everything to do with Islam. ISIS & and Boko Haram have everything to do with Islam. Bin Laden and others have everything to do with Islam.
Islam is not just a book and sayings of Mohamed. It is many schools of thought, it is Mullah’s and Imams, it is the preacher in your local Mosque, and the “Sharia” by which your state is governed. Quoting verses from the Quran that condemn killing does not magically make the verses that condone killings and violence disappear. The Hadiths (sayings attributed to Mohamed) that ISIS and others rely on for justification of killing evaporate, or the Imams’ & Mullah’s incitement of hatred and violence get ignored by impressionable youth. It doesn’t work that way, and if you believe it does then you need to smell the human barbecue taking place in Syria, perhaps it will slap you back to reality.
In virtually all Muslim states, there’s no such thing as Moderate Islam, there are only moderate Muslims. Especially in MENA, that moderate Islam thing is a fairytale told by those in denial trying to appease the humans within themselves. What we have is a book full of all kinds of violence, a collection of sayings, some of which are just plain nasty, and preachers, Imams and Mullah’s who mostly are genuinely terrible human beings with big bushy beards. It’s a recipe for disaster, and while yes, the majority turned out fine and moderate, it’s inevitable that the likes of Bin Laden, Abubakr Al-Baghdady and others will surface, and their militias will form & start beheading “infidels”, stoning women and burning people alive.
It’s about time that we acknowledge that Islamic terrorism is not the disease; it’s merely a symptom, one of many that signify a very fatal disease – radical Islam. The symptoms include, but are not limited to, our off-the-charts records of human rights abuse, violence against women, violation of minorities’ rights, religious bigotry, our severe social cleavages, everlasting conflicts, racism, corruption, and decades-lasting dictatorships .
I salute Muslims who condemn terrorism on social media and elsewhere, especially those who are doing it not to prove anything, and only doing it to express disgust with terrorists and terrorism. But condemnations will not make a very significant difference on the bigger picture. To cut terrorism at the source, we need to do a lot more than heart-felt posts on Facebook & twitter condemning random acts of terrorism. To achieve the terrorism-free Islam goal, we need to bring to the front-lines a true “Moderate Islam”, which truly reflects the thoughts of moderate Muslims; I mean we need to reform those little pieces that together form Islam. We need new schools of thought, a modern one that understand the needs of the life in the 21st century, we need to stop preachers and Mullahs from poisoning the minds of youth, and lock them up in mental institutions or imprison them for inciting violence. We need to be honest with ourselves about what insults our humanity in our holy book and Hadiths, and explicitly reject it, so that young men and women in the future know it’s OK to say “screw you” to any bearded freak trying to brainwash them using these verses and Hadiths to join Jihadi militias . That’s the only way anything will ever change.
I’m gonna close this article with the words of a Muslim thinker and reform advocate, for whom I have the utmost respect, Ismail Bey: “I chose many years ago to follow Islam as a faith, and I do see within it many excellent concepts. But in order to be a fitting, useful and applicable faith; we must transcend the limits imposed by clerical Islam. This faith came about to shatter dogma and clergies, yet has become the epitome of dogmas and clergies. Something is wrong. I don’t know if it is possible to rescue the masses from this enslavement of the soul. It is so far gone. But if people can be persuaded to understand that Islam is between the Creator and the created, nothing more, then maybe, just maybe, there can be that change”.