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Attack on America – An Islamic Perspective


Attack on America – An Islamic Perspective
Compiled by Federation of Students Islamic Societies (FOSIS) UK

1. Introduction

God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Whoever slays a soul, unless it be for murder or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew the whole mankind; and whoever saves a life, it is as though he saved the life of the whole mankind”
Quran 5:32

‘Despite our strong oppositions to the American policy of unconditional military, political and economic support for Israel, our hearts bleed as a result of the human suffering caused by the attacks on the World Trade Centre and other facilities in the US (on 21 September). We Arab Muslims are the most affected by the grave consequences of aggression on innocent Palestinians at the hands of Israelis who raze Palestinian homes to the ground, set fire to their crops, murder them in cold blooded, and orphan their children.’ – Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Doha, Qatar)

‘The attack was wrong. Suicide is wrong. Attacking civilians is wrong. Provoking a war is wrong.’ – Shabir Ally (Toronto, Canada)

2. What has been happening to Muslims since?

‘In the UK, Sisters have had their hijabs pulled, an Afghan taxi driver was paralysed from the neck down and mosques have been firebombed. Similar incidents have been reported in Europe, US and Australia.’ – FOSIS (UK)

Muslim mosques and schools have come under attack prompting some schools to send their pupils home and close their doors until further notice. Muslims in America have been advised to lock themselves in lest they are attacked as they walked the streets. The situation is less serious in Europe though several incidents of abuse and attack have been reported in the U.K. Muslim women in particular, conspicuous by their headdresses and vulnerable by their feminism, have been easy targets. Dr. Azzam Tamimi (London, UK).

‘A mosque in our area was vandalized. They left behind some racist graffiti… We had two occasions where men came by shouting slurs and some very derogatory terms. Numerous Islamic organizations in the DC area received threatening mail and telephone calls’ – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki (Washington DC, USA)

‘A couple of mosques were burnt, a hindu temple was burnt (perhaps because it was thought to be an Islamic site), another mosque suffered some broken windows. Some persons were beaten; one youth was hospitalized as a result. There was a lot of ostracism and ugly stares. Muslims started to feel like total strangers among their friends, co-workers and classmates.’ – Shabir Ally (Toronto, Canada)

‘A brother has been shot in Detroit, a mosque came under siege in Chicago, and many racial threats have been made against Muslims.’ – Imam Ramee Muhammad (Chicago, USA)

3. Was a Muslim really behind it?

‘In all, it is estimated that over 1,000 Muslims lives have been lost in the World Trade Centre disaster… it is not correct to blame Muslims, while no established facts have been brought to light. People are innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof lies on the accuser… It seems illogical that Bin Laden, given his reclusive position and the amount of attention paid to him by surveillance experts, would be in a position to carry out such a sophisticated and coordinated attack by remote control. The attack was, no doubt, a very professional operation. It is highly unlikely that bin Laden would have the necessary resources, material or otherwise to do this. Most of bin Laden’s millions have been frozen in Saudi Arabia, and he is reported to be left with only a very limited amount of financial resources.’ – Prof Khurshid Ahmad (Pakistan)

‘My cousin was the first person to set up an Islamic Society in that building (WTC) with a prayer hall and there were around two thousand Muslims working there. Did Muslims do it? I do not think so. The profiles of the suspects are in total contrast to the character of the followers of Bin Ladin. They drank alcohol and paid lap dancers to dance and had girl friends. This does not sound like your average Mujahid.’ – Shaikh Riyad Nadwi (Oxford, UK)

‘What has occurred is a heinous crime. A Muslim can have nothing to do with this’ – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki

‘Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?’ – Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick (Cape town, South Africa)

‘It is propaganda in the media to get public approval to concentrate on, even assassinate, Muslims’ – Imam Ramee Muhammad (Chicago, USA)

4. So who else could it be?

‘It’s very confusing… We have to consider the timing of this incident. Recently, we had the Durban conference and also the US is experiencing a recession’ – Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick (Cape town, South Africa)

‘Who stands to gain most from this? Look at the weakness of the dollar and the crippling job market, then look at history and see what has happened as a result of war to the economy.’ – Imam Ramee Muhammad (Chicago, USA)

‘One cannot rule out the involvement of local terrorist groups. McVeigh was not operating alone and he admitted that he wanted to kill the largest number of people as possible... One must ask who benefits from these incidents? Certainly not the Arabs or Afghanistan! Israel does, because it detracts the world’s attention from the accusations levelled against it in the UN conference in Durban just a few days prior… Only facts and not rhetoric can convince the world as to who is responsible for the devastation of 11th September 2001’ – Prof Khurshid Ahmad (Pakistan)

5. Is the armed response against Afghanistan justified?

God Almighty says in Holy Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Be upright for God, bearers of witness with justice, and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act justly; act equitably, that is nearer to piety ” Quran 5:8

‘We would warn against holding a whole nation accountable for a crime carried out by a limited number of people or to characterize a certain religion as a faith giving support to violence and terrorism… When the Oklahoma incident was carried out by a Christian American driven by personal interests, Christianity and the Christian world were not accused of the attack because a Christian masterminded it.’ – Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Doha, Qatar)

‘Retaliation and revenge will only lead to an escalation of violence… A bombardment of a suspected country will only fuel more anger and violence, as it would be unjust and criminal, resulting in loss of innocent life and property.’ – Prof Khurshid Ahmad (Pakistan)

‘We do not believe that bombing Afghanistan is the answer…killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians just because they live in a country that apparently aids terrorism is hardly right, even if, according to opinion polls, the majority of Americans think it is.’ – Cambridge University Islamic Society

6. What else is important to mention?

‘Muslims in general will be seen as secret if not public, supporters of Bin Ladin and therefore fair game for all to attack.’ – Shaikh Riyad Nadwi (Oxford, UK)

‘At the moment the US is acting as the accuser, judge, prosecutor and executioner. This is not acceptable in any legal system… The US currently spends around $30 billion on the CIA and around $20 billion on the FBI… The real failure is that such huge amounts of money have been spent and yet nothing could be done to prevent this attack. Can such a catastrophic intelligence failure be covered by scapegoats? How could 4 aeroplanes be hijacked from such leading airports? Why was the movement of the planes not tracked, especially when they changed course? Given the delay of some 18 minutes between the first two attacks and some 30 minutes between the second and third, why was nothing done by the military? The fact is that a system propped up by billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, and run by the most sophisticated nation in the world, failed’ – Prof Khurshid Ahmad (Pakistan)

‘Whilst the world condemned what took place last Tuesday, and we joined them in this condemnation, we ask where was the condemnation when well over half a million children died in Iraq as a result of incredibly brutal sanctions or from diseases arising from the depleted uranium deposited in that country a decade ago? Or when thousands of Palestinians have been butchered for defending their own villages? Or when millions die in Africa thanks to an oppressive global economic system? The fact that we don't see the families of the victims of these atrocities telling us on television how they received messages from their loved ones on mobile phones just before they died, doesn't make their deaths any less real or any less horrendous. We don't believe lives of one nationality are automatically more sacred than those of another. God has made life sacred, and we condemn all innocent killings. We pray so that God may alleviate suffering all over the world.’ – Cambridge University Islamic Society

‘Read the Qur'an 2:155-156. We need to understand the Qur’anic statements about war within the situational context of the later part of the prophet's career when avoidance of war was not possible and peaceful preaching was no longer a viable option without clearing the way for it by armed resistance. Our way is not violence but peace.’ – Shabir Ally (Toronto, Canada)

‘President Bush has showed the Muslim American community some good gestures. He specifically warned the people from committing any hate crimes against their fellow Muslim citizens, and he visited a Mosque. But then he also said in his speech on Sep 16 we're beginning a crusade! Now what is that supposed to mean?!’ – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki (Washington DC, USA)

‘We feel that America should look at its foreign policy… Perhaps a more ethical involvement in global issues would be less likely to generate such hatred… America's policies have directly led to far more deaths worldwide. – Cambridge University Islamic Society

7. What steps should Muslims take?

“And obey God Almighty and His Messenger; and do not dispute (among yourselves), otherwise you will fail and your power will depart; and be patient and preserving: For God Almighty is with those Who patiently persevere” Quran 8:46

‘It’s a good opportunity to be active as opposed to reactive – we should talk openly about human rights and justice. Bombing a Muslim country without evidence is hypocrisy and injustice. There is definitely a mask hiding the perpetrators – but we can guess who they really are’ – Sheikh Haytham Tamim (London, UK)

‘God Almighty is telling the world about security. Imagine the biggest country in the world, biggest city in that country and the biggest buildings in that city now toppled. The whole city has come to a standstill. Why? Because everyone is worried about security, but we know security comes from God… We’ve seen a surge of religious activity and we took 3 Shahadahs on the jumu’ah following the disaster… Now is the time to represent Islam – it’s a test of Iman: attend the masjid, involve police, press politicians, gather Imams and discuss strategies.’ – Imam Siraj Wahhaj (New York, USA)

‘It is imperative that we Muslims now look at the bigger picture than our teacher, our jamaat, maddhab, or small things of division, and utilise our money to educate the masses, and to present to the world a true picture of Islam and Muslims even if in war.’ – Imam Ramee Muhammad (Chicago, USA)

‘Muslims need to have a closer relationship with God – increased taqwa – and they need to speak out. We can’t recede. We must stand up for the truth.’ – Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick (Cape Town, South Africa)

‘Imagine how the Muslims must have felt returning from the battle of Uhud defeated to learn that the biggest army Arabia has ever seen was about to march onto Medina. Imagine their frustration when they learnt that traitors were conspiring from inside. What did the Prophet (saws) do? He put his trust in God. So where should we put our trust?’ – Shaikh Riyadh ul Haq (Birmingham, UK)

‘Muslims in the West should NOT attempt to justify or explain this tragedy in any way. Try not to travel alone or late at night. Do not respond to verbal attacks. Place fire alarms in porches or under letterboxes. Purchase fire extinguishers. Keep in contact with each other and pray that God help and protect the Muslims in the days ahead.’ – Shaikh Riyad Nadwi

‘Muslims are victims. They are the oppressed and the unfairly accused ones. Our current situation is similar to that of Muslims in the Meccan period where Muslims were victimised and oppressed. Lies, accusations and media propaganda only serve to spread Islam provided the Muslims are sincere, united, patient and committed to inviting others to their honourable religion. So the keys of success and failure are in our hands!’ - FOSIS (UK)

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