Tikkun Magazine, March/April 1995
A Muslim Voice Against Terrorism
By Plemon T. El-Amin
Muslim voices against terrorism have not been silent, but it is the trend, perhaps even the policy of major media, to downplay the voice of reason, the voice of faith, and the voice of principle, in favor of the shouts of the extreme, the wails of the grief-stricken, and the threats of the treacherous. The voices of peace, justice, mercy, and tolerance are not difficult to find among Muslims and Islamic media, who consistently denounce acts of terrorism and reject them as illegitimate and unacceptable Islamic strategies or methods.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed, internationally and nationally recognized leader of the largest identifiable Muslim-American community, explained recently that:
Islam insists that the best human behavior be demonstrated even when engaging an enemy in war, Our Prophet Muhammed (prayers and peace be on him) ordered that civilians not be made the victims of war. He (the Prophet) cautioned the Muslims to take care not to attack those who were not bearing arms against them. Islam and the Prophet's life require of us that we uphold justice and be a peace-seeking people.
Muslims are guided and obligated by the Qur'an, which reveals to us that we must not wage war for self-interest, material gain, or mere retaliation. Muslims are to fight or wage war only when someone hinders them from the worship and work of God. And when we fight, we must reject barbaric methods of warfare and doing any harm to women, children, the elderly, the sick or wounded, and even to animals or vegetation.
Muslims are commanded by God to do justice to all, irrespective of whether they are friend or enemy, under all circumstances. God says in the Qur'an, "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor." (4:135) "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for God as witnesses to fair-dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. And be regardful of God, for God is well-acquainted with all that you do." (5:9)
The definition of jihad is not Holy War, nor can it be used to justify terrorism. Imam W. Deen Mohammed has stated that "Jihad means struggle in everything that God has established for Muslims to do. The emphasis on jihad in the Qur'an and in the life of Prophet Muhammed was not for the purpose of conquering lands or overthrowing nations, it was for the purpose of liberating the higher instincts, the higher aspirations in man."
Cowardly acts of terrorism upon innocent men, women, and children is not a doorway to Heaven, but a gateway to Hell. Blind aggression and retaliation are sins, and as Muslims we reject these practices by ourselves, our kin, our foes, the rich, or the poor. Past and recent acts of terrorism that victimize innocent human beings, such as the World Trade Center bombing, the mosque assault by Baruch Goldstein, and the recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv are deplored by our community and must be condemned by all God-conscious and civilized communities, both Muslim and others. We must all stand up for peace and toleration. Among both the Palestinians and the Israelis are those guilty and responsible for the many women and children left maimed and dead. Each side has produced both perpetrators of violence and victims of injustice.
In Islam, one injustice, or even many, does not justify another. Man's law and rule has failed both peoples. It is time to embrace the law and rule of God, especially since both people identify themselves as people who hold the rule of God above the law of man.
The voice of the Muslim is not mute. Our voice is that of the Qur'an, and the life of the Prophet Muhammed. Both ring with clarity that peace is to be loved and sought, and terrorism is to be hated and rejected.
Imam Plemon Tauheed El-Amin is the resident imam of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam. He is the convenor for the consultative body of Muslim Americans and the chairperson for the Muslim American Convention. He assists Imam Warith Deen Mohammed.
We note with appreciation the statement condemning terrorism by Imam Plemon T. El-Amin, chairperson for the Muslim-American Convention and assistant to Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, on the opposite page. While Louis Farrakhan tends to be portrayed in the media as the dominant voice of Islam in the United States, Warith Deen Mohammed represents a significantly larger following. This statement about Islam should be read by all those who claim that they never hear Islamic leaders speaking out against Hamas violence.
Plemon, El-Amin. 1995. A Muslim Voice Against Terrorism. Tikkun 10(2): 8.