Thursday, November 24, 2005

Murder and Shame in the Arab World

Another day, another few hundred unreported deaths in Iraq The top story on BBC East today Middle was the bomb that went off near a hospital in a town called Mahmudiya, This bomb killed 30 but this is only one of many. Iraq has had unprecedented carnage in the last few months perpetrated by both the butchers of the “Coalition” forces and by the butchers of Al Qaeda in Iraq. No place is sacrosanct, no event, no home, no where. A bomb was set off in a funeral procession, another near a school. Just because we don’t hear about it on CNN or Al Jazeera or whatever station du jour doesn’t mean it is not happening.

When it comes to the “Coalition” of the damned, we have no choice and worse yet no voice however, when it comes to the butchers of Al Qaeda in Iraq, we do have a choice and we most certainly do have a voice. It is absolutely shameful that we as Muslims have been largely quiet about the carnage being sown by these murderers. In fact, until the suicide bombings in Jordan, most Arab papers were muted in their criticism of Al Zarqawi and his band of merry murderers. Why is this acceptable? Why has most of the Arab world turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the suffering of those in Iraq.

As a Muslim, I have never identified myself by sect. I have never ever differentiated between what is a Sunni Muslim and a Shiite Muslim. I was raised in a household where Muslims were Muslims and nothing else. As someone who was raised like that, I cannot fathom how we as a group who likes to identify itself by religion can keep quiet. How can we as a group ever talk about the beauty of Islam if we are allowing our fellow Muslims to be butchered.

In Iraq right now, most of the casualties fall under the banner of the Shiite portion of the population. Zarqawi has made no bones about the fact that he targets only Shiites and never if he can help it Sunnis and yet there is this ring of continued silence about him. Only when he attacked Jordan (where he had previously enjoyed a good 57% approval rating) did the Sunni Muslim community finally sit up and take notice.

That gentle readers is where our shame comes in. We have talked about the murders, we have talked them to death. The Arab League has resolutioned the issue to death but still they continue. Where is the moral outrage? Where are all the voices raised in protest? Why did it take a suicide bombing in pre-dominantly Sunni Jordan to provoke protests? Those of us who have been speaking out against Bin Laden, Zarqawi et al from the beginning have nothing to be ashamed of. Those of us who have tacitly agreed with their tactics or just shrugged them off with nary a protest have everything to be ashamed of. Ask yourself which group you belong to and if you belong to the latter, you need to rethink your allegiances.

--Photo from


Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Hi, Amal!

You are a fine writer! I am endlessly amazed at how many articulate and well thought out writers there are out there in the world. I want to "guest blog" your latest piece if you wish. Just visit my blog and say yes or email me, OK?

Thanks for alerting me about it.

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Wise words, which are unfortunately likely to fall on deaf ears. I find it admirable that you will speak up for Muslims as a whole and that you make a stand. Bravo.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice blog!

8:56 AM  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Amal, you're right, of course. It's amazing how much havoc a small number of people can cause. The loss of innocent life in a conflict is always agonizing, and it's unforgivable when innocents are the actual targets. No one should support that kind of atrocity, regardless of the cause or the perpetrators.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Andy Dabydeen said...

I grew up in the small, poor Guyana, that has seen relative peace since gaining independece from the British. Yes, there has been skirmishes by from the usual idiots -- but nothing compared to the violence seen in the name of religion elsewhere in the world. Guyana's population is roughly divided into three equal parts: Hindus, Muslims and Christians. And you know what? It was great. I remember as a child, celebrating all the holidays by the different religions. I remember an older boy, who was in his late teens, that sort of looked out for me. We spent quite a lot of time together -- him playing older brother. It was great growing up with him. He was a Muslim. And I never gave it any thought. I remember great friends of my family, who were Muslim -- and it didn't cause a second thought.

Now today, I personally know a scattering of Muslims -- my friends -- and it drives me crazy when I encounter fear in a non-Muslim in reference to Muslims. Every time a bomb is exploded in the name of Allah; every time people are murdered in the name of Islam, and Muslims do nothing, say nothing about it, they share the guilt of the murderers. If you're a Muslim and you don't believe in the killing, take back your religion. Reveal the butchers for what they are -- killers without a god.

Sorry ... I ranted.

And I'm aware that my memories are those of a child. I'd rather remember that way. It's happier. ;-)

(Thanks for visiting my place of fulltime rants. ;-)

11:33 PM  
Blogger squarestpeg said...

Amal, you've replied to my comments (in the Pigeon's blog as well as the Kashmiri Nomad's) concerning the apparent silence of so many Muslims in the face of outrageous violence perpetrated in the name of Allah by groups who misuse the teachings of the Quran. And truly, I was encouraged by what you repeatedly insisted: that there was far more resistance by mainstream Muslims to the hijacking of Islam by extremists than was obvious, even to those of us who read extensively in primary source material and the foreign press. I hoped--and hope--you are correct that the brains and determination of the righteous group will triumph against over those who commit conscienceless violence.

Now that I've finally taken the time to read your blog (not just your comments) I read this entry in which you seem to echo my original concern:

It is absolutely shameful that we as Muslims have been largely quiet about the carnage being sown by these murderers. In fact, until the suicide bombings in Jordan, most Arab papers were muted in their criticism of Al Zarqawi and his band of merry murderers. Why is this acceptable? Why has most of the Arab world turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the suffering of those in Iraq.

So I feel I have to ask you: on what do you base your optimism that right will ultimately triumph? What will it take to bring the larger group of faithful, peaceful Muslims to the place you are, in outspoken opposition to those who pervert the teachings you all love and honor?

This is a serious question; a sincere and thoughtful one. I try to be intellectually honest in all things, no matter what that means, no matter how offensive my views may be to some who read them. I say what I think based on what I know, and admit I'm wrong only when (if) new, convincing evidence comes my way. Because your perspective is different from most of the people I know (even those who are Muslims since my Muslim friends are musicians-and also Palestinian and Egyptian, not Lebanese) and I'm sure you are privy to information that I am not, I think you could shed good light on things I should factor into my thinking. Nothing would make me happier than to have to change my outlook on this subject; to have a reason to be less pessimistic. If you have a moment to address this issue I would be very grateful.

If you would prefer not to reply in this forum, you can find me on livejournal, username squarestpeg or by email at, likewise username squarestpeg.

If you don't choose to respond directly, I will continue to enjoy your lucid and logical writings here and elsewhere.

11:47 AM  
Blogger squarestpeg said...

Just wondering what you thought of this:

8:29 AM  

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