Monday, August 2, 2010

Uganda: There is Absolutely Nothing Islamic About Al Shabaab

The 7/11 bombings in Kampala have generated a huge debate in the media and social networking sites, with reference to Islam and terrorism. People are asking whether Islam teaches terrorism or not. Of course, Islam does not teach terrorism nor does it support the killing of innocent people.
I believe it's healthy to have debates of this nature, because they will help educate both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, about Islam as a religion and its stand on terrorism. Unfortunately, some people engaging in these debates are largely informed by prejudice which is not good for learning, or even co-existence.

I have also sadly learnt that our local media, think tanks, and government have continuously used the word "Islamists" whenever they refer to the Harakat al Shabaab Mujahedeen fighters. It's wrong to continue referring to al Shabaab as "Islamist" fighters because what they are doing is unacceptable by the teachings of the Islamic faith.

And if you looked up in the English dictionary, the term "Islamist" refers to those people who adhere to strict Islamic teachings. Islam teaches us NOT to kill or even inflict harm on another human being, yet al Shabaab does the opposite. Let's look at the formal name of al Shabaab, which is Harakat al Shabaab Mujahedeen, meaning Movement of Warrior Youth (MWY). There is nothing Islamic about this name. In my opinion, al Shabaab is a political movement trying to attain its goal by tarnishing the good name and image of Islam.

As Muslims, we strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in Kampala, which caused the death and injury of several people. We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families, relatives and friends of the victims. Ugandans should know there is no room for terrorism in Islam. Islam totally forbids all forms of terrorism and aims at bringing peace, unity and love to humanity.

Terrorism is an old practice, which should not be linked to any religion or ethnicity, because terrorism has been carried out in different parts of the world by different groups for a number of reasons. We have heard of a communist organisation, or even a fascist group, assuming responsibility for conducting a terrorist act. Many extreme political movements in the world today, make their voice heard the wrong way by using terror. At times they may conduct these ruthless activities so that their demands can be met. It's also totally wrong to link Islam or tribes with terrorism. Linking an entire religion or tribe to terrorism could be viewed as a stereotype.

In Uganda , Muslims and Christians have co-existed for a very long time. Some have even intermarried so I pray no one breaks this bond. Likewise, Somalis have lived in this country for a very long time without causing any trouble. So let's not isolate Muslims and Somalis. Islam totally condemns all forms of terrorism or violence against humanity.

Islam, as a divine religion, adovates peace and tolerance. According to the holy Koran, it is a great sin to kill an innocent soul, and whoever does so will suffer great torment in the hereafter. I pray the Almighty God heals those nursing both physical and psychological wounds.

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