I’m glad that the Time Square Bomber failed and was sentenced today. But I’m a little scared.
He clearly admitted his guilt in the plot to kill civilians. One can’t claim some conspiracy theory, he doesn’t claim he was framed, instead during his sentencing he issued a threat:
“Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun,” 31-year-old Faisal Shahzad told a federal judge. “Consider me the first droplet of the blood that will follow.”
Faisal Shahzad believes that killing civilians is self-defense. He, and other Muslims who target unarmed civilians in order to exact revenge for America’s military occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, support of Israel, and dictatorships in South Asia and the MIddle East, have some ideological underpinning that must be addressed. Sadly, our scholars just ignored this issue for so many years, sticking their heads in the sand. The truth is, we need to wake up and face the elephant in the room. We don’t have just one elephant, we got a few. Well, enough that we have a circus show going or maybe even a zoo.
I remember in the 90s, suicide bombings were fairly rare. In fact, many people then saw terrorism as something that came out of the nationalist cause in Palestine. Muslims I knew disowned terrorism, “It has nothing to do with Islam.” Now, we have seen Muslims use terrorism, targeting civilians, in the Philippines, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia, etc. The reality is that it has to do with Islam, somebody’s interpretation of Islam. Somebody came up with a novel idea that it was okay to target civilians.
Our scholars need to face this stuff head on. I don’t think every Muslim in America is responsible, but the scholars who refused to deal with dangerous ideologies do have to bear some responsibility. Now, certain ideas spread like poison branches throughout the globe. Sadly, it is the Islamophobes that are pointing it out, all the while conflating Islam with identity movements. They seized the opportunity because we failed to take stock. Muslims who take the Middle Way, the Path of Moderation, now must face a two-front battle. Without being reactionary or self-loathing, we need to address the ideological roots of extremism. We have to have courage because we may be shouted down, threatened, or ostracized for not sounding sympathetic to this cause or that cause. We may be despised by the Right because we won’t give up our Muslimness. As a Muslim, I stick to my principles and condemn all forms of injustice, whether it is from our own or not. And the terror that Shahzad is trying to strike in our hearts is indeed a great injustice.