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Muqtedar Khan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Adrian College in
Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and
Islamic Political Thought, from Georgetown University in May 2000.
Dr. Khan's column has
appeared in The Daily Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Detroit
News, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Muslim Democrat,
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Laden is an Enemy of Islam
To War or not
to War in Ramadan
Develop an Intolerance for Intolerance
Foreign Policy a Barrier to Democracy in the Muslim World?
A Memo to
Memo to American Muslims
OSAMA BIN LADEN:
AN ENEMY OF ISLAM
no mischief on
Earth [Quran 7:56, 7:74)
with good sense must prohibit mischief on earth (Quran 11:116)
Bin Laden has become a
significant moral challenge to Muslims. His alleged association with the perpetrators of
9/11 attacks raises a major question about the relationship between Islam and terrorism.
If he is guilty then he incriminates the faith of Islam by using it as a motivation and
justification for his actions. If he is innocent, then why is he such a big hero?
If Bin Laden is
not guilty of the embassy bombings, of the attack on USS Cole and the attack on America
then why do some Muslims admire him? Bin
Laden has become a symbol of resistance and empowerment to a community deprived of freedom
and opportunities for self-determination. He is a hero to a community that has long got
used to living with an overwhelming sense of helplessness. He is a promise that even the
weak and the hopeless can strike back.
my understanding of why Bin Laden is a hero is correct then it means that his charisma is
dependent on Muslim acceptance that he is indeed responsible for the various attacks
against the US, regardless of the availability of evidence. He is a hero because some
Muslims believe that he indeed pulled of all those spectacular attacks against the
worlds sole superpower. His heroism and his popularity in the Muslim world is an
indictment of him as a terrorist and his supporters as supporters of terrorism.
Muslims, without any reservations, have condemned the attacks of Sept. 11th as
morally reprehensible and unjustifiable. Prominent member of the Ulema (like Sheikh
Qaradawi) have also established the unIslamic character of the 9/11 attacks. All Muslims agree that terrorism is unIslamic and
deplorable and the perpetrators must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Laden has denied any connections to the attacks and many Muslims believe that he is really
innocent and are critical of the American establishment for not providing conclusive
evidence against Bin Laden before launching a war against Afghanistan.
are non-Muslims, unsympathetic to the conditions that engender violence
supposed to interpret Muslim condemnation of the attacks and Muslim hero worship of
Binladen? How can Muslims condemn terrorism without also condemning terrorists?
US media and authorities resolve this dilemma of, Muslim condemnation of the attacks and
simultaneous support for Bin Laden, will determine the future relations not only between
the US and Muslim nations, but also between mainstream America and American Muslims.
long as Muslims hesitate to condemn Bin Laden they will be seen as supporters of
terrorism. This issue has also become a test of Muslim loyalties to America. When and if
the FBI and company do produce conclusive evidence against Bin Laden, Muslim condemnation
of the man will be meaningless. As of now many Muslims, including some leaders who have no
conclusive evidence of Bin Ladens innocence have chosen to err on the side of Bin
Laden and not America. This may make them popular in some pockets of the Muslim community,
but it also makes them suspect in American mainstream.
baffles the mind to watch American Muslim leaders waffle over condemning Bin Laden as a
terrorist who is misappropriating Islamic ideals and incriminating Islam in his campaign
of terror. This man has undermined decades of hard work by these very same leaders to make
Islam more acceptable in America. The shadow of Bin Laden now looms large on the decades
of efforts by these same leaders at building bridges with other faith-based communities. The issue of condemnation stands clearly between
American Muslims and the American government. Rather than perceiving American Muslims as a
national asset and source for diplomatic expertise that can be deployed in defense of
American interests, the establishment sees American Muslims as potential suspects, because
they are not confident about where Muslim sympathies lie.
The only reason why there is no explicit condemnation of Bin
Laden by major Muslim organizations, who have recently condemned American bombing of
Afghanistan, is perhaps their fear of losing support with the constituency that they seek
to serve. They fear that if they condemn him, even as a matter of self/public interest (maslaha
in Islamic law) they will be perceived as taking sides with America in this war between
America and Islam.
We Muslims have to realize two important things; Bin Laden and his tactics, no matter how
just his causes, are detrimental to Muslims as well as to the image of Islam. The present
suffering of the Afghan people is a direct consequence of their association and support
for Bin Laden. Secondly, we cannot hide behind the issue of evidence and hedge about
condemning those who murder innocent people, in direct violation of Islamic teachings.
we say that there is no evidence against Bin Laden, what we really mean is that there
isnt enough to meet the legal standards of American and western jurisprudence. Since when have Bin Laden and Taliban become
subscribers of the Bill of rights and amendment 14 (due process) of the US constitution?
Just take a look at the way in which Talibans courts have meted out justice in the
last five years. The video tapes in which Bin Laden says that he supports those who attack
the US, the fatwas declaring war on the US, his promise of more such attacks, alone
should be sufficient to hang him according to the legal practices of the Taliban, and for
that matter other Middle Eastern regimes which are notorious for their kangaroo courts.
does Bin Laden and not ordinary citizens of Afghanistan deserve the full protection of
civil liberties guaranteed by the US constitution? Bin Laden supports the Taliban and he
deserves only what they can offer. Hang him to the soccer goal post, where the Taliban
have hanged many in the recent past using their medieval techniques of law enforcement.
assume for the sake of argument that Bin Laden has nothing to do with 9/11. This man is still guilty of the following acts: He
has blasphemed Islam. He has used its sacred principles to incite murder and mayhem. He
has declared war on the US and called on all Muslims to murder Americans making Muslims
targets for retaliatory attacks. He has
exposed millions of Afghans to war, starvation and misery to save his own skin. If he were
a hero, he would have surrendered. Not
because he was guilty, but to save poor innocent Muslims from the ravages of war.
has attacked the moral fabric of Muslim life by glorifying terrorism. He is trying to
embroil the Muslim Ummah in a global war of death and destruction by calling the American
war on Bin Laden as a war on Islam. His use of Islamic values have made Muslims look like
terrorists and in most parts of the world people are associating Islam with violence and
Muslims with terror. This man does not have the interest of Islam or Muslims at heart. He
is an enemy of Islam and Muslims and should be treated as such.
It is time Muslim scholars and leaders fulfilled their Islamic duty (Quran
11:116) and condemned Bin Laden for what he is, and rescued not only Islam but also our
misguided youth from the clutches of this
has been published in theglobalist.com, Salon.com, and the Muslim Observer.