(Talib means a student. Muallim means a teacher)
© Muhammad Haniff Hassan, October 2001
Talib :Why are we condemning the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon in America?
Muallim :Because it was a monstrous act that sacrificed the lives of innocent people. Islam absolutely prohibits attacks on civilians even in the event of war.
Talib: But America’s foreign policy is hostile towards Islam?
Muallim: Those policies were created by politicians and the government of America, not the man-in-the-street. Oppositions to politics should be dealt through political means.
Talib: Weren’t the politicians elected by the American people?
Muallim: In the two attacks, thousands became victims. How can we be certain that the victims were all hostile and were responsible for the policies that were implemented? How can we justify what happened to the non-Americans who were killed when they had nothing to do with American policies? How can we justify their death?
Talib: Millions of Muslims are killed in Iraq and Palestine because of America. They are civilians too but the American government and its people do not care at all!
Muallim: They are not our teachers and they are not the role model. We should only take the Messenger (pbuh) as our guide. Instead we should provide the best example to mankind, not the conversely.
Think about it – if the Serbian army raped Muslim women, should the Muslim army go out and rape Serbian women in turn? Absolutely not. So even if the American politicians are responsible for killing thousands in Iraq, it doesn’t equate justifying the death of civilians in America.
Talib: If that is so, then Usamah bin Laden and the Talebans are in the wrong. What they are doing is sinful! And yet the Talebans have their own scholars who should know all this.
Muallim: We should not judge a person or a group without evidence that will hold in a Court of Law. At the moment, the burden of proof falls on the Americans. If they accuse Usamah bin Laden as the perpetrator, then they will have to provide the evidence. The principle of law clearly states that one is innocent until proven guilty.
This evidence should be presented in a Court of Law and not to the media to ensure it’s authenticity. Judgement should be passed based on available evidence only. If these measures are not taken, then subsequent retaliations would mean an injustice.
We should be critical of the barbaric act and not the individual. We should not point fingers at any individual or a group until the legal process is completed.
Talib: Would you like to add anything else?
Muallim: If the attacks were indeed orchestrated by Muslims, then it will only increase the opponents to Islam. The attacks would have planted the seeds of hatred in the hearts of the thousands of family members and the public. If they were neutral or were never hostile to Islam before this, now they would have become our enemies. Unfortunately this hostility may be passed on to the next generation through the records of history.
Ultimately, all Muslims will be stigmatised by the incident. They will have to bear the burden of guilt and shame for the atrocity although they have not given their mandate for the course of action that was taken!