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Monday, July 11, 2005

Explosions bring sorrow, fear and soul-searching

Assalamu alaikum This comment is written by Maulana Sikander Ziad Hashmi from Canada. He writes for the Toronto Star. We as Muslims should be more vocal, condemning such actions - not to be apologetic or because of what people say or any other political reason but because we are Muslims. As Muslims, we stand for the Haqq (truth) should condemn these actions whether they be perpetrated against Muslims or not and whether they were perpetrated by Muslims or not (if that be the case).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said one of the worst sins a person can commit is "to murder a human being."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Hadith 10

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Explosions bring sorrow, fear and soul-searching
Muslims instantly blamed for attacks
Reporter worries about repercussions


Yesterday morning, I cried.

It was a regular morning as I rolled out of bed and headed for my laptop.

The MSN nicknames of a couple of friends in England gave the first signs of trouble.

"London attacked," read one. Another simply read, "uh-oh."

As I began realizing what happened, I felt the breaking-news adrenaline rush journalists often feel — then the sorrow, anger, frustration and uncertainty swept over.

Sorrow that commuters, just like myself, were targeted for no fault of their own.

Sorrow that innocent people, going about their daily business, are made to pay for the decisions of their leaders.

Sorrow and frustration over events that, within only a couple of hours, have spilled cold water over years of hard work and progress by the Muslim community — my community — following 9/11, given that there's talk (as always, it seems) that it might have something to do with some Islamic group.

Frustration over the possibility of having misguided actions by some tainting an entire religion and its followers.

Frustration over why some people just don't get it.

Frustration in wondering about how much more we have to do to get the message out.

Uncertainty. Are my friends in London okay? Is it safe for me to take the subway this morning?

Will there be attacks during our morning rush hour? After all, even though we're not in Iraq, we do have troops in Afghanistan, which might be enough reason for some to put us on their radar.

It must be horrible walking through a dark tunnel filled with smoke.

Will I be harassed? I wonder what people will think when they see me with my beard and head cap. Plus, I'm brown.

My bag looks heavy. I hope they don't think there's a bomb in there. I wish I could have a button that says, "This bag only contains papers and my lunch."

The TTC is reportedly beefing up security on the subway. Will I be stopped?

I might be. I'll be nice and tell them that I'm a reporter for the Toronto Star. I'll volunteer to open my bag and show my lunch.

Shall I quietly recite the Qur'an from memory as I often do on my way to work? People might think I'm reciting a prayer before I blow myself up.

What's going to happen to us if an attack were to take place here? Will I have to flee my country?

In a moment of reflection, I did some soul-searching.

Is there any way that an attack like this can be justified?

True, there is a lot of anger. The U.S. and the U.K. are responsible for civilian deaths and lots of hurt in Afghanistan and Iraq, and those responsible for the attacks may argue that they were avenging the thousands of innocent deaths in those countries. Not to mention all the other injustices.

But you can't just kill random, innocent people to balance the books. Two injustices can never equal justice.

The attackers might try to justify the deaths of innocents as collateral damage, as the U.S. often does. But that begs the question: Who was the target, then?

None other than innocent commuters because, after all, these attacks were on public transit, which isn't exactly a military or bureaucratic weapon. Nor are public transit users an army working against Muslims.

Perhaps they're hoping to get a public backlash, similar to the one after the Madrid bombings in March 2004. Or maybe they're punishing the British people for re-electing Tony Blair as their prime minister.

In either case, they're not helping their cause by attacking many of the innocent Britons who are supporters of the innocent in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The subway ride went fine. No one gave me weird looks. I arrived at work safely.

My heart still hurts. Sorrow, anger, frustration, uncertainty still squat heavily on my mind.

Their burden shows with the occasional teardrop.

Yes, bearded guys do cry sometimes.


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