Terror came to London yesterday as a serving British soldier was attacked and killed on the street by two men.
Michael Adebolajo and another man whose name as not yet been released, targeted and killed a soldier reportedly because of their frustrations with British foreign policy and the presence of British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They did not try and run or escape, but rather encouraged passersby to film them, take pictures of them covered in blood standing over their victim, and listen to their political rants.
The Muslim Council of Britain released a statement saying that this was a "truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly." This statement is where I take issue. I live in a Muslim country, I've travelled throughout Muslim countries, and I am surrounded by Muslims on a daily basis. Muslims are my co-workers, supervisors, students, friends, and service providers. I'm well aware that these attacks have no basis in Islam, and that these are not the behaviors of the average Muslim, but what I don't understand is why softball statements like the one above are the usual response from Muslim groups. "We condemn this unreservedly"? That's hardly a scathing indictment. How about a statement with a little more meat to it — something like, "This truly barbaric attack and others like it, disgrace the entire Islamic faith, and harm the world. By killing this man, it is as if you have killed the entire world. You and your kind are not Muslims and will find no mercy from God or Muslims"?
Extremism is extremism, and Muslims are not the only people that kill or use terror to further their political or religious agendas. However, it does seem that there are a disproportionate number of attacks that are perpetrated by "radicalized Muslims" with a political message. My question remains, why not drop the "Muslim" and just say "terrorist"? If the Muslim community abandoned terrorists and murderers and condemned them by shunning them completely, I and many others would be a little more supportive. Otherwise, Islam is allowing itself to be defined by the loudest, craziest, most extreme groups and people in the world.