MURDER IN GOD’S NAME: the God of man OR the man of God

“As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion – in the name of God – the world will never know a true and lasting peace” – Hillary Clinton

“Religion is like chemotherapy, it may solve one problem, but it can cause a million more” – John Bledsoe

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” – Voltaire

 

The siege is over. The two brothers and their accomplice have been shot and killed. Cherif Kouachi, 32 and Said Kouachi, 34 held one hostage in the small town outside Paris and were killed following a long standoff with police.

A couple of days earlier, they had shot and killed twelve people at their place of work. And with each shot came the exclamation “Allahu Akbar”. Police killed the two brothers who allegedly mounted Wednesday’s shocking assault that killed twelve people and set off the biggest manhunt in modern French history. A couple of minutes drive away, SWAT teams killed another gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who had holed up all afternoon in a kosher supermarket in a city suburb with several hostages. The siege left five dead in total, but the gunman’s alleged co-conspirator remained on the run Friday night, having escaped as police stormed the store. It appears the Charlie Hebdo attack may have been plotted by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. The AQAP member claimed the group had directed the attack “as revenge for the honor” of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

Amongst the victims at the Charlie Hebdo massacre was a Muslim police officer who was on duty. Now, this greatly contrasts the message of the terrorists that they are fighting the enemies of Islam who brought dishonor to the name of the Holy Prophet.

A day after the Charlie Hebdo incident occurred, I came across a post by the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. He showed solidarity and sympathy towards the victims of the terrorist attack. He also recounted an ordeal a few years ago when an extremist in Pakistan fought to have him sentenced to death because Facebook refused to ban content about Mohammed that offended him. He (Zuckerberg) stated he didn’t flinch because different voices – even if they’re sometimes offensive – can make the world a better and more interesting place. He further stated that they follow laws in each country, but would never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world.

What amazed me was a comment someone posted in response to Zuckerberg’s post. The fellow accused Mark of being biased and unfair. He stated that Mark had never stood up against the killing of Palestinians and other atrocities being committed against Muslims.

Now I beg to disagree. Whether or not Mark voices his solidarity is not the issue; the issue is the comparison between the two scenarios. For Pete’s sakes, there are wars going on all over the world; genocides are committed in Africa and Eastern Europe. People are killed all over the world. It is important for us to differentiate between War and Terrorism; Collateral Damage and Murder.

We live in a world where religion has beclouded people’s sense of reasoning. Murder in the name of God! Now, this brings us to the question: Did God make man or did man make God? This is definitely an argument without a definite answer.

Over the years, this discussion has persisted. A lot of people argue that the idea of a being called God was created by man to provide an indefinite answer to a persisting issue. Man searched for a being larger than himself thereby creating a deity – a concept called God. Whether man created God or God created man is a discussion for another day. My point is this: most of these modern religions that are currently thriving in our contemporary times believe in an almighty and an all powerful being that made man.

If truly God made man and is all powerful, why then does his followers choose to fight his wars on his behalf. An attack on God should be interpreted as what it is – an attack on God. Taking up arms to fight on behalf of God is practically the same as making him less of whom we profess him to be. Killing in God’s name is tantamount to relegating him to the background; making him look like a helpless deity, whom he is not. There is no justification for murdering innocents in the name of God. Christianity condemns it. It is not even accepted in Islam. Qu’ran 6: 151 forbids murder: “…and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully (i.e. death penalty is accepted). Sneak attack is also forbidden in Islam. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Holy Prophet at one point gave four months notice. Religion has brought with it a lot of positives as well as troubles.

Man’s understanding of God’s purpose for him has been deeply misunderstood by many, thereby giving rise to the squabbles that now exist amongst religions. Instead of arguing whether God created Adam before Eve or Eve before Adam, or whether the Sabbath day is on a Saturday or Sunday, we should rather indulge ourselves in discovering the rationale behind the existence of man and how to make the world a better place.

In President Obama’s goodwill message to the people of France, showing his support, he stated: “The United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow…we grieve with you, we fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share, universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.

We all should unite in this fight against terrorism. In all honesty, the end to this war is far from being reached. But showing unity in the face of adversity is highly important. We shouldn’t allow a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world to succeed. I believe there should be laws protecting religious beliefs, but never would taking up arms to murder people that make caricature of one’s religion be acceptable. It is a free world so no one should dictate to others how they express their opinions on issues.

It is also not enough for Islamic Leaders to come out openly and condemn the attacks every time such occurs. They should show more resolve in tackling this evil. At the moment, it is estimated that there are over 3,000 young Europeans traveling to Syria and the Maghreb to fight for the extremists. Therefore, it is pertinent to tackle these social factors that make it easy for young men and women all over the world to be indoctrinated and brainwashed.

The terrorists didn’t get what they wished for. Rather, this cowardly act would even make the newspaper come out stronger. History has shown that terrorism has never succeeded in suppressing people’s freedoms. Yasser Arafat tried over the years with PLO and in the later years of his life on earth, realized that diplomacy was an option in finding peace.

Before dying, the two brothers were spared the sight of people hauling insults at them. They died in a blaze of gunfire as anti-terror forces stormed the building at sundown. There were no sympathizers wailing in agony, tears flowing down their cheeks, and mourning their death. They stared death into the eyes and death welcomed them with a sardonic smile.

Post with: #JeSuisAhmed #JeSuisCharlie

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