Riddle me this, oh apologists for the Muslims: where do the terrorists go to pray? Where, in the holy month of Ramadan do they make their nightly observances. The Salafist/ Wahabi root to the many branches of terror (ISIS , Al Qaida, Lashkar e Jhangvi, Sipah e Sahaba, Boko Haram) places great store in religiosity, in the keeping of prayer times. It is appallingly unique in the way that prayer hardens their hearts, rather than softening it with compassion and understanding, but the question remains: Where do they pray?
When I originally wrote this the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wrote out to religious leaders asking them to be vigilant in their communities. Now David Cameron has also waded in on the causes of radicalisation. The Pickles letter elicited a backlash of hurt responses, with those leaders and others claiming the move was divisive, that it painted the Muslim as the ones to blame. A week before Rupert Murdoch tweeted something along the same lines, suggesting an underlying level of Muslim culpability.
I have no truck with Tory governments, and I feel unclean being on the same side of any debate as Murdoch, but they both have a point. The terrorists, and those who sympathise with them pray somewhere, they socialise somewhere, they find and indoctrinate their prey somewhere. The ideology that fuels them is propagated from somewhere.
I am a Muslim, and I accuse the Muslims. Complacency, wilful blindness, and a deterioration in faith has lead us here. Wahabism has no place in any of the major Islamic schools of thought, and yet the Sunni majority have allowed this poison to seep into their beliefs, powered by Saudi money which sets up new mosques and religious schools.
I accuse the Muslims. Those Saudi Kings, keepers of the holy cities who have paid for new self serving jurisprudence and scattered it like toxic alms among the destitute; and those clerics of little faith and no learning who have sold the soul of Islam for thirty pieces of silver drenched in oil. Between them they have curdled the faith of generations, funded violence and mayhem and then cowered in their palaces lest the beast turn back on them.
I accuse the Muslims. They have conflated the seemingly high level of adherence to prayer and observance with a true understanding of faith, allowing themselves to be bullied out of their positions of principle and tolerance and to either cower in the corners of their mosques, or cravenly join the ranks, squashing their shame to be part of the mutation of the people.
I accuse the Muslims who see the behavioural changes in their children, and thank God that they have turned away from unrighteous lives, rather than examining what they have turned to, blind to the threat of spiritual depravity that has replaced the physical and the seen.
Islam is a religion of both personal and shared responsibility. Those who fall into the embrace of a false reading of faith are culpable, those who allow them to fall and say nothing are culpable. No one outside of Islam is going to reconnect Muslims with the true essence of their faith, whose messenger was sent as a mercy for all creation. The terrorists, their sympathisers and their apologists pray alongside Muslims of untainted faith. It is up to Muslims to root out the evil in their midst.
Some reflections on Satire and Faith in Islam Needs Satire
Tangential and sometimes more lighthearted reflections on faith can be found in extracts from my Hajj diary here scroll down a bit for the narratives.