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For the real terror threat, look beyond London

Badria al-Bishr

Published: Updated:

I saw the image of a Muslim Nigerian young man's hands covered in blood after he butchered a British policeman in the streets of Woolwich. This is the image he wanted to appear as to Britain’s society, which he grew up in and embraced him. This is how he presented his understanding of Islam and how he established his Muslim identity to this society, with "Allahu Akbar (God is Greater)" chants.

Western right-wing media fed on this photo with a ravenous appetite. These media outlets rushed to dig into Muslims' minds to confirm that this photo revealed the image of a brutal Islam which kills their sons and drains their funds.

On the other hand, Muslim media outlets rushed to say that Islam is innocent of this crime and accused the British society of racist interactions with the murderers, angering them until they became criminals.

But how do we explain the murderer's claim that he committed his crime to express his Islamic values and to act out revenge for the killing of children in Afghanistan and Iraq? How can the statements of the cleric, who admires what the murderer did, be explained?

The cleric who mentored him

The pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat daily published an interview with Omar Bakri - founder of the banned Islamic movements Al-Muhajiroun and Al-Ghorbaa. Bakri at first tried to evade responsibility since he was the mentor of Nigerian killer Michael Adebolajo whose name later became Abdullah.

This war has not begun today. It began when someone stated the idea that "your prayer must include prayers against other sects, doctrines and intellectual movements."

Dr. Badria al-Bishr

Bakri said he taught Adebolajo the true religion and the doctrine of loyalty and enmity - which stipulates rejecting to live with infidels and urging to fight them. He said murdering the solider is against Shariah law because when a Muslim chooses to live in a non-Muslim society, he acts upon an invisible security pact with its people. But Bakri could not conceal his admiration of Adebolajo's courage for not fleeing the scene.

He also lessened the gravity of the crime by saying: The Muslims will find that the "murdered was not a civilian but a military man." In the end, he said frankly: "I do not object to what he did. I think he did not want to abide by the security pact. This was (an act) of personal jihad." He also said that he was against the manner in which the Briton was killed. "Perhaps, it would have been better if a gun and not a butcher’s knife was used."

Who is the murderer here? The one who carried out the murder? Or the mentor interpreting God's verses? Who are we trying? The teenager who came seeking reassurance, calmness and peace in a world that unjustly treated him or the mentor who chose to eat with people in their houses and on their tables and later urged that their sons be killed in the street as an act of jihad for the sake of God?

Some readers will dislike these statements and see them as an incitement against our Muslim sons. The West may use these statements against us. But I say: They are wrong. The murder's spiritual mentor Omar Bakri who fled from London and is currently in Tripoli (Lebanon) sponsoring the murder of other groups for the sake of God.

The inter-sect fight

The case now is not about Muslim and Christian Britons. It is about two Muslim parties, Bab al-Tabbanah and Jabal Mohsen of the same country, Lebanon. Yesterday, the number of those killed in clashes between the two areas in recent days reached 30, and the number of those injured reached 240. They jeopardized and sold their country's unity, security and sanctity of its sons' blood because a party supports Bashar al-Assad and another opposes him.

Here is Hezbollah and Islamic resistance groups promising its audience of victory. Where? In the Syria’s Qusayr! It will enter, slaughter and shed the blood of other Muslims to protect Bashar al-Assad's regime in response to Iran's orders! Who is responsible for this war? Arms or jurisprudence? Who's the loser in this war? Muslims or their enemies? Israel has been blessed with a luck it is being envied for! Its neighbors are killing each other on its behalf whilst it saves funds allocated for other wars to carry out developmental projects and fortify itself.

But this war has not begun today. It began when someone stated the idea that "your prayer must include prayers against other sects, doctrines and intellectual movements." A statement that opposes the Islamic concept as stated by the prophet (prayer and peace be upon him) when he said: "We have our opinion, and they have theirs." But this is not the opinion of rational thought today.

A reader has sent me a letter telling me about an incident that surprised him while he was performing Friday's prayers. When people praying heard the imam say "God, aid Islam and the Muslims," they said "Amin" in a low voice. But when the imam said "Perish this Muslim category and the liberals," they screamed out "Amin!" Didn't I tell you that danger is not in London as you thought?

This article was first published in al-Hayat on May 27, 2013.
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Dr. Badria al-Bishr is a multi-award-winning Saudi columnist and novelist. A PhD graduate from the American University of Beirut, and an alumnus of the U.S. State Department International Visitor program. Her columns put emphasis on women and social issues in Saudi Arabia. She currently lectures at King Saud University's Department of Social Studies. Twitter: @BadryahAlbeshr

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