Home > Islam, Religion > Enough with Islamic extremism, enough!

Enough with Islamic extremism, enough!

For the last two days, ever since a helmet-wearing motorcyclist parked his scooter in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse in the south of France and methodically shot, point-blank, three small kids and a Hebrew teacher, I’ve put myself in the place of that young woman who had breakfast with her husband and two small sons and sent them off, only to hear an hour later that she’d lost them all. The killer actually grabbed the third child –the school director’s little girl–by the hair, to steady her head while he shot her. Over the previous week, three soldiers had been killed by the same guy in two separate attacks.
The sweeping manhunt that followed soon gave results. As I write, the assassin is hunkering down with a large arsenal in an apartment building and negotiations are under way for his surrender. By the time you read this, he will probably have been arrested.

News of the identity of the killer made me see red. For a minute, I was truly suffocating with rage. Yet another Salafist-linked terrorist, yet another sick bastard killing to avenge who knows what slights, sowing destruction as an alibi for a pitiful fanatic’s failure to live a productive life!

My regular readers know that I am no advocate of religion or faith and particularly not of Islam which I see as often out of touch with today’s world and scornful of women’s rights, but I can imagine that today Muslims must be overcome with a sense of powerlessness and outrage that their religion should be so continuously abused. Murderers such as this wretch in Toulouse are a blight on the face of the earth. Why would a small percentage of miserable fanatics shame a faith followed by a billion and a half of people for the most part decent and law abiding? I can only put myself in the place of Muslims everywhere whenever they hear of killings, suicide bombings and other extremist actions, hoping against hope that the perpetrator doesn’t once again turn out to be an Islamist and bowing their heads down in guilt and humiliation in hearing that alas, once again, it is.

I don’t know where the solution lies or how the extremism wrapping its tentacles round vulnerable young recruits can be stopped, but it seems to me that this will not end until Muslim communities band together, become vigilant and relentless in rooting out signs of fanaticism. Stalwart Muslim crusaders such as French-Algerian journalist Mohamed Sifaoui or the group Mosaic or the enlightened and moderate scholar Dalil Boubakeur, Mufti of the Paris Mosque, see the ongoing danger and fight the scourge of Islamic extremism but they need partisans, patrons, and enormous community support. Non-Muslims can rally to this cause by knowing the difference between Muslim and Islamists and by not dismissing an entire faith because of a minority of benighted followers.

  1. March 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Wow. How horrible. I couldn’t agree with you more.


  2. March 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Well said, Saideh. This act was absolutely hateful and barbaric. Nothing can justify it.


  3. Maryam yekta Steininger
    March 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I think religions are mostly about Economy and power of money and greed.


  4. Ed Levy
    March 23, 2012 at 6:23 am

    It’s hard to argue with people who think G-d told them to act a certain way.


  5. March 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    a well-balanced article, bravo. I did not know that Merah held the girl by her hair while he shot her. Words cannot describe the emotions one feels upon hearing this. In fact, I feel no emotions, this is such a perverse act that I cannot fathom it and I cannot translate it into proper emotions.

    I regret very much that he died during the raid. I wish that he had lived, so that he could simply be tried and then go to jail for the rest of his life.

    Thanks for another great article,

    Ali Naderzad,


  6. andee radu
    March 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Wonderful article!!! My husband is muslim and i can relate to this perfectly…I can still remember my resentment and confused feelings around his religion, not even 3 years ago. Really, ignorance is a plague…


  7. Melinda Barnhardt
    March 25, 2012 at 1:53 am

    A beautifully done article, both in terms of the immediacy with which this horrific incident is presented (we are there, at the breakfast table), and the balanced suggestion that both Muslims and non-Muslims can work to counteract fanaticism, and to create a culture that avoids stereotyping the Other.


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