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Black Church News in Virginia

The Ink of the Scholar: Terror/Terrorism in NYC / NJ

By Imam Vernon Fareed

We (Muslims) stand in condemnation of the recent bombings in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey. We are prayerful that the perpetrators of those horrific crimes will be brought to justice and punished to the fullest extent of the law. We pray for a speedy and full recovery of all innocent victims of those acts. Several pipe bombs, pressure cooker bombs, etc. were set and detonated by the perpetrator, obviously seeking to harm or kill. Other bombs were intentionally or unintentionally detonated (for safety reasons) by law enforcement, i.e., one bomb went off while officials were attempting to disarm it.

In the course of the last 48 hours 29 people were in fact injured, but fortunately none of these injuries (to date) were fatal. As of the writing of this article the accounts of what took place are rapidly unfolding, and the investigation by law enforcement officials continues. The story and events are occurring so fast that I’m having to stop and insert updates in this article while trying to complete it. One major case in point is that they have just captured the prime suspect of these crimes – a 28 year old man (Ahmad Khan Rahami) of Afghan descent. The NYC police, JTTF, FBI and others are to be commended for moving as swiftly as they have in helping to minimize or put arrest to further harm! Authorities believe that this individual that they’ve apprehended is in fact the perpetrator of these crimes. A word of caution is that the investigation remains open and ongoing.

What pains the overwhelming majority of the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world is having to constantly condemn behavior and apologize for individuals that commit senseless acts in the name of our religion (Al-Islam). To date we are not certain whether the perpetrator of the above mentioned crimes even claims to be Muslim! In the minds of many he will nevertheless be perceived as being a Muslim by virtue of his name and ethnicity, whether he claims it or not! The fact of the matter is, individuals that commit these type of acts are no more Muslim than Adolph Hitler or Nathan Bedford Forrest were Christian! If name alone was the only thing necessary to be of a particular faith, then one would simply need to change theirs to Moses, Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha, etc., in order to be a true adherent. Additionally, could someone named John Christian be Muslim, and would an African- American named Hyman be forced into Judaism?

If ethnicity was the deciding factor for being a true adherent we’d have a real problem on our hands! How would we go about determining i.e., what ethnicity would render you Christian, Jew or Muslim? Of course all of this is ridiculous and non-sense; hence the reason for raising these issues. The real determination for anyone being of a particular faith is for them to be adhering to the highest criteria of that faith – at least to the best of their ability. Consequently it requires one making a judgement to be knowledgeable of the religion in question. Knowledge of a religion informs one whether the religion condones or condemns certain actions, speech and dispositions. Criteria of a given religion may include one or more of the following; 1. Obedience and adherence to Revealed Scripture 2. Obedience to the teachings and examples of the Messengers, Prophets or other exemplary figures of the Religion 3. Adhering to the rules, policies and criteria of the authoritative bodies and institutions 4. Respect for human decency that G-d (The Creator) placed in our nature.

We all want to know what moves an individual to commit such horrendous acts of terrorism, particularly they are imposed upon innocent human beings. One thing for sure is that no revealed religion condones such actions, and this is certainly true of the faith of Al-Islam!
Note: The spelling of “G-d” when used in my articles is not a typo, it is intentional. We have a serious issue when the reverse spelling for the Name of the Great Creator is “Dog” and this is our way of drawing attention to this concern!

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