November 30, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 9057

Egyptian Intellectual Following Wave Of Attacks In Europe: The Quran Forbids Murder; We Need A Muslim Charter Denouncing Extremism And Emphasizing The Sanctity Of Human Life

November 30, 2020
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 9057

Following the wave of terror and violence in Europe, and especially in France, in response to the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, Egyptian writer and academic Nasser Muhammad 'Aref published an article in the UAE daily Al-Ru'ya in which he roundly condemned the extreme religious ideology that underpins these acts of violence. Noting that this ideology leads young Muslims to believe that murdering innocent people is a legitimate religious act, he called on all Muslim seminaries and clerics, in all countries and of all religious schools, to clarify that the sanctity of life is enshrined in the Quran, and to draft a binding charter that will absolutely ban crimes of this kind.    

Dr. Muhammad Nasser 'Aref (Source:

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"Whoever follows the stabbings and murders committed by Muslim youths in their host countries in Europe finds that they are acting out of religious motivations and a desire to support the faith and please God. But this raises a question: How did these youths arrive at the religious belief that murdering an innocent man they don't even know is a good deed that brings one closer to Allah, and an act of supporting the faith? Who persuaded them to violate the sanctity of human life in disregard of the prohibition [against murder], to violate [the directives of] the Quran and turn the absolute ban on taking human life into a ban on killing [only] certain people, whom [the murderers] choose and identify, and are usually people belonging to his own organization, group or religious school? 

"They do this despite the fact that the Quran has explicit verses prohibiting murder, such as 'Whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity' [Quran 5:32]. The Quran placed human life above any other consideration.

"If the Quran accorded such sanctity to human life, what makes Muslims ignore this absolute prohibition and violate the sanctity of life by committing wanton murder? This question poses a significant challenge to all the institutions and authorities that seek to reform the religious discourse and save the Muslims and all of mankind from this human cancer that is spreading and which holds human life so cheap.

"What ideological sources created people who disregard human life and treat [taking] it as a way to achieve political aims and partisan and sectarian interests? What made Muslims run over peaceful people in the cities and streets of the countries that took them in and gave them security, if nothing else? What religious culture leads someone to treat human life as a convenient means to realize his primitive political goals?

"This ideology, which denies the sanctity of human life and sanctions murder, obligates the institutions of education and learning and the religious authorities to wake up and fight it with firm pronouncements. We must publish a charter, agreed-upon by Muslim jurisprudents from all schools, backgrounds and countries, which will restore the sanctity of the divine spark [that exists in all] human beings and stress that human life is bestowed by Allah and may only be taken by Allah. This [charter] must become the constitution and legal authority for all Muslims, without exception, except those who have excluded themselves from the fold of the [Muslim] nation. Otherwise, millions of youths will perpetrate more horrors of this sort in the future, all over the world." 



[1] Al-Ru'ya (UAE), November 5, 2020.

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