In his column in the London-Based daily Al-Hayat, Jordanian columnist Moussa Barhouma, the former editor-in-chief of the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, denounced the terror attacks perpetrated in the West by extremist Muslims, which he said reflects ingratitude towards countries that have absorbed Muslim immigrants and granted them freedom of religion. These countries, he added, took in the Muslims out of a naïve belief that all religions advocate charity, love, happiness and life, yet extremist Muslims repay them with deadly attacks in the name of Islam.
He stressed that terror attacks in the West harm not only the image of Islam but also the Muslims living in the West, threatening their future there and even exposing them to the danger of retaliatory attacks. He argued that these Muslims are partly responsible for this situation, because they take a neutral stance on terror attacks, as though these attacks have nothing whatsoever to do with them. He therefore called on them to stop complaining about discrimination and exclusion they suffer in the West, which cannot in any way justify the murder of innocent people, and instead promote an interpretation of Islamic texts that suits the tolerant nature of their new environment.
The following are excerpts from his article.
"The future of the Muslims living in the West will no doubt be dark as long as the [terror] attacks that, whether they like it or not, are perpetrated in their name continue to increase. Today [the Muslims in the West] are being blamed [for this terror], and in the future this accusation may be translated into action, given that violence breeds violence, and the reaction will be of the same sort as the action [i.e., will take the form of terrorism against them]. Perhaps the Muslims in the West are held responsible [for this situation]... because they react to [terror] incidents by doing nothing and choosing to take a neutral stance, even though the issue is an existential one for them and threatens their peace and quiet, [for it causes them to be] regarded as inhuman...
Moussa Barhouma (image: ammonnews.net)
"The discourse of discrimination against and exclusion of [Muslims in the West] can in no way excuse [an incident in which] a 20-year-old man runs down civilians, including children, in a public place intended for strolling and having a good time, not on the battlefield or during activity intended to prevent the shooting and killing of Muslims. What logical or reasonable justification can there be for someone – falsely claiming to be empowered by God – to end this innocent [scene of] human merriment and turn it into a funeral and into a doom of bloody death?
"The Muslims in the West are responsible for this, to some extent, because they make no effort to create a Muslim ethic that suits their new surroundings. Afghan Islam is not suitable for the European environment, since it is fanatical and demagogical and unsuited to the time and place. The proponents of this Afghan Islam, and of similar [extremist brands of Islam] that have been espoused by terror organizations, do not understand that the religious text is immutable but its meaning does change, as indicated by the Prophet when he said [in a hadith]: 'O [members of] the Muslim community, you know best the affairs of your world.' The minds of these deceived and brainwashed young men are filled not with the noble basic values of the faith, but with the discourse of hate that [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi [began] spreading three years ago... when he said in his speech, that [inspired] these insolent criminals, that 'Muslims today have the power to crush and destroy the false ideas of nationalism and democracy.' The world envisioned by Al-Baghdadi is the same world envisioned by Bin Laden, namely [a world divided into] two camps: the camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of heresy and hypocrisy. [The latter camp] includes all the 'infidel nations and religions, chiefly the U.S. and Russia, which are operated by the Jews.'
"Laying down the groundwork for ideologically confronting this discourse [of hatred] and for interpreting the religious texts according to the character of the new camp [i.e., the camp of Muslims in the West] requires great courage on the part of the jurisprudents, clerics and academics active in the public sphere. [They must] establish new principles of religious behavior that preserve the goals of the shari'a and act to inculcate them as part of the new reality. Without going into the reasons [for this], it may be assumed that most Muslims in the West practice Islam based on the textual interpretations they accepted in the past, before immigrating to the 'lands of heresy' – lands that granted them the freedom to practice their faith. The 'infidel' West indeed believes that the goal of religion – any religion – is to bring people happiness, spread grace and love, establish peace, and promote life! These Western societies do not know that this religion that lives among them [i.e., Islam] allows its followers to kill children and people happily strolling [down the street]... by means of suicide belts, car bombs, and trucks that crush everything in their path, without discrimination and without mercy.
"Where does all this violence come from? What is the source of all this cruelty and the well from which these madmen draw their numerous [alleged religious] justifications? The Westerners are at a loss, wondering at this strange religion. Indeed, it is not a religion [at all] but rather a destructive militant ideology that hates life and enjoys scenes of murder just as a sick killer enjoys [seeing] the blood of his victims.
"If the Muslims in the West want to save themselves, they must take extensive measures to save the religious texts from the interpretations of benighted religious scholars. Otherwise, we cannot rule out that in the future they will be the ones to be crushed under the wheels of a truck, and there will be no shortage of people to rejoice at the sight. For in the mad world in which we live, the fantastic and imaginary has become inevitable."
 Al-Hayat (London), September 6, 2017.