September 22, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 787

Syrian Professor: 'We Need People Who are Capable of Fearlessly Acknowledging that Terrorism Nests within Us as Muslims and that We Must Exorcise It'

September 22, 2004
Syria | Special Dispatch No. 787

Mundir Badr Haloum, a lecturer at a Syrian University, wrote a column in the Lebanese daily Al-Safir stating that Muslims today are responsible for terrorism around the globe, and calling for Islamic religious reform in order to bring Muslims back onto the stage of history not through suicide attacks, but rather by other means. The following are excerpts from the column: [1]

'Ignominious Terrorism Exists, and One Cannot but Acknowledge its Being Islamic'

"Twelve Nepalese citizens are slaughtered – Islam. A metro station is bombed – Islam. Civilian aircraft crash – Islam. A school is taken and the souls of 50 children [are lost] for the soul of [each] terrorist – Islam. A bus is bombed here, a railway train there, and before that there were hospitals and theaters, etc … all of them Islamic acts. [Behind] the color green are exposed rivers red with blood, flowing in the streets and public squares. And Muslims everywhere.

"Islam is in the names of all of the organizations that decapitate using knives, all the while saying the Fatiha [the first chapter of the Koran, said as a prayer] before the slaughter. The victims are butchered in the Islamic way … Christians, Buddhists, and Jews… After all, they are only infidels, fuel for the blaze, enemies, or potential enemies, or the friends of enemies, or their neighbors, and so on. The soul has no value and the body parts are laid out and displayed on the tables of Islam … Islam … Islam. The Islamic press searches for something that will absolve 'Islam' of the crimes of the Shahada [martyrdom]… It is Islam that adorns television screens with body parts… Islam – whether those who praise its mercies like it or not – is the foul odor of the putrefaction of Islamic history and its stench, as well as [being] other things that are honorable, which some people like and others do not…

"Ignominious terrorism exists, and one cannot but acknowledge its being Islamic. Anyone who is unable to bear its ignominy and wishes to absolve himself of the ugly mark of terror which is stamped in our soul … must scrutinize the recesses of his mind and search out there the terror that conceals itself behind pretty and misleading names…"

'What Gets Passed on from One Generation to the Next is the Belief in Legal Rulings that Forbid Thought and Permit Killing'

"Self-examination … would result in favor of abandoning Islam … yet what gets passed on from one generation to the next is … the latest version of Islam – Algeria, Afghanistan, Moscow, and New York, the version of the planes and the buses, the metro stations, the theaters and the residential complexes. What gets passed on from one generation to the next is the faith of Jihad that takes lightly the spilling of others' blood. How easy it is to shove someone into the category of the enemy. What gets passed on from generation to generation is the belief in legal rulings that forbid thought and permit killing… Religious Muslims prepare an offering to heaven – a fresh bit of human flesh, meant to be evidence of the truth and the proof of Jihad for the absolute truth.

"Indeed, we as Muslims produce terrorism, succor it, and praise it. We condemn it only when forced to. Motivated by considerations of power, interests, and diplomacy, we wear a pained expression on our faces but in our hearts we rejoice at the brilliant success - a large number of casualties. Unfortunately, in this black reality it does not matter if it is an American, Israeli, or Russian mind who is responsible for certain terrorist operations … or whether those who kill themselves are poor, ignorant, or destitute …"

'Reform is the Only Path to Our Return to History as Muslims and Not as Terrorists'

"This is a reality that must be acknowledged as a first step toward a non-terrorist Islam … an Islam that teaches the values of truth and justice… Islam as a religious establishment is today in need … of a precise definition of its position between earth and heaven, between this world and the next. If it chooses the earth, it must accept the laws of politics that regulate earthly affairs, and must leave the holy to those who occupy themselves with the affairs of heaven. If it chooses heaven, it must leave politics and earthly affairs to those who find interest in them. He who cleaves to both realms undoubtedly [chooses] terrorism and certain death…

"Islam is in need of true reform. Islam's need [for reform] – or, to be precise, our need for Islam's reform – is not less than the need for reform in the Arab political regimes… This is the need for people who are capable of fearlessly acknowledging that terrorism nests within us as Muslims and that we must exorcise it… Unfortunately, the meaning of delay is more death… The reform will take a long time and the price will be high, but it is the only path to our return to history as Muslims and not as terrorists…"

[1] Al-Safir (Lebanon), September 13, 2004.

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