How Muslims should respond to terror
May 25th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

How Muslims should respond to terror

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

The sheer barbarism of the attack on a British soldier in Woolwich is really beyond comprehension – the alleged murderers are said to have hacked the victim to death, waited for the police to arrive, and seemed to encourage people to videotape their brutality.

And yet, we have to search for some way to think about what appears to be our future.

Terrorism used to be about something big and dramatic. But perhaps because groups like al Qaeda are on the run, their people hunted, their money tracked, their hideouts bombed, Woolwich and Boston have become the new faces of terror – a few people, disturbed or fanatical, radicalized by things they have read or watched, decide to commit evil.

How do you detect this kind of danger? It seems impossible.

This was the first terrorist killing on British soil since the London bus and subway bombings in 2005. In fact, since the Madrid and London bombings, there have been just three times that Islamic terrorists have killed people in Western Europe – Woolwich, the equally gruesome 2012 murders in France that killed French soldiers and children and a Rabbi, and the killing of U.S. soldiers in Frankfurt.

More from GPS: Here we go again

Europe's governments have been doing a good job with police and counter-terrorism work – and that might explain the relative calm of recent years. They have also done a much better job than in the past at reaching out and helping to integrate their Muslim communities. And the communities have been responding much more strongly against these isolated acts committed by murderers in the name of Islam.

The Muslim Council of Britain issued an unequivocal statement condemning the latest killing, supporting British soldiers, and urging the police to do whatever it needed to, unhindered and unhampered. That is precisely the kind of statement all leaders of Muslim communities need to make whenever one of these kinds of attacks takes place.

I understand the feeling that some have that they should not be held responsible for the actions of a few perverted madmen. But the trouble is that these madmen claim that they are killing in the name of Islam and someone has to refute their claims – as often as they make them.

Now...the alleged murderer in Woolwich claimed that he was retaliating against British soldiers killing Muslims in Afghanistan.

I wish Muslim leaders would make the point that British – and American and other allied soldiers – are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected government of that country. They are defending that government and Muslims every day from terrorist attacks and insurgent warfare. If these people want to protest the killing of Muslims, they should direct their wrath at the Taliban and al Qaeda and other jihadi groups because they are the ones who are killing Muslims and many others.

We need to hear this message more often and more loudly.

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Topics: Islam • Terrorism • United Kingdom

soundoff (805 Responses)
  1. Brad76

    If we had more positive influence on what is being learned or absorbed through media, education, and the lawless land of the internet, we cold cut down on some of this.

    May 27, 2013 at 7:09 am | Reply
  2. Frank

    I guess I'm censored. Ill file suit with Judicial Watch for squashing my 1st amendment rights.

    May 27, 2013 at 7:25 am | Reply
  3. Frank

    1. Islam’s ceaseless objective is to dominate the globe. This fact has been endlessly repeated by knowledgeable people and by the Islamists themselves, so why do people ignore it?

    2. Their published strategy is to infiltrate government organisations, including the military and justice, and “destroy their miserable house from within”. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is published fact that is reinforced by Islamic pronouncements that occur almost weekly. The Islamists are telling us this in the clearest terms possible. Why do western leaders refuse to take them at their word? Why do they consider Islamic terrorism to be separate from stated published, and proven, fact?

    May 27, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
  4. why

    There are NO good Muslims !

    May 27, 2013 at 7:42 am | Reply
  5. keith

    I believe that when Cain killed his brother Able and God curced him and his seed for ever, walla, you have Muslims!

    May 27, 2013 at 8:03 am | Reply
  6. Maggie

    To all the mentally deranged, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS, just like NOT ALL CHRISTIANS or JEWS ARE TERRORISTS. God will judge everyone individually so go do something productive with your time instead of spewing hate and lies. Ignorance is a lot more expensive than an education.

    May 27, 2013 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • What a joke

      Any violent ideology is dangerous to have promoted or entertained in people with a lack of self-control or simply ignorance of how untrue and unrealistic these ideologies are to allow any of them to remain in a freedom-seeking society.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:15 am | Reply
      • Maggie

        There are bad people from all walks of life. Islam is not the problem, a small minority of Muslims are. What you're saying is like saying because Timothy McVeigh had ties to Christianity, the Christian faith is evil and all Christians should be killed. If that isn't ignorance at the highest level, I don't know what is.

        May 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  7. Shalin Shah

    As someone who lived in the country with the 2nd highest Muslim's time to set the record straight. Everyone speaks from their own little personal experiences of Islam and can hardly give a objective and fair view of Muslims. Muslims as a people are quite personable and are somewhat courteous and hospitable. This is what leaves people baffled. They are taught to treat their guests and outsiders with respect. Beware, it is a veiled respect.

    Islam as a religion from which Muslims derive their teachings is not peaceful. The vitriol in Islam is quite damning. The brutal nature of some Q'uranic ayats and hadiths can not be ignored. Now, if the Q'uran is the word of God (like Muslims believe), then their is something inherently wrong with the religion. Muslims can not and should not be allowed in America. Period. Their ultimate goal is to establish an Islamic Ummah or (Umbrella) under which all non-believers and non-Muslims live. This is Q'uranically sanctioned. This is fact. If any Muslim disagrees, then they don't know the tenets of their own religion. The hatred of Jews is also sanctioned in the Q'uran...(supposedly by Allah), who basically calls Jews pigs and Christians (people who have gone astray). This is fact. There is no such thing as a "moderate" Muslim. How can anyone ascribe to a faith that permits the cutting off of hands for theft and stoning as a means of adultery. This religion is brutal and does not have a place in the modern world. Americans need to wake up and stop believing all of their own personal anecdotal experiences.

    May 27, 2013 at 9:59 am | Reply
  8. Nick

    I am a Muslim and am appalled, not only at these horrible crimes, but equally in our communities' silence in condemning them and in not taking a pro-active stance to educate our communities in traditional, orthodox Islam–practically every violent act of terrorism has been carried out by strains of the Salafi/Wahhabi sect. It is also important to educate our Muslim youth in the democratic process, as a way to legally (and peacefully) address grievances. This can be a step to make sure that such atrocities don't happen.

    May 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • What a joke

      The only way to make sure these things don't happen is to shove all violent ideologies out of our cultures and countries.
      You can either cast off your violent religion or leave. To remain is to be a source of conflict. Go away.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:12 am | Reply

    Thank A MUSLIM

    The next time you want to deport the Muslims think again.
    If you want to deport all Muslims great just deport US out of Muslim lands.

    Muslim lands have some of largest natural resources that have been exploited by US.

    Next time you fill gas or turn your lights thank a Muslim.

    Muslim countries the US is exploiting their Crude oil in these countries: Saudi, algeria, qatar, kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria, UAE, Libya.

    Next time you buy anything from a major clothes brands from the mall thank a Muslim from Bangladesh exploited to work for less than 40 dollars a month.
    Sears, HM, GAP, k mart and many more.

    Next time you buy from walmart thank a Muslim.
    Clothes bought from bangladesh as well.

    Next time you use any petroleum products thank a Muslim. Largest exporters are the same as oil countries.

    Next time you go to a specialist thank a Muslim. Most foreign docs work for less in undeserved areas for years before ever working in a higher payed larger city.

    Next time you use or work at Citi bank or watch Fox news thank a Muslim. Largest Gulf investors invest billions into these companies.

    Next time you get a job at Boeing or any airline industry company thank a Muslim. Largest orders have come from Muslim countries including UAE, Saudi, Kuwait.

    Next time you get a job at a military business and build military equipment thank a Muslim. Largest US military orders have come from Muslim countries. Actually Military was planning to close the armored tank division and millions would loose their jobs but only reason they are still open today because Muslim countries bought billions worth.

    Next time you work for any high end brands from america like Apple, GM, ford, other companies thank a Muslim. Largest orders for these products have come from Muslim countries.

    Pretty much if you work for any american company, buy anything from an american store, Watch TV, work for the military, visit that specialist in your town, fill you car with gas and turn your lights on, Thank a MUSLIM!

    Here I just spoke of one country Bangladesh imagine if I were to go down the list of things that US has exploited from Muslim lands for our benefit.

    No Muslim or anyone else should fell like they need to prove anything or apologize for anyone else actions.

    How many lives have been killed in the last 200 US wars?

    How much resources have been taken for US benefit in the last 200 wars from Muslim lands and other countries?

    May 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • lolwut

      Oh, believe me: I thank a Muslim every time I find myself standing in line at the airport with my shoes off.

      Meanwhile, if you can stop whining about being "exploited" and playing the victim for a minute, you might ask yourself if there's a reason why every creative, scientific, and technological achievement you cite has its origin outside of the virulent, oppressive, medieval barbarism of Islamic culture. It's probably the Jews' fault, huh?

      May 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Reply

        Just to name a few things that muslims invented if you never learned this:

        Muslims invented the numeric system you use 1, 2, 3, 4, on and on.
        Muslims invented the concept of 0 and on.
        Muslims invented the concept of modern medicine.
        Muslims invented the concept of the modern hospital
        Muslims invented modern day vaccinations and surgery.
        Muslims invented the concept of quarantine (separating different sick people from each other)
        Muslims invented Coffee
        Muslims invented Parachutes
        Muslims invented Chess
        Muslims invented shampoo and soap

        Just a few.... Every time you use these products thank a Muslim

        May 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • What a joke

        Muslims invented none of those things as they are not Muslim beliefs nor did they come from any faith-based thinking or ideology.
        You are a joke. Everyone is laughing at you. Go ahead and scream as you show yourself to have no self-control.

        May 28, 2013 at 12:10 am |
      • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

        Muslims invented the numeric system you use 1, 2, 3, 4, on and on.
        >>> but today muslims are the worst at using these numbers to run corruption free societies <<>> but today, the best doctors are imported from overseas, visit any hospital in the middle east <<>> again some of the worst-run hospitals in the world are in muslim countries <<>> apparently they sold it to non-muslims, who now sell it back to muslims :-–) <<>> you mean they invented the idea of seperating one sect from another <<<>> but coffee is not made in the muslim world? <<>> not aware of anyone in the islamic world manufactures parachutes??? <<>> that explains why they have not had a muslim world champion for centuries <<>> maybe they should start using them then??? <<<

        June 12, 2013 at 4:39 am |
    • BurnArabsNotOil

      Next time someone kills you, flies a jet into your building, crashes a bomb-loaded car into you. slits your throat, stabs you in the back, leaves bombs to explode at the Boston Marathon, ..., thank a Moslem.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • What a joke

      None of those things have anything to do with the Q'uran or any Hadith.
      You are like a Jesuit trying to claim scientific advances in the name of Catholicism.
      There is no difference between your lies and their lies.
      Nothing in Islam says how to run a company or tally accounting books, or build an engine.
      You are a liar and a stupid one.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:01 am | Reply
  10. Joe

    This article is well stated. Particularly the last lines regarding the fact that US and Uk troops are in Afghanistan at the behest of a democratically elected government, fighting an enemy which has as written policy to kill women/girls who wish to be educated, to recruit mentally ill and children as suicide bombers, and to blow up school buses to reduce the impact of foreign efforts at education. sounds like a good battle to fight. Muslims must more vociferously reject the hate, bigotry and violence perpetrated by their coreligionists, in the name of Islam. Every day, all over the world, terrible things are done in the name of Islam. This is not true to nearly the same degree for any other religion. Where is the 'moderate' muslim outrage?

    May 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  11. Grafted Olive Branch

    Dear Islam, I know that many of you honestly and fervently seek to know God. I, as a Christian, ask you to forgive our trespasses against you as we forgive your trespasses against us.

    You try so hard to be good and adhere to the peaceful tenants of your religion. But as is human nature, you have likely discovered that the harder you try to be good and righteous, and fail, the more frustrated you become with yourself. How then can we stand before a Holy God in judgment if we are ourselves un-clean?

    I was the same way as a Christian, trying so hard to be good and righteous, yet failing miserably due to my own human fallibility, until I discovered that Jesus Christ is already “righteousness” for me. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the ultimate price for my sins. I am clean by His sacrifice. You can be also. The peace that Jesus Christ alone can provide is yours for the asking…forgiveness.

    May 27, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  12. BurnArabsNotOil

    How do you know when a Moslem is lying? When his mouth is moving.

    May 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  13. bq45

    One thing, which has always bothered me to no end, is that western media and societies always demand that all Muslims in the world should denounce the brutal acts of violence committed by individuals.
    There are two points in this issue to remember.

    Most Muslims do denounce such acts but that gets very little coverage in the media. I know from personal experience that it is very difficult for people to even get a little letter to the editor published let alone have an invitation to appear on national TV to say express opinions.

    Secondly, I never heard such demands of mass apology from American Christian public when Timothy James "Tim" McVeigh, an American terrorist detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 and killed hundreds of innocent American or someone asked the Norwegian public to take responsibility when Anders Behring Breivik bombed the party headquarters of the Labour Party in Oslo and then carried out mass shooting on 22 July 2011 killing 77 of innocent youth.

    There are many other examples of individual terrorism, killing and mass murders committed by people in the west, especially in the USA where the shootings of innocent people is almost a weekly occurring.

    I neither heard media describing such actions as Christian terrorism or demanding an apology or denunciation from the western public at large who are of course of Christian heritage.

    So why this hypocrisy?
    I am just asking question.

    So let us have a sober deabte about it.

    May 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
    • What a joke

      You are chasing empty shadows and ignoring the roots of the problem.
      This is a culture war between people who want to live freely and peacefully and those who believe all control must be done with terror, fear, violence, and lies to achieve any ends.
      And the violence is a symptom not the cause.
      The culture of Islam is diametrically opposed to any freedom whatsoever and it's main goal is total dominance.
      If you do not understand this, simply study the Q'uran and any speech Muslims make amongst themselves.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:07 am | Reply
    • Robert

      The acts of Breivik and McVeigh do not represent high points of an ongoing fever of violence and terrorism.
      They were awful, extreme, unprecedented, and, so far, unrepeated.

      What is being driven by the wahhabis and salafists and mahdists and pure power-mongers appealing to Militant Islamic creeds is an ongoing fever of violence against other muslims and non-muslims, and includes oppression of their moderate brethern.

      This is the difference, two spikes, outliers, are nothing compared to the ferment, violence, and actively pursued aims of the Militant Islamic Reactionaries.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • TiredOfPaying

      McVeigh wasn't screaming 'Jesus Loves You' when the bomb went off, unlike the 'allah akbar' crap mooslims spout. That's the difference. He just so happened to belong to a religion; as opposed to doing his vile acts in support of a religion. Really, you can't be that stupid that you can't see the difference.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  14. Charles

    How should Muslims respond?
    By taking it upon themselves to mount a campaign to find, identify, and deport all Salafist/Wahhabis among them back to, say, Afghanistan or some other worthless country.

    May 28, 2013 at 1:33 am | Reply
  15. Robert

    When moderate Muslims in everywhere are targeted by the Militant Jihadists, then they will be speaking out boldly and often enough.

    Perhaps moderate Muslims, or those who support moderate Islam, or Seperation of Religion and State *are* targeted in the Islamic world. Western Reporters and Editors should bring this news to us.

    When one or more moderate Muslims in the West are attacked and maimed or killed, then the differences in Islam will be made palpably clear, and the threat of backlash should diminish, and the Muslim World must then react and choose the ground on which it stands.

    It could lead to isolation of the Militants, or simply a division in the Islamic World made clear.

    May 28, 2013 at 1:44 am | Reply
  16. David Witcraft

    The Muslims know how dangerous these people are, and they're afraid of becoming targets themselves! Really, they have no more responsibility to speak out than Christian ministers do whenever some KKK or lunatic extremist acts out in the name of his god. Which church was supposed to apologize for Timothy McVeigh?

    May 28, 2013 at 6:07 am | Reply
  17. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    With this article Mr.Zakaria makes a HALF-HEARTED effort at concealing his true Islamist colors, having been a vociferous propagandist for all things Islamic.........albeit presented in decietful, sugarcoated language that gullible Americans find it hard to decipher!

    Looks like a damage control effort now that more & more people are finally able to clearly see through his blatant Islamic agenda.

    Also check out my earlier responses above.

    May 28, 2013 at 8:17 am | Reply
  18. TiredOfPaying

    If a group of people bent on world domination were to lock themselves in a basement for a month with the intention of creating a plan to take over the world, Islam would be what they come up with. A vile, xenophobic 'religion' with specific tenets about using violence, subjigating women and taxing/converting/beheading anyone who believes differently. Even that complete forgery Scientology is better – at least they only steal your money.

    Islam either needs to undergo a Reformation or all other religions will join together to wipe them all out. No other option.

    May 28, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
  19. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Robin Jones:

    You said "Finally, a lucid and unambiguous statement of opinion by Fareed Zakaria. Long overdue and very welcome."

    Realistically it's NOT unambigious. As always. Mr. Zakaria DECEITFULLY embeds his Islamist agenda in layers of what sounds as patriotic/freedom loving sugar-coated language. You just need to read it a little carefully and u will see the embedded poison.

    Check out my responses aboove and u will see why I say that.

    May 28, 2013 at 11:36 am | Reply
  20. Towel Heads

    Towel Heads is what Towel Heads do.

    May 28, 2013 at 11:42 am | Reply
  21. fiscaltiger

    it would seem the resident cia propogandist is blaming muslim leaders instead of the media that promotes negative images of the religion. people tend to react to attack. say an african may attack a frenchman for their actions in mali.

    the only good thing about the attack is that it was against a soldier as opposed to a civilian

    May 28, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
  22. fiscaltiger

    I was watching a pbs interview on US drone strikes. it told of the US alqueda man that was killed not because he was an imminent threat but because he was a propoganda person. his sixteen year old son hearing of his dad's death went to the area he was kill to understand what happened. the US proceeded to kill that boy by drone strike also.

    never object to actions that are predicated by previous actions

    May 28, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • TiredOfPaying

      An alquedia propagandist is worse that a normal terrorist, so I'm very glad he's dead. And his 16-year old son would have followed in his footsteps so I'm glad he's dead too. Any more members of his family we can go after?

      May 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Cynthia

      An AlQaeda man who is not an imminent threat?

      An alcohol addict entrusted with keys to the wine cellar?

      A paedophilic predator employed in child care?

      A cheese aficionado like myself entrusted with a closet of cheese?

      May 29, 2013 at 5:00 am | Reply
  23. mhwood

    A couple of suggestions:

    1. Object strenuously to media use of terms like "Islamic terrorists." There can be no such thing.

    2. Address condemnation of terrorism and other ungodly behavior to the perpetrators. The rest of us will hear it too. It will sound more sincere, to some.

    Similar suggestions really apply to any group dealing with people who falsely claim to be members.

    May 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • Don't Tread On Me

      Why not call it what it is....they are islamic and they are terrorists. Why tone done the truth?

      Want to talk about condemning all acts of terrorism. Let's look to the muslim community that always remain quiet as a church mouse against these terrorists.

      May 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  24. xyz

    the more devout a muslim, the more dangerous he is.

    May 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • PBUH

      Jihad virus.Every Muslim is infected.

      July 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  25. ed dugan

    I'm all in favor of the problems in Iraq. Every day the Muslims kill themselves, cleansing the world of them and their evil religion. Let them fight each other, kill each other and by doing so they are doing the world a favor.

    May 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  26. jake1969

    Agree completely. Especially love how Zakaria is willing to take on the justification itself. Not only are we in Afghanistan still because the government does not want us to leave (they get bigtime jitters everytime we announce upcoming withdrawals), but we already fully withdrew from Iraq. It's also true far more muslims die from terror attacks than US attacks. Even from a cold, strategic perspective, terrorism doesn't make sense and doesn't work. What's sad is how many Americans and westerners on these comment boards actually believe the jihadist propaganda and take to the boards blaming everything on the US. Ridiculous. Back to the subject, muslims do need to clean house...just as us white folks had to here in the US. We consistently take head-on the neo-nazis and KKK and arrest them, sue them, and keep constant pressure on them to prevent them committing violence in our name.

    May 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  27. jamesdickason

    The Only thing I want to hear from the Muslims is the door slamming as they leave–

    May 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • Don't Tread On Me


      Pick a fight and then whine about the butt typical of the followers of Islam.

      May 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  28. Skorpio

    Christian Arabs(with a few exceptions) are completely different from Muslim Arabs, everywhere in the world, Muslims are the troublemakers. Only a massive conversion of Muslims to Christianity could be able to stop global Islamic madness, violence and discrimination. "The Satanic Verses"...of the Qu'ran are the root of all evil and prophet Mohammed's highly immoral, cruel, irrational, violent, merciless and discriminatory conduct is the role model for millions of brainless Muslims.

    May 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply
    • Ayah Dawood

      Christians are no different in behavior than Muslims. The problem is not Islam, but Middle Eastern culture. Muslims are far from Islam. If you ask me, Muslim terrorists act like Christian Arabs, not the other way around.

      May 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
      • Don't Tread On Me

        Oh fore real! On what do you base such ridiculous statements....Let's see Christian Arabs have blown up how many world trade centers....cut of the heads of how many non-christians....ridiculously claimed the holocost didn't happen....whined like little brats in a sand box because someone had a negative cartoon about Mohammed....put a hit out on an author because they didn't sing the praises of your false god Allah. Really, what a load. So typical of muslims, make irrational statements and then try to pretend they are fact.

        More of the same islamic blah...blah!

        May 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Ayah Dawood

      I would trust a Western Muslim, Christian, or Jew over a Middle Eastern Muslim, Christian, or Jew. The culture is crazy. I feel deeply for people who grow up in a war, but you know what – they go to peaceful nations terrorizing and imposing their warlike behavior on everyone else. I'm a Muslim, but I'm American. Born and raised in America, and I just don't think or act like Middle easterners. I have met Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the East and they all scare the daylights out of me.

      May 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply
      • andrew

        even your post- you say I'm a Muslim, BUT i'm american. see- you are muslim first, and you always will be. If you had to, you'd pick your religion over america. it's true just going by your post. it's so true.

        May 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
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