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.

Post by:
Topics: Islam • Terrorism • United Kingdom

soundoff (805 Responses)
  1. Bobby

    After seeing hundreds of Muslims go feral after some "insult" to their faith I see no reason to trust Islam, It's not just a few fanatics, it's tens of thousands. This is the face of all religions when push comes to shove, they will all kill if they have to and 99% of the time it is to defend themselves, or so they say.

    May 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  2. why am I being censored?

    why am I being censored?

    May 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  3. Dirk Lemmons

    The decades of silence by the Muslims against the continued violence of Islamic Jihad speaks volumes about their Religion. We're told there are a billion or more that follow Allah but we don't hear much more than a peep from this colossal following of Mohammad. It speaks for itself. We can only conclude that Jihad is the cornerstone of the Muslim religion. There never will be a large Muslim out crying against Jihad. How can there be when Jihad is Islam. The only solution to the Islamic violence is found in turning them from Islam to a more peaceful religion. Their theology does not allow them to argue with the Jihadist.

    May 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • EarthRotation

      "Jihad is the cornerstone of Islam"
      I agree, and this is a good reason for governments to reclassify Islam as a political movement instead of a religion. It would allow governments to eject Islam's followers, and ban its existence in society.

      May 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  4. andrew

    if these killers hate UK and UK soldiers so much, why dont they leave UK and go to hell or pakistan or some muslim country and pray all day? don't like UK- get out. They hate the policies, the hate the UK government, they hate hate hate, then leave! get out. why do you stay there? for the cushy life? for the english football, girls, cool pubs? what, you don't have all that good stuff in the muslim countries? no wonder you are so goddam bitter. get the hell out.

    May 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  5. suzie

    Muslim are happy of September 11 but confused and kept silent about the death of innocent victims. THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
    1/ For Muslim it is a DUTY for every Muslim to conquer and destroy America or the West. It is a jihad that every Muslim must do.





    May 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Reply
  6. Mac

    If all this erupts into genocide of muslims, like the holocaust, it'll just end up empowering muslims in the end the way it empowered jews. Jews are much better off today than they were prior to WW2.

    May 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  7. ThankaMUSLIM

    Why are my comments being censored?

    May 28, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  8. Thank A MUSLIM

    I do not appreciate being censored. I have not written anything violating the terms of services. The sad truth is if you speak a voice that does not fit your (CNN) agenda it does not get posted... This is very troubling when we get to a point where we don't even have freedom of speech.

    May 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  9. Thank A MUSLIM

    I wrote a response and submitted and it and it did not post. I kept trying to resubmit that response but every time I resubmit that response it does not accept that post. That's how I know this is censored.

    May 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  10. Tigresse

    In principal, Zakaria is right: there needs to be more visible reaction from mainstream Muslims around the world who do NOT support fanaticism. It's not enough for a moderate Muslim leader to come out and condemn the act in the press; moderate Muslims need to mobilize and march in the street. However, doing that in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, could get these marchers killed, something that must be considered, since Al Qaeda and the Taliban continue to murder innocent Muslims within both of these countries, every day.

    May 29, 2013 at 12:31 am | Reply
  11. klowiepowie

    Bukhari:V4B52N220 "Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror.'"
    How should Muslims respond? By telling that they are against Islam and their terrorist child raping prophet. How should Nazi's respond to killing Jews? But hey.. not every Muslim is a terrorist. Remember that.

    May 29, 2013 at 1:03 am | Reply
  12. klowiepowie

    Bukhari:V4B52N220 "Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror.'"
    How should Muslims respond? By telling that they are against Islam and their terrorist child raping prophet. How should Nazi's respond to genocide? But hey.. not every Muslim is a terrorist. Remember that.

    May 29, 2013 at 1:04 am | Reply
  13. alane

    'Refute the madmen' .. and conveniently absolve the violent ideology Islam. Nice deflect again Fareed. Blame it always on one or two madmen hre.. then there again.. dont look at the middle east.. just a couple 'madmen'.. Or Sweden, or Europe, or Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, etc etc.. all over the world.. But dont look at all that,,, .Just shrug it off as all being just a few 'madmen' here and there.
    Fareed is becoming a covert whitewashing front for Islam

    May 29, 2013 at 2:12 am | Reply
  14. Cynthia

    The good job that European govts have done to install relative calm is due in no small part to the Muslim community recognising the role they have to play to keep their communities safe, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    A Muslim terror perpetrator is no different from a non-Muslim one.

    A non-Muslim who starts shooting in malls or schools PRIMARILY wants to do it regardless of any reason and then back-pedals to find the most convenient excuse to justify that atrocious tendency.

    In the case of the London hacking incident, the most convenient excuse was UK soldiers' killing Afghan Muslim terrorists. What the hacker fails to consider is the soldiers' valiant actions to defend the freedom of Muslims in Afghanistan.

    But the far-right are making things worse. They would be no worse than the hacker because regardless they will be looking for reasons to kick any Muslim (and if there were no Muslim, then Catholics or Latinos) out of Britain. The rest of the populace just get sucked up without thinking.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:50 am | Reply
  15. Ex muslims Union

    One who is Human canot be a MUslim and One who is a muslim canot be a human, because ISlam and Humanity are two mutually exclusive things. I reject islam and muslims as a part of Human society

    May 29, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
  16. palintwit

    Very often a male teabagger will leave his trailer park and go to a neighboring trailer park in search of a female teabagger to mate with. If she becomes pregnant their spawn will be called a baggette.

    May 29, 2013 at 8:49 am | Reply
  17. Amit-Atlanta-USA


    Neither any MUSLIM LEADER



    Will EVER unequivocally condemn TERROR committed by THEIR BRETHREN.

    STOP YOUR PRETENSIONS MR. ZAKARIA............Looks like TAQIYYA in full play to people who UNDERSTAND YOU WELL!

    May 29, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply
    • Rahiin me??? Do you honestly believe what you wrote? Are you incapable of doing a simply Google search? Just google "Muslims condemn terrorism" and you'll get literally HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of sources. I'm tired of people repeating that idiotic lie "Muslims don't condemn terrorism." YES WE DO. If you choose not to listen on purpose then that's not our problem!!

      May 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
      • Mark Nolan (Mechanicville)

        I have to disagree.

        People in the West long ago stopped buying into this "Muslim condemnation" baloney. I don't see it and the reason I don't see it is because it's just not there.

        Thousands ? Why not millions ?

        You need to come up with a new song and dance routine. Sadly, you won't be able to do it. Your religion preaches violence, hatred, murder and that's all there is to it.

        I lived in Western Europe for two years so I know everybody (probably yourself included) thinks Americans are stupid, but trust me, we're not as dumb as we look.

        That debacle in England the other day only made the focus of Islam much clearer to the rest of the "civlized" world. That was by far the most barbaric act I've seen yet. And I can only imagine the things I haven't seen.

        Good luck trying to convince us that Islam is peaceful. You'll surely need all the luck you can get.

        May 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • Wasi

        Mark you can continue to imagine or talk about facts. Islam is a religion that is based on human nature. If you corner a human being and leave him no choice he will fight back tooth and nail to save his life. The argument that the West is now using to masacre Muslims in the name of civilization or its "way of life" is the same argument that those "radicals" use. So stop the catch 22.

        America has gone to hell in a hand basket it seems. The entire comments thread here is full simply of hate. There is not a single person using their brains it seems. What happened to calling a spade a spade? What is wrong has to be called wrong. That means if a Muslim does something wrong call it that wrong (someone suggested all 1.5 billion muslims should be on the street burning tires to protest like they were protesting when they feel Islam is under attack.. And my answer is what those people on the street do is Unislamic. There is no tradition of protests in the time of Muhammad as far as I know. And there is certainly no reason to burn tires and have disorderly conduct destroying government/public property).

        However when an American does something wrong we need to call it wrong. And our government does plenty of things wrong in our name.

        Instead here are people talking about the west getting radicalized and "WE ARE ACTIVELY HOLDING OUR FIRE IN A LAST-DITCH ATTEMPT TO REASON WITH YOU."

        Holding fire doesn't cause the bloodshed that has already been shed as retribution for 9/11. People blame religion for an eye for an eye leads to the whole world going blind. So what about "wiping out all the Muslims"? Ethnic cleansing is now justified? Unbelieveable. Over 3000 people died on 9/11 and millions have been killed in Iraq, and Afganistan. So what's worse the response from the west or eye for an eye.

        Please tear apart my argument here. But I fail to understand the logic and I am a Muslim. I am the one who is supposed to be illogical right? So please tear apart my argument. I want a dialog not a diatribe please humor me.

        June 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  18. rudolf vs

    Hmm... If the mohammedan leaders do not speak out against the crimes committed by many mohammedans;
    then we perchance need to remove the mohammedans from our country.

    May 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  19. Rahiin

    We'll start condemning every terrorist attack committed by a Muslim, just when every white person condemns every terrorist attack committed by a white person, and when every Christian condemns every terrorist attack committed by a Christian, etc etc. Sound ridiculous? Thought so. If you guys aren't going to do it, why should we? Why have two sets of rules, one for Muslims, and the other for every one else? Sorry the world doesn't work that way. You can't ask someone to do something that you aren't willing to do yourself!

    May 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Christian Terrorist?

      I've never heard of someone yelling Jesus! just before blowing a bunch of people. I know Christians are capable of horrible atrocities, but RARELY in this century are they ever doing it in the name of religion. Was McVeigh carrying a bible and wearing a cross when he lit the fuse? Maybe, just haven't ever heard that.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:42 am | Reply
  20. Raju Charles

    The British must use the drone to take out the hate mongers and terrorist within the country! War on terror!

    May 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  21. KTShamim

    Muslims should promote the peaceful verses in the Qur'an:

    [Qur'an 5:9] "O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do."

    [Qur'an 4:136] "O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, ..."

    [Qur'an 5:33] "... whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. ..."

    And they should do acts like the following:

    Muslimsforlife(dot)org – successfully collected 10,000 pints of blood to honor 3,000 dead of 9/11 (by saving 30,000 lives.
    Muslimsforpeace(dot)org – condemning terrorism, promoting Islamic value of loyalty to ones nation, peace, bus-ads and flyers and leaflets to promote the same.
    love4all(dot)org(dot)uk – We serve humanity in many ways including a wide range of activities that provide disaster relief, medical facilities, energy, education and self-help programmes across the world.

    May 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  22. Mark Nolan (Mechanicville)

    Oh ! So the Muslim Council of Britain has condemned the actions of those two MUSLIM thugs ? Gee...What else is the MCB going to say ? LOl...Yeah we're all like realy stupid here in the West...

    You Muslims are SO MUCH SMARTER than everybody else. I mean just look at all the wonderful contributions and advancements to the human race that Muslims have made over the last 25 years... Let's see, where do I start counting ? Ummm....Actually I'll have to get back to you on that one...Bye ! : )

    May 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  23. Beefburger

    The religion of blown-to-pieces.

    May 30, 2013 at 2:22 am | Reply
  24. Beefburger

    "and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice" Your brand of "justice" is usually carried out by someone reading a charge sheet written by an imam, another holding the condemed, then cut of their head with a pen knife in the middle of the street while shouting "ALLU AHKBAR!".

    May 30, 2013 at 2:26 am | Reply
  25. BarryG

    Here's what I fear for (NOT about) Muslims. "They love death more than we live life". Their societies are ringed with violence and filled with oppression. There is almost no creative output, few books written, almost no new discoveries or achievements. They feel their God and prophet are sooo weak that they must be violently defended at the slightest impulse.

    I fear for them that they the actually have been duped into worshipping Satan, not God. That's the practice, that's the hand on the machette that's the love of death, that's the suicide murders. Satan.

    May 30, 2013 at 2:32 am | Reply
  26. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Mark Nolan (Mechanicville) & others:'

    Sure, while the London killing was barbaric, just check out the Beslan school massacre, the Moscow theater siege, and India's Mumbai killings. These surpass even 9/11 may NOT be in terms of the number of people killed, BUT in their SHEER BARBARITY.

    May 30, 2013 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Mark Nolan (Mechanicville)

      Hi Amit,

      Ever time I read one of Mr Zakaria's columns I want to ask him this question:

      Dear Sir:

      Do you believe that any group of people who refuses to join the human race automatically has the right to go around killing members of that same civilized human race ? Please spare me the spin and just answer Yes or No.

      That would put him on the spot, wouldn't it ? : )

      July 9, 2013 at 12:18 am | Reply
  27. Peace

    For all of you who do not have any history knowledge: It was actually the west (USA) who arranged to bring to power the “Islamic extremist “governments in the Middle East. This way they wanted to prevent the spreading of communism from Soviet which was happening at the time. If Soviet would conquer the Middle East, USA would lose all its benefits from that area. All the oil money would be gone. That meant USA would no longer be the “Super power”. USA started funding and building extremist groups like Al Qaida. Now this has backfired and USA does not have a clue have to fix it.
    The problem is not the religion Islam. Muslims are peaceful people.
    Unfortunately their countries are governed by either extremist fanatic religious leaders or by plain dictators. People are oppressed, killed and tortured for any reasons. These crazy leaders use religion to gain control and power over the people. They interpret the Koran however they want to suit their purpose at that moment. They are not true Muslims. They are dictators.
    USA can never leave those countries alone because of its Economic and political interests in that area. USA uses ” helping people” as an excuse to send troops to those countries to protect its own interest, not to protect people of that country.
    To distract people’s mind away from the problems in their own countries, the Dictators in Middle East blame all their problems on the black sheep (USA). Of course there are ignorant uneducated easily brain-washed people everywhere.
    People, educate yourselves first! Do not just assume things are the way media depicts them. It is all about politics.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Reply
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