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. Knotty Boy

    What Zakaria says in public is one thing. What he does in private, without restraint, is probably another.

    May 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  2. dan

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

    Alleged? Poor choice of words.

    May 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  3. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Knotty Boy:

    The fact is what he says in public is also HIGHLY DECEITFUL in SUGARCOATED PATRIOTIC SOUNDING language with numerous references to America's cherished freedoms etc. (all in an effort to mislead) that many Americans fail to decipher.
    Honestly, I am too tired to provide references (beyond the few here), but just google my name and u will see scores of links.

    Most of his effort has been at FINDING REASONS on why they hate, as also the reasons for their TERROR acts! That alone must be enough to decipher his hidden agenda.

    In an article : "Reflections on 9/11 and aftermath” CNN-GPS Sept 9th, 2011.
    ASTOUNDINGLY he concludes "“The danger comes not from them but from us.”! (Meaning America is a greater danger to the world than even AL-QAEDA).

    May 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  4. Rick McDaniel

    More importantly, than any other argument, Islam must show the world, that they reject coercion and violence to force people to accept the religion and the barbaric laws they have developed from that religion, over time.

    They also have to show they can co-exist, with other religions, which up to this point, seems impossible.

    May 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  5. Ken from FL

    Nice to be able to agree with Fareed, once in a great while.

    May 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  6. bdby

    “The Muslim Council of Britain issued an unequivocal statement condemning the latest killing..” “That is precisely the kind of statement all leaders of Muslim communities need to make whenever one of these kinds of attacks takes place.”

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean a thing. The muslim population cannot be trusted at all in a western society because they base their religion on terror that calls for death of all who do not bow down to allah.

    May 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  7. Hughcity

    Perhaps Fareed Zakaria should have been this clear about murderous terrorism before.

    May 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Greenie

      He certainly does wax and wane on this topic. I would bet he has his own bomb vest in his closet.

      May 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  8. John dos passos

    Fareed wakes up from a deep sleep.
    Failure of islamic leadership. To condemn terror to double speak fo speak of root causes

    Was it the bloody meat cleaver that crystalized. Your thinking.

    No more denial from cnn and fareed that islamic terror is theproblem not radicalized lutherans
    Time to take back your adl award

    May 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  9. Greenie

    I cannot stand religion in general. There are extremists in all religions. HOWEVER in this day and age it is the Islamist that is causing ALL terror in general. Come on people. 6,000 years ago there was no GOD until invented by the people of Judaic faith. Then came Christianity and after that Islam. Prior to that it was worshiping of the earth. If we could just eliminate ALL organized religion I think we would be better off. After all that I have seen and heard over the years there is NO peace in Islam. They even KILL THEIR OWN!! The Sunni's kill the Shiites and vice versa! Then there is the even more vile Wahhabi Islam. Why do they feel it necessary for the women to wear tents? It's right up there with Mormons wearing their special underwear. Not eating meat on Fridays during lent. It is ALL absolutely ridiculous. Come on people tap into your inner grey matter and realize all religion was meant to be was a way to control the masses. We have civil law now. There is NO need for religion. It has only been a precursor to murder from the beginning of its invention.

    May 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • Poodlepuff

      Wrong, there were many religions 6000 years ago. Pick up a history book.

      May 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply
      • Greenie

        Yes there were Norse, Greek and other various religions we now call MYTHOLOGIES! Many polytheist earth religions as well. Constantine was a Pagan prior to converting to Christianity. Yes Poodlepuff I am very aware. And what was there uses??? Like I said before... to control the masses. Are they relevant NOW??? It was Judaism that fabricated the "God" as the religious folks of today refer to. That is what was the point. There is NO purpose to an organized religion in this day and age.

        May 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Greenie

      I have always said that I will not believe in Jesus Christ until I eventually bow the knee before Him.

      May 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
      • Greenie

        Just to be clear that I did not post this comment. Someone is "sharing" my screen name. Nice!!!

        May 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  10. Joe Gutts


    May 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  11. brian

    "The sheer barbarism of the attack on a British soldier in Woolwich is really beyond comprehension."

    The British Empire and colonialism killed millions of people. Is that comprehensible?

    May 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • penny

      Brian, take your meds,
      Ted Bundy murdered a lot of women; I'm a woman and I am offended by the murders he committed. Look, there's a man I don't like! If Ted Bundy murdered women, I can murder men, cause I'm a woman...get it?
      The above scenario s your silly mentality.

      May 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Reply
    • Poodlepuff

      Millions? Hardly. It brought civilization and education to those societies and rights to their peoples.

      May 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • brian

      Alright, hundreds, but see my point?

      May 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • paulm5545

        No – are saying the murders were justified or are you one of those who simply deflects the issue?

        May 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • F

      Two wrongs don't make a right.

      May 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • Dolan

      Yes, retaliate by killing a British soldier in broad daylight who had nothing to do with maintaining the British Empire, which has been abolished for over 50 years. Brilliant. That's the state of mind extremists have.

      May 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  12. penny

    Most Muslims do NOT condemn brutal murders in the name of Islam' there is a reason for that. If you can not figure this reason out, well,...clue phone, it's for you.
    The next question is, "What are we going to do about it?"
    Obviously, talking is not working.

    May 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  13. Poodlepuff

    The truth of the matter is that it is up to Muslims to show that they are capable of living and acting in Western societies. It is not the role nor required of Western societies to adapt the religions and laws of Islam.

    May 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • Greenie

      Well if that is the case why do the Muslim nurses and doctors wear their tents and not the scrub uniforms? Why did we set up a prayer room specifically for our Muslim population at my employer? Can I wear a sieve on my head to work because I am a Pastafarian and my God the Flying Spaghetti Monster insists upon it? I really don't think my employer would buy it, but these people are EXEMPT from the uniform code. Why do men have to remove their hats in a court room but a Muslim woman doesn't remove her head scarf? Because as a nation we PANDER to those people! It is ridiculous.

      May 26, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  14. rswon

    The Muslim leaders don't speak-up for the same reason Christian leaders don't have a collective out-cry when a gay person is killed/beaten or an abortion clinic is bombed (remember those from the '70s and '80s?). They're cowards and don't want to appear "soft" with regards to condemning the "sin du jour".

    May 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  15. Jason

    Western society will soon have to embrace the fact that as a belief system, Islam is decrepit and incompatible with many of the ideas we cherish. It is rooted in the 7th century and dictates every aspect of how people should live their lives including edicts for men to pee sitting down and with which hand to wipe their bum. Islam encourages hiding women away and allows for men to beat them. Mohammed, the supposed messenger from God, was a horrible human being by any standard. A couple of his more righteous acts include his marriage to a 6-year old girl which he consummated when she was only 9 and his brutal murder of a woman by tying her to 2 camels which then torn her in two. Most Muslims are wonderful people but their belief system threatens our way of life and we should not be afraid to say that Islam is rotten. This in no way means that Muslims themselves are rotten or bad in any way, much in the same way that people who believe in the moronic notion that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old are not necessarily morons themselves.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      >> Mohammed, the supposed messenger from God, was a horrible human being by any standard. <<

      let's see.
      – he was married to a divorcee from the age of 25-40
      – no records of him being adulterous, or philadnering during that time
      – worked as a merchant
      – raised several daughters to adulthood

      – started preaching against what he felt was an unjust, cruel and harsh society of his times
      – was offered all manner of bribes and threats to his life to stop
      – endured years and years of hardship and torture from the local fellow tribal elders as a result
      – was thrown out of his home town and had to move to another town
      – they thought highly enough of him apparently to make him the mayor of the town

      – forbade his followers from drinking alcohol and becoming intoxicated
      – told them to clean themselves and use perfume
      – told them to stop burying their daughters and instead raise them with love
      – encouraged justice and discouraged oppression
      – emphasized truth, honesty, goof manners

      donno what's so horrible about him so far!!!! looks like a real noble fellow.
      you are welcome to list all his bad qualities and see how the two add up!!

      June 11, 2013 at 4:12 am | Reply
  16. Solomon Walker

    I think we need another Crusade.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      well, let's take a breather and recover from Bush's crusade for a couple of decades and then try again, shall we.

      June 11, 2013 at 4:14 am | Reply
  17. Tracy Walters

    Yes, Muslims should respond by condemning these acts, and take action in the countries where the attackers come from. But much of the Muslim world is silent, or celebrates the attacks.

    Will the real peace loving Muslims please stand up and explain that? Why do the terrorists come from the ranks of Muslims, and why has so much evidence been found that links people in Mosques around the world, including the US and the UK that shows there is support there for terrorism?

    Please explain that to us, those of you claim to be peace loving, mainstream Muslims. Are you part of those groups? Do you turn a blind eye to them? Why do you not decry them and oust them from your ranks?

    May 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • Richard Hode

      Muslims all over the world celebrated the news of 9/11. That will not be forgotten.

      May 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  18. F

    I have never seen such racist generalisations as I have in the comment section here. I live in Britain, in a town that has a fairly prominent Islamic community (about 10% of the population are Islamic). All of the ones I have spoken to have condemned the attack completely. The extremists are not Islamic, they are nutcases who use religion as an excuse for their actions. They do not follow or abide to the beliefs of the Qu'ran or Allah. To label "millions" of Muslims as terrorists is a huge overestimate, and I come from a country that has had acts of terror inflicted on it by "Islamic" extremists.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  19. Muslim in Canada

    Wow. The ignorance on this thread is through the roof...

    There's no such thing as 72 virgins in Heaven -.- it's a complete and utter myth.

    Secondly, to the genius who said "God is Great, Allah ain't God"
    I have a little news for you. Allah, is actually the WORD for God in Arabic! :O Christians in the middle East say Allah. Jews in the Middle East say Allah. It's the Arabic word for God. That's like me saying Spanish and Espanol are two TOTALLY different things -.- it's a completely different language.

    Third. About 99.9 percent of the world's Muslims are against the B.S. that they see going on in the world. No one likes a terrorist, no one likes an extremist. But there are extremists in every religion so the fact that people are still shocked? Blows my mind. The unfortunate part is a Western media which loves to single out Islam because then you people EAT. IT. UP.

    Now I'm a hockey playing, moose loving, can't get enough poutine Canadian Citizen. But my love is for God. The same God Jesus was sent from. The same God Moses was sent from. The same God Abraham was sent from. The same God Moses was sent from. A God who tells us in the Quran more or less that, to kill an innocent person is like killing all of mankind.


    Grow up and stop spreading hate. 90% of the fear is self instilled by U.S. citizens. wake up and smell the Shawarma.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • Heloise

      There is no god(s) Canuck. Its over when you die, so rethink your life now (and poutine is horrible for you!!)
      ps. Why did you ever give up on HORUS?! He also had a virgin mom (hee hee), rose from the dead, traveled the land performing miracles with 12 dudes etc etc AND he came at least 1000 years before your black guy who is now a white guy.

      pps 99% of mankind's religions (read myths) are now not practiced and considered folklore.

      ppps 99% of Earth's species have gone extinct. It isn't about us. Thanks, so long, and cheers for all the fish!

      May 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  20. MianMohsin Kalim-siddiqui

    To every problem their is a solution. With Boston bombing and soldier killed in UK, there are ways to solve these problems. I think the religious leaders have some responsibility. I am suggesting few steps which may be of help to control these such problems.
    Mandatory continuing education for religious leaders (Imam, Saint, Preachers etc.) once a year to educate how can these important people work for the betterment of this country.
    If at least they end up their speeches by simple sentence like:
    "GOD BLESS America" or
    "GOD may keep this Country and the People safe" or
    any sentence which feels affection and love for the people and country.
    Any other better ideas may be looked at. Our goal should be to solve problems in the best way. I believe brain are much better to solve problems than bullets.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  21. Richard Hode

    The vociferous denunciations of the murderers is nothing but taqiyya, the Muslim dispensation to lie, deceive, and obfuscate whenever necessary to excuse their religion for the misdeeds committed in its name.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  22. edga buell

    Proposed Fatwa: "Jihad is forbidden as of today."
    why can't the Islamic hadith and quran scholars and religious guidance leaders in Azhar, Mecca and Karbala agree on that statement.
    It will give civilized Muslims a widely accepted premise to argue from.
    The Muslim authority that will make such a fatwa and start a movement towards demilitarization of Islam will win the noble peace price and save Islam from going the way of barbaric religions that refused to adapt to civil co-existence.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      imagine if the allied forces had decided, "fighting back the forces of evil (nazis) is forbidden. we are not going to do anything, we are just going to sit their like ducks and let the nazis do whatever they want.

      saying "jihad is forbidden" is EXACTLY the same as the statement above. I hope with this similitude you now realize the sheer stupidity of your desire to eliminate jihad among muslims.

      June 11, 2013 at 4:20 am | Reply
  23. Spoder

    Some of the comments on here are so racists and ignorant it's frightening. I seriously hope America is not as anti-Muslim as this comment section has made it out to be.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • Ayatollah Khomeini

      "I seriously hope America is not as anti-Muslim as this comment section has made it out to be."

      Islam itself is a crime against humanity. Being against the practice and spread of Islam (Islamophobia) is the most righteous thing any human can do.

      May 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  24. Sane Person

    So, how christians should respond to catholic pedophilia and child molestation?

    May 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  25. reader10

    They are nice when they are the minority.
    But behold when they become the majority.
    They start demanding to have their religion to be part of the lands law.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      what a childish statement!
      what majority does not ask their values to become the defacto standard in society?

      June 11, 2013 at 4:22 am | Reply
  26. Muslim in Canada

    I really want to go off on a tangent about how wrong people are when it comes to the word Jihad... but I'll keep it simple

    IT DOESNT MEAN HOLY WAR. It's from the root word in Arabic 'Jihadah'. It means to struggle or strive in the cause of God...
    Strive to build the community, strive against oppression, and most importantly, strive to be better people...

    It KILLS me that the media calls terrorists "Jihadis"
    What the flip is a Jihadi? I've never heard of one before... sounds like something that belongs on urban dictionary along with YOLO and all the other B.S. phrases we're using these days -.-

    May 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  27. edmundburkeson

    When you try to find any clear direction on any subject important to modern civilization both in the Muslim religion/civilization and the Koran, you will only be met with frustration. You will search in vain for any clear prohibition against killing and plenty to support both slaughter and lawlessness. You will find both praise for Christianity and the Jewish faith and also clear anti-Judeo-Christian practices and teachings. Mohammed forbade having more than 4 wives even thought the Koran says that God created 1 woman for 1 man, and yet Mohammed violated both at will. Add to this no guarantee of salvation at death, no clear definition of what justice is, no description or understanding of God and his character. The biggest threat to Islam at this point is that people will take it seriously and start examining its claims. It simply does not pass the truth test. So why are people expecting a forthcoming answer from Islam at this point that provides a clear direction for Islam? It does not have an answer internally that provides direction!!!

    May 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      >> You will search in vain for any clear prohibition against killing and plenty to support both slaughter and lawlessness.<<


      "And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression" Verse 2:193

      "O ye who believe! the LAW of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome grat itude, this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty. " Verse 2:178

      "It was We who revealed the LAW (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of LAW: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. " Verse 5:44

      "And We ordained LAWs for him in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things, (and said): "Take and hold these with firmness, and enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts: soon shall I show you the homes of the wicked,- (How they lie desolate)." Verse 7:145

      "Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the LAW)" Verse 17:33

      June 11, 2013 at 4:39 am | Reply
  28. chuckmartel

    Here is how the US should respond. Cleanse the filth of islam from the US now. At only1 percent the US population, they are in the news every day for killing or trying to kill fellow Americans. Everyday they blow up other islamies in islami land. Anyone who can read and count would understand that. Ironically the west could literally exterminate islam, we are just too PC stupid to fight back. Even without the disproportionately large terror attacks, the last thing this country needs are a bunch of dark age, rag headed idiots that whip out rugs and pray 5 times a day. The bible bangers are bad enough but are tame compared to the islamies. Muzzies, just leave the west, you are evil genocidal disease,

    May 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  29. Jon

    Very good Prince Myshkyn. Just for the record, the sky is also blue.

    May 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  30. GodisdeadandburiedwithCRONUS

    What about that psycho Jesus follower in Norway? Seriously, religion is just plain bad for everyone now that science/reason/logic/cognitive awareness has advanced light years beyond when these mythologies were written by man. Anyone human who actually believes that they will live after they die, and not only live, but live in a paradise with loved ones for trillions of years beyond their corporeal existence is so deeply flawed as to always be a source of danger. LOSE THE SKY FAERIES PEOPLE, ALL OF THEM!!! (maybe switch to particle physics, just a thought)

    May 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
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