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. Understatementoftheyear

    Muslims will protest by the thousands if someone creates a caricature of their prophet. Their leaders will call for death and reprisal. But someone commits a heinous crime in the name of Islam and few will speak out. Yes, some do speak out. But where are the mass protests? If you're that devout and inclined to vigorously defend your beliefs, it would reason the defense would reflect the offense. How can such an abomination be tolerated more than a cartoon? Islam's priorities are warped. Plain and simple

    May 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

      As is your "logic".

      May 26, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Reply
      • Understatementoftheyear

        And your point?

        May 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

        I see comprehensions not your thing.

        May 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • Understatementoftheyear

        Enlighten me. Neither the article nor my post has anything to do with any Nation or Social Services (Food Stamps). But now that you mention it, how many of those 46 Million (I have no idea if that is an accurate figure nor do I care in the context of this article) do you suppose are Muslim? Don't know that number either but I would bet it is not zero. So again I ask, what's your point?

        May 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
      • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

        I see reading comprehension is no longer taught in the land of the "free'. If you can't figure out what I'm saying, that's your problem.

        And I would wager that a significant amount of your food stamp recipients are white trash. Glory be!

        May 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • Greenie

        You comment on food stamp recipients as white trash?? Please, please, please come and take a gander at the folks applying for them in my county. SOMALIANS!!!!!! More Somalians than those of Hispanic origin. The same folks who refuse to wear our work uniforms. They still insist upon wearing their tents. They REFUSE to wear hospital scrubs. They insist on wearing their religious garb.
        Let me tell you I am respecting FRANCE more and more every day with their laws forbidding religious attire in public employment such as hospitals and schools!

        May 26, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Adam

      In todays world Muslims are rapidly changing. Muslims are networking with each other across the globe. Many Muslims see attacks on one Muslim country as an attack against their brother and his family. US and Britain combined have the biggest stockpile of WMDs in the world. Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan comparatively have none.
      They cannot fight against the big weaponry US and Britain have. So they resort to cleaver and knife jobs here and there. Michael Adebolajo is an example of performing such a job on the British gunner who returned from Afghanistan.
      The world is calling it "barbaric and horrific", When bombs fell in Iraq... press called it "Shock and Awe!" When they bombed in Afghanistan.. it was "civilized" warfare while killing men women and children. Sophisticated weaponry seems more civilized to Western media than the "meat cleaver and knife" jobs.

      Obama recently said... the world is changing rapidly. Meaning Muslims are being radicalized more than we expected.
      My take is that if Obama does not change the drone policy, Muslim drones will arrive in US soon to address the US drones already killing people in Muslim lands. The politicians must not bury their heads in the sand but rework their drone policy. You see they don't know the difference. When you kill, you are afraid of being killed. You use drones and cruise missles with gps coordinates. You huddle in your Situation Room miles away. When they kill they are ready to die. That's the difference.

      May 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  2. MagicPanties

    I fart in the general direction of your prophet.

    May 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      unfortunately, that is not going to make any difference in the rapidly expanding population of muslims! coming to a neighborhood near you. perhaps you should attach your fart to one of your deadly mega weapon systems?

      June 12, 2013 at 2:06 am | Reply
  3. MagicPanties

    When I hear Muslims preach in favor of secular governments, zero religious involvement, only then might I trust.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

      Just like the U.S., right?

      May 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • Dave


      May 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  4. Dave



    May 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"



      May 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Reply
      • dodo

        Not all democrats are criminals, but almost all criminals are democrats

        May 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

        No, dodo, most criminals are stupid.

        May 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  5. Beth

    Gee Fareed, only three hate-filled terrorist attacks in the past eight years? Sounds like they're doing great!

    May 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  6. NayNay

    Reading all these ignorant comments just shows how LITTLE the American people know about Islam or about the killings that occur on a daily basis by any other religion. It just shows how stupid they are and how the media can convince them of anything they please.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply


      Your comment are ignorant sounds like your putting down Americans hope you do not live in USA and if you
      do then you should not be here .This is America land of freedom get it

      May 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      unfortunately that works both ways :---)
      americans may be ultra-stupid and ignorant about islam
      but muslims too are ultra-stupid and ignorant about americans

      June 12, 2013 at 2:08 am | Reply
  7. Shawn D

    When they caught the Boston Marathon terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev there were Muslims in clear view applauding the Boston Police over capturing him. I agree that Muslims should show a united stand of renouncing radicals that use their faith as a crutch, just as many Christian churches renounce the KKK. It should also be noted that the most famous radicals claiming Islam are "not" Middle Eastern Muslims, they are from other territories, such as the case with the latest Boston Marathon terrorists. It could be there is a major confusion upon conversion to Islam in regards to non Middle-Eastern Muslims, perhaps the methodology and practices need to be looked at within the faith itself.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Reply
    • Adam

      Yes I fully recommend all in Congress and Senate to study the Quran and learn why the enemy is doing what it is doing.

      May 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  8. Name*silencingcritics

    Read an excellent book. Islam. Silencing the critics. It's on amazon.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  9. Adam

    Common Farid Zakaria... you are a journalist and you know better who invited US and British forces in Afghanistan... It was US. You are asking the puppet leaders of those nations to go against their people. They will be risking their lives to defend an occupying power. US has been bribing Karzai and yet its not working as people are opposed to US and Afghan forces. Is Green on Green attacks not evident to you. I mean Afghan soldiers killing American troops ..Is it not obvious that US is not invited nor must stay.

    People in Pakistan believe that once US and allied forces leave Afghanistan the Taliban will put down their weapons and go back to farming. You don't need American army to defend the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan against terrorists. Their enemy is western occupation (the first enemy).

    Michael Adebolajo killed the British soldier to fight for his Muslim brothers in Afghanistan. He clearly stated his reason. He was inspired by Surah Tauba in Quran which says Fight those that fight against you and kill those that kill your families... but if the enemy makes peace.. then make peace. The soldier was a gunner who had returned from killing people in Afghanistan.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  10. donttell

    I went to a Muslim college in India for my bachelors. There is one fact about Islam which is never highlighted. TRUE MUSLIM CAN NEVER KEEP DOGS AS PET OR IN THEIR COUNTRY IF A STAUNCH FOLLOWER OF PROPHET MOHAMMED.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

      BULLSH!T. !!!!

      Muslims are treated like crap in India. Always have been.

      May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Reply
      • donttell

        Have you lived in India to comment on this?

        May 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

        No, I have not.

        And neither have you.

        May 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      millions of dogs in the muslim world. but mostly as guard dogs and hunting dogs and shepherd dogs. dogs as pets are strongly discouraged in islam, so you are probably talking about city dwelling muslims, where dogs are only useful as pets. so that would explain why you would never see muslims with dogs in india, as most muslims live in ghettos in major Indian cities.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:18 am | Reply

    I am British living in USA and I am so upset that has happened we never had an issue in Uk ,and to have this happen
    are not Muslims to be peaceful people that is a lot of BS ,They belive in what they want to their religion is not the norm
    so to speak .if we have people living in the UK that hate us then they should not be in our Country ,what a sad world we live in today ,

    May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

      Bet it makes you long for the good old days of the IRA, huh?

      May 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  12. dodo

    The only ones who can stop muslim terrorism are muslims. Every single muslim is responsible to stop terrorism.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      but you can help them a lot, by not illegally invading their countries and changing regimes.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:20 am | Reply

    The only good muslim is a dead muslim..... They are the scourge of the earth. The lowest and most ignorant form of human beings all because of their sick and twisted hypocritical religion.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

      You are a load that should have ran down the crack of your teenage mama's @ss.

      May 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Reply

    yes that's right but they will not its their religion they are not free peopel

    May 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  15. Max

    Muslims are not treated like crap in india. They are treated with respect just like anybody else. Its hindus and christians that are treated like crap in pakistan and their temples and churches burnt down in the name of islam. If you speak out against islam or their prophet mohammed you can be killed. You go to dubai and most of the low cast workers are south indian hindus or christians that are treated like garbage by the muslims.

    Does anybody on here remember the 2002 Godhra train burning incident where thousands of hindu pilgrims were killed at the hands of muslims. I bet nobody on here remembers that because they are way to liberal and proud to admit that there is a problem with muslims. People are to afraid to face facts and are to scared they might insult somebody and hurt their feelings.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Reply
    • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

      Lovely Hindu propaganda.

      May 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Reply
      • Max

        You're a funny guy. Show how much you know or how ignorant you are. Man would I like to meet you face to face to see who you are and talk some sense into you. How is this hindu propaganda? It actually happened along with countless number or other acts done by muslims towards hindus. The godhra incident was one examlpe and I was merely trying to explain to another poster who said muslims are treated bad in india.

        There are so many uneducated people here commenting its not even funny. Even when I am writing accurate facts down people still don't seem to realize what is going on and keep on denying the obvious. I feel bad for all you people, go ahead and live in your little bubble.

        May 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • 46 Million on food stamps - such "greatness"

        "Thousands"? Try 58. And for what it's worth, reprisals against Muslims resulted in 790 deaths in Gujarat.

        Speaking of "ignorance".........................

        May 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  16. Mass Murderer Lincoln

    One day Amerika will pick a fight with some one who can actually fight back. Then we'll here some REAL screaming.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      americans will just LOVE THAT. can't wait. nothing like a big war, with guns and flying jets and submarines and missiles. Americans love this stuff, they live for use of guns and boom booom. watching gunfights and war movies virtually every weekend. Bring it ON...........

      June 12, 2013 at 2:24 am | Reply
  17. Jason Viper

    I knew an Iranian kid back in HS/early college. He told me his mom didn't like America. She was an established realtor in town. It just goes to show, they can come here, and by all visible indications "assimilate" into western culture...but deep down inside, the roots of hatred are still planted.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  18. A Muslim

    Please note that most of the people committing these horrible acts are saying themselves that they are doing it in retaliation of what is happening in other countries. I haven't heard them saying that Islam orders them to do this. Their actions are motivated by their anger and for geo-political reasons, it is not about Islam. If they had known anything about Islam, they would have learned that killing civilians and innocents is strictly prohibited even in the state of war. It is a clear message from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Please don't listen to hatemongers on this board who like to quote Quran and Hadith without context.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Reply
    • observer1776

      Nice try. Your are choosing to ignore the Imans all over the Mid-East, and one in the USA who are preaching Jihad of the Sword against the USA. You are choosing to ignore the nation states like Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia etc where vast throngs scream "Death to America". You are using Jihad of the tongue and pen to placate the Infidel enemies.

      May 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  19. Wastrel

    "[T]hese madmen claim that they are killing in the name of Islam and someone has to refute their claims," says Farheed. The problem is that they are doing exactly what they say they are doing and their claim cannot be refuted. They actually think they are killing in the name of Islam. The long history of Islamic war and terrorism seems to give them additional justification in their minds. And how do you argue with them after they are dead?

    "Then Farheed goes on to say," British – and American and other allied soldiers – are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected government." So what? The terrorists do not recognize that government.

    I have to say I'm pleased that Farheed called them "madmen" but I'm waiting for him to make sense.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  20. observer1776

    The question is:
    How much of Islam is at war with us?
    How many actively?
    How many passively?
    Our closet Muslim President says that we are not at war with Islam.
    Supposedly there are only a "few" deranged individuals.
    Meanwhile all over the Mid-East and the USA , Imans are preaching to sizable crowds about performing Jihad of the Sword against us and other Infidels.
    Nation states such as Iran Yemen and Somalia are preaching ":Death to the USA">
    The subversive in the White House is trying to bring us to defeat and dhimmitude.

    May 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      >> Meanwhile all over the Mid-East and the USA , Imans are preaching to sizable crowds about performing Jihad of the Sword against us and other Infidels.<<

      I would have to disagree with you on that. Most mainstream islamic movements in the muslim world with most of the large mosques under their control do not preach jihad against infidels. You are taking the 1 out of 100 unaffiliated mosque with a jihadi preacher and presenting it as normal. which is totally not the case. possibly in yemen, palestine, somalia yes. but not in the big muslim nations like Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi and so forth.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:12 am | Reply
  21. Hugh_Mann

    Yes, the White Supremacists that hate all "other" people, Breiviks that abhor mixing of "the races", are the ones stirring the pot.
    They are extremeists and terrorists too, and everyone is turning a blind eye to it.

    May 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  22. Annonymous

    I respect Fareed Zakaria and I would love to see his response to my comment. Feel free to email me.

    About the last paragraph where Fareed Zakaria talks about the US being in afghan and middle east and all the Muslim countries to protect people from Al Qaeda is a joke. The US has been at war for over 200 YEARS, almost a war for every year US existed. The reason that the allied forces are in those countries is to exploit the resources of those countries for America's benefit. Afghan has trillions of dollars worth of reserves of natural resources, and america is building pipelines through afghan for its benefit. The traditional Muslim lands, Ottoman empire, combined have more than 75-80 percent of the world natural resources and control territories that connect the west to the east. If one nation were to control all those territories it would definitely be the super power with wealth, resources, trading routes, and military power. This is why US and Russia want to keep the Muslim lands divided. This is why the US arms the syrian rebels and Russia arms Syrian military to keep Muslims fighting among themselves. They don't want the Muslims to think of themselves as one rather many different secs, because they know a united Muslim nation would be detrimental to the west power.

    The US uses false premise wars for their benefits just like going to Iraq (one of the largest know oil reserves) which we all know was a false premise.

    I respect a nation that just tells it's people we are going to Iraq to steal their oil wealth more than one that claims some false connection to Al Qaeda.

    I respect a nation that tells its people, "Yes we use drone to kill people," rather than one where White house cheif, "What are we talking about."

    Oh and the best false pretense, Bush "We want to spread democracy to Iraq"

    May 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      I would have to disagree with you on some of your points, especially about America having been at war for over 200 years. Unlike Europe, America was not a colonial empire that used perpetual war as an economic activity. This only changed after World War Two, as Eisenhower himself famously pointed out.

      I would argue that America became addicted to wars as a result of its tragic involvement in World War Two, whence it ramped up its industrial production to produce weapon systems and in trying to help Europeans fight tyranny, it ended up addicted to the weapons manufacturing thereafter.

      this is a very tragic story. A person buys a gun to help out his neigbor under threat of asssault, but in doing so, the person becomes addicted to guns and shooting people and can't get back to normal life. this is the story of modern day America. The weapons development and manufacturing of 1938 – 1945 proved so successful and so technologically fruitful, that America has not been the same since. It is now addicted to war.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:19 am | Reply
  23. observer1776

    There is some truth in what you say. We are in Afghanistan because it is estimated that there is more than 3 trillion dollars of strategic minerals located there. That, however does not take away from the evils of Islam, Sharia law, and Jihad of the Sword.

    May 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  24. Randall

    The Muslims need to respond to terrorists the way Uncle Ruslan did in Maryland. With no uncertain waffle words, with passion and heartfelt shame.

    May 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  25. bob

    How about instead they pack up and go back to muslim countries –
    islam is the epitome of bigotry islam is contrary to practically every liberal ideal there is,
    islam is synonymous with censorship and conflict,
    Islam has 100% consistenty decimated every culture it has infected intill islam has become dominate or intill it is forcefully removed
    islam always seeks to assert islam into state law, education,
    islam is always means the erosion of freedom, free speech, gender equality,
    islam has always persecuted non muslims the infidel the kaffir
    islam is a totalitarian conformist supremacist repressive 7th century dogma & ideology
    Islam can not coexsist peacefully in the west things will only get worse – no compromise no pandering it is irresponsible unforgivable and a betrayal to future generation.

    May 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  26. Ken

    Hmmmm. Turn over all their friends engaged in terrorist groups. Once they all are turned over and there is no more incidents all will be well.

    May 26, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  27. Stokcu

    How many Christians apologized for the killings of Sikhs at the Wisconsin temple? Did Pope make an announcement denouncing the extremist killer ? I am sorry what ? you do not think that guy was a real Christian? Well, guess what couple of hundred or a thousand idiots do not represent the islam or anyone who believes its message when killing innocent people is against Islam's core principle.
    Enough of these people looking for excuses for their bigotry. When you go out to protest every christian's criminal act you can expect the same from other religions. By the way until then, get out of other people's countries you will have more peace.

    May 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Show us where Christians are reciting the bible before thy blow up women and children in the name of islam ?

      To make a caparisoned between Christians who look to the bile with as much credence as muslims do to the to the Koran you’d have to look at the amish or those that go to Afghanistan to help the poor in the name of jesues and end up getting there heads cut off in the name of Mohammed – see the fuking difference here kook ?
      the vast majority of the muslim world is a extreme repressive intolerant place and its not our fault, enough muslims and the far left suffer from a pathological sickness where they take for granted everything about our society and absolutely lack the capacity to take responsibility for their own ills.

      May 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  28. bdby

    As far as I am concerned after what America had been through the last ten years it should be our government policy not to allow emigration of people from the middle east to the USA…period. They are nothing but trouble looking for a place to happen. I don’t care how smart they are, which would make them more dangerous, that our business has a need to fill a position or some other irrelevant matter such as doctors or nurses etc. Let them stay home and take care of their own.

    May 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  29. BD

    Respectfully, all the folks who claim that Islam is a religion of peace and goodwill towards others, please review the Islamic teachings that all infidels must be cut to death. Also, remember any Muslim who converts to any other religion is liable to death. Is that tolerance towards other religions? Millions and millions of Muslims apply for asylum in the US on the grounds that they are facing persecution in their country. Once here, they want Sharia law. If you wanted Sharia law, why did you leave your homeland in the first place?

    May 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      >> If you wanted Sharia law, why did you leave your homeland in the first place?<<

      SUPER IGNORANT statement.
      why would a muslim who wants sharia law, leave his home (where you claim he is already living under sharia law) and come to america to demand sharia law here? that makes no sense at all.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:26 am | Reply
  30. McBob79

    Silence from Muslim leaders is deafening. It is not that the media under reports it... The media openly hopes that terrorist events are Christian based or perpetrated by white people. Look no further than Salon who wrote that they hoped the Boston bombers were white, non-Muslims. I'll say it again. Not all Muslims are terrorists but pretty much all terrorists are Muslim.

    May 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
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