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. Sal

    Burn a book, they want to kill, criticize their prophet they want to kill. What kind of people are they? Come on Darlene, think about it before you speak! 

    May 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • mudafmudafalaihi

      Try burning an American flag in public and see what happens to you.

      May 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
      • kobe

        I'll tell you what happens. The US supreme court defends it as free speech. On the other side, if you convert to Christianity in Saudi Arabia or Iran they execute you. Don't even try to draw a comparison between the two.

        May 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Guest

        I didn't see anyone got blown up or stone to dead because they burn American flag. But I saw people who burn American flag and then go to murder American before.

        May 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
      • vivian

        you have no intelligence to understand US as a country and US citizen as people. you think all the people are the same as Muslims? that's because you are a Muslims that can only comprehend your own Koran. Learn to be a normal person first. not a brainwashed hater!

        May 27, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      just draw a picture of this 'prophet', and they want to kill you.

      May 26, 2013 at 2:59 am | Reply
      • vivian

        they born with hatred, they want to hate and it's natural for them to hate. that's best thing they can do. Hate and violence!

        May 27, 2013 at 1:46 am |
  2. flouik

    Sam you need to grow up

    May 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  3. jqent

    A lot of people could benefit by reading Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer." It's an old book, but still quite enlightening. He points out that the fanatic is quite often a young failure, who adopts a radical ideology to strike back at the culture which he blames for his personal failures, and thus become significant and successful... at least in his own in-group. Hitler was a failed artist, Mao a failed student, Stalin a failed seminarian.The fanatic arrested in this murder was a failed college student, who had converted to radical Islam a few years ago. A radical ideology is chosen by the young failure simply because it is most in opposition to the dominant culture, and most feared by it. The fanatical convert is "borrowing power" from other fanatics. In this,there are parallels to the Anarchist bombers of the 1890s.

    May 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • vivian

      don't be naive, these people became radicals not just because their own failures, it's because they have the family to support them. the whole Islam family knows what's going on, trust me, it takes years to breed a terrorist to act. but they said nothing and they did nothing. you know why, because they feel the same way in one way or another. and your historical figures are way off. these are individual acts, not a religion or a country as a whole accepting the evil act.

      remember OBL? he is a prince. all he wants to do is terrorism.

      May 27, 2013 at 1:52 am | Reply
  4. Sean

    What the west consider terrorism Muslims consider Jihad! Unless Muslims reject these hateful religious ideologies, they will never be accepted in the western world!

    May 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • Someone

      First, you need to find the meaning of "jihad" which means the inner struggle for self-improvement and defines one character. So I don't know where you obtained the definition of jihad as "terrorism"?

      May 25, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Reply
      • kobe

        Don't quote the meaning of "jihad" to us when we can see on TV the very meaning.

        May 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  5. Mohamiss Shafique-Kaddir

    There is no such thing as a "radical Muslim" . There are pious Muslims that faithfully live by the Koran , and those who dont . Islam must take over the world , Dar-Al-Harb ( House of War) ( The world not ruled by Sharia) will become Dar-Al -Islam , House of Islam , ( World ruled by Sharia) and the Infidel will convert to Islam or die . This is forthcomeing . Islam is the perfect path to Peace , and Allah and His Prophet (PBuH) Mohammid will have given us the perfect way with the Sharia , the hadiths and the Surrah . Gods law always surpasses man's inperfect law , and byt be delt with . Convert to Islam , and know peace .

    May 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • hohoho

      your words smell of fart.

      May 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
    • veloman

      Perhaps not radical, but Islam is obviously an intolerant religion

      May 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Very disturbing. May be you and your people should join Hitler in his little conquest back then. Oh...wait... you cant because he wasn't Muslim either.

      May 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply
      • QMB

        Correct he was one of you guys.

        May 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  6. flouik

    Darleen you are right, but muslims, we have to clean up our own mess, and start engaging in the worlds problems, we have to be productive like we used to be, help in science fight global warming, explore space find a cure for cancer, fight for equality for all, define peace in us, and learn that we could still fight in elections by filling out ballots, and make our voices heard, rather than exploding and claiming people's life.
    Listening to opposition from others to build a better tomorow

    May 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  7. William Linson

    Absolutely, unequivocally the critical message of this era.
    The Muslim majority, and leadership must take a highly visible position against terrorism anywhere.

    BUT, isn't the doctrine of 'jihad', as well as the perception of the non-believers as 'infidels', which are embedded in the essential teachings of the religion, perpetuating the violence?"
    Doesn't the religion need a 'Reformation' ???

    May 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • edmundburkeson

      The Muslims do not need a Reformation. If you are referring to the Christian Reformation which took place in the 16th Century. The Christian faith had a solid foundation for reformation because they had gotten away from their mission. And their mission was clear. Muslims do not have a clear mission upon which they may rally. It is very mixed and united only by a practice not a faith. Their traditions are bloody, their "apostle" corrupt – and he never referred to himself as a prophet, their book – by its own account corruptible by Satan. In one place in the Koran, Mecca is the holy place, in another Jerusalem. So a reformation you say? This may result in an Islam more violent than the present one.

      May 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      – Islam is not in need of reformation.
      – Muslim terrorists are like little ants compared to the death and destruction caused by non-muslims in the past 100 years alone!!!
      – World War One, World War Two, Jewish Holocaust, Cold-War, Communist Purges
      – What is islamic terrorism in comparison to these MEGA DEATH events??
      – Nothing, piddly, diddly.

      June 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  8. flouik

    No Mr Mohamiss the prophet's own neighbor was a jewish telling us that we could live together in all prosperity, we can't tell people how to live or what religion they should believe in, it's selfish,

    May 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  9. flouik

    Yes William it does it's called elfatwa,,

    May 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  10. BD

    Mr. Zakaria, You obviously don't know anything about the teachings of Islam about non-Muslims: All Muslims have been mandated by Allah and His Prophet to kill non-Muslims. Of course, I fully expect you to cry out loud that it is not true and Islam is a religion of peace!

    May 25, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • pooh2

      It does not really matter what muslim holly scripts say. Even when I was a religious Catholic I did not believe that God created the world in seven days, that Christ really turned water into wine, etc. In the twenty first century we re-interpret all religious teachings, including Muslim teachings. If they
      – cooperate with police in order to help to catch the criminals
      – excommunicate their radical brothers
      – repeatedly denounce the acts of terrorists and they genuinely believe in it
      I think they will be ok.

      May 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Reply
      • kobe

        Just because you are arrogant enough to modify your own religion does not mean other people will be so willing.

        May 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • mudafmudafalaihi

      Cite your source instead of just parroting propaganda.

      May 25, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply

      All the proof is in the Koran and in all the Hadiths.
      Islam is a lie, and that does not stop them from using it to kill.
      Some take only what is closest in seeking something to try their hardest at doing.
      All they know is the vicious hatred enshrined in the Koran. Their cultures all reflect this violence.
      There is only peace to other Muslims. When they say "religion of peace", they mean "only peace towards other Muslims" and deliberately leave this out – proving them liars to our faces.
      Ignorant, violent, brutal, hating females and children, unable to reject their brainwashing that envelopes their world, Muslims are the biggest threat to any peace in the world and all non-Muslims, even those brainwashed into other religions, should all band together to utterly reject Islam, Muslims, and their brutal cultures.
      It is time to quarantine all Muslims from countries that do not want to be terrorized any longer.
      The BEST SOLUTION to Islamic terrorism is to REJECT all Muslims, because it is from that group of brutal, brainwashed, ignorant humans that ALL of these terrorists come from. They cannot reject the lie that is burned into their brains.
      Thus we must reject them and remove the immediate threat.
      That IS a solution that actually will WORK EFFECTIVELY.
      Either de-program these robots of insanity, or kick them out. There are no other rational options.

      May 25, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  11. BD

    Darlene, I am sorry to say but, according to teachings of Islam, you are also one of the "Infidels" who should be cut to death in the name of Allah, unless of course you are one of the "believers".

    May 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • vivian

      I finally understands what infidel means, it's a bloody word that has been justified by the Islam for thousands of years. they kill the infidels in the name of Allah. I am so disgusted by its true meaning.

      May 27, 2013 at 1:59 am | Reply
  12. Terrible_Ted

    With unchecked immigration allowing in the undesireable and uneducated, the citizens of the UK and the USA are left to support these people via welfare and the such. The immigrants of old wanted to assimilate into there new host countries, they were proud to be labeled a citizen. The new immigrants want nothing to do with our culture, they speak of disgust of there new host countries.

    These immigrants weaken our countries and our culture. There is a reason the countries they come from are historically crapholes. Allowing these immigrants into our countries, only cause the further eroding and mongrelizing of a culture that has built the world. The truth has become something to avoid in a PC culture. We are better off as a country and culture, without these peoples.

    May 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  13. johnnywantstoknow

    why no muslim clerics, or muslims, wearing the t-shirt for a week in public as a sign of british solidarity or compassion for the victim?

    May 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  14. bro

    why do muslims immigrate, if they are so unhappy then go home and stay there

    May 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • great crusades

      good call – muslims go home – get out before you are taken out – fact

      the obama muslim needs to go back to kenya - get out muslim

      he clearly sympathizes with muslim terrorists and hates whites who are get killed in places like benghazi

      why do they want to be in white christian nations anyway? spies? traitors? liars?

      May 26, 2013 at 6:23 am | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      "why do muslims immigrate, if they are so unhappy then go home and stay there"

      – the more weapons you immigrate to the their "homes"
      – the more muslims they immigrate to your lands
      – simple formula!!!

      – before WWII when you used to ship virtually no weapons to muslim lands
      – virtually no muslims used to ship themselves to your lands

      June 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  15. TC

    There are 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, 99.9% of which are family oriented, peace loving, decent, hard working people. They have allowed a small percentage of their population to highjack their religion, and way of life. When will they speak out about this? When will the 1.4 billion be heard. You hear them when there is an offensive cartoon, and when the west does somethng stupid. But why don't they speak out when someone walks into a wedding in Pakistan, and blows themselves up, killing the bride. The Irish in the world cried out against the IRA. Its time for the Muslims of the world to take their culture back. Let the voice be heard!!!

    May 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • TT

      Very well said – totally agree. Also, muslims should learn about the sufferings of the families of those who have been murdered by terrorists. This will counter the propaganda of the terrorists and make their acts more hateful.

      May 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • RS

      Read the Koran. Cover to cover.
      Understand what it DEMANDS of its followers in treating people who refuse to summit to Islam.

      Don't let anyone TELL you what Sharia and the dar-al-harb means. READ IT.
      Muhammad commanded a war on non-believers which can not end until ALL submit.

      We can't pretend otherwise.

      May 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Reply
      • Brian Smith

        You don't need to read it cover to cover...just a few pages are enough to get the idea.

        May 25, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • kobe

      How in the world can you say Muslims are a peaceful, loving people? Your post is completely internally inconsistent. How are 99% of Muslims peaceful when the entire Middle East is at war all the time, when all those countries care about is destroying Isreal, the West, different Muslims, etc.? Is s1% of the population waging war over there? The only reason you think it is a peaceful religion is because the media tells you it is. Take the bare facts as they are and draw a conclusion.

      May 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • Ayatollah Khomeini

      muslim apologists. Are like herpes, you just cant get rid of them.

      May 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  16. Jeff

    Well done. A sincere sensible statement.

    May 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  17. Willie12345

    If the Muslim community in England remains silent and is not angered by this needless killing will know their position on the subject. Now is the time for them to show where they're loyalty is.

    May 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • Jason Viper


      May 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  18. Straight talk

    Samaria is apparently a Muslim guy and has an audience, why does he not use his power, influence, medium to apologize on behalf of Muslim, perhaps he is the most and best known Muslim to non Muslim. Charity starts at home.

    May 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply
    • Straight talk

      I meant Mr. Freedom Zakaria. My PlayBook errs with predictive typing.....even Fareed is changed to Freedom. Beginning to hate blackberry.

      May 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  19. mkuske

    Muslims should be out in the street marching in protest but for more than a decade their response has been a whisper and most times a whisper with an asterisk. And the idea that it's only a handful of Muslims is just ludicrous. The democratically elected Muslim government of Egypt condones the persecution and murder of Christians there, the democratically elected government of Iraq condones the persecution and murder of Christians there, the persecution of Christians in Pakistan is escalating to a fever pitch while the democratically elected government does nothing, the Iranian government executes Christians...but still only a whisper. If you want us to believe you that this is NOT how you are, take to the streets with the vengeance that your brothers do when they celebrate terrorist acts. Until you start doing that, you words mean nothing.

    May 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Reply
  20. BD

    I believe it was only a couple of weeks ago that the Saudis sentenced two Christian men to death because they had helped a Saudi Muslim woman convert to Christianity. In Islam, the punishment for converting from Islam to another religion is death. So, much for this peace loving, tolerant religion!

    May 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      basically according to the Saudi Gov't, those two christian men actually burnt this woman with a fire torch. so yes the penalty for them should be death. same would happen in the US if someone blow torched another person and burnt them to death.

      according to Islam, converting to christianity is tantamount to burning in hell. these two christian men should have been more considerate and thought of the poor woman they were sending to hell by converting her.

      June 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  21. Paulie

    Muslims arent going to respond with anything but the Koran and its teachings. To say otherwise is to be ignorant of islam.

    May 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  22. flouik

    that is why I still call on the muslim leaders to come out lets organize this thing, a marche to denounce extremist and terror everywhere

    May 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      oh yeah.

      thats going to do a lot of good!! a march!

      the whole of united states was out marching and the government did nothing. they still went ahead and invaded Iraq illegally and directly killed 100,000s of poor Iraqis.

      and we are talking about the US gov't. and you think muslims out marching arr going to get a better reception from those dictatorial regimes that rule them with an iron grip?

      get a grip on reality.

      June 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  23. mudafmudafalaihi

    What Zak fail to realize is that Muslims do condemn these attacks, loudly and often; except the chorus of condemnations coming from Muslims are usually drowned by right-wing rhetoric and never make onto the evening news shows. In addition, the people who are attacking Western targets (I don't know whether they're Muslims or not; I guess it depends on how you define Muslim), are not attacking them because of what Iraqis are doing to each other in Iraq, but for what they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as atrocities committed against them by the West.

    May 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • TC

      Loudly and clearly happens once in awhile with the world's Muslims. When that cartoon was printed in Holland, the entire world's Muslim population was heard loud and clear. After 9/11 it was a whisper. I think for some reason the masses are scared of retaliation, or violence, or something with their businesses. I don't know, but that is the noise we need to hear for the world to believe that Muslims really believe that what the radicals in their community are doing, is wrong. I have heard for a long time that the press doesn't cover the people who are speaking out. Not buying it. When they decide to speak out as a complete community, we will hear it.

      May 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  24. flouik

    maybe I should put flyers in mosques asking muslims to come out

    May 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osamaa

      umm, i think you will be wasting your time.
      no gay muslims are gong to 'come out' after seeing some flyers.
      they will probably get hung upside down by their fellow muslims if the latter found out they were gay.

      June 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  25. Vietvet

    What happened in London, Boston and now France are crimes committed by individuals. Why are Muslims obligated to respond to crimes committed by people who claim to be Muslim any more than Christians, Jews or anyone else. A crime is a crime regardless of what criminals say motivated them. By the way,I am not a Muslim. I am a None. Ask me what my religion is and I will answer, None.

    May 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • flouik

      because everytime these criminals do it they happen to justify their actions in the name of islam

      May 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
      • UJ

        wow you have some logic...very smart the same rational if a person who claims to be a vegetarian goes out and eats 1000 steaks, we should all change and believe that vegetarian is someone who eats steaks??? No? why? common sense dictates that the person who claims to be a vegetarian is simply not a vegetarian, period. Islam does not allow killing of innocent human beings, period...Go ahead and believe whatever you wish but one day the truth will be revield to the mean time, go ahead and continue to spread hatred and lies about the Prophet... but the truth is anyone who does it is simply ignorant and clueless about the truth...

        May 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  26. theala

    "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."

    I normally enjoy Mr. Zakaria's point of view on things, and agree with much of what he says. But let's get real: the United States entered into Afghanistan when the Taliban were the legally recognized government and kicked them out. The "invitation" of the current government is one of self interest and corruption.

    The real solution is for Muslims to take control of their own destiny by engaging with the 21st century and eliminating tribal customs that keep the region ground in warlordism and poverty. Muslims in other parts of the world need to stop falling for the rhetoric of the greedy and power hungry.

    May 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • alf564

      theals, remember that Al Qaeda was invited into Afghanistan by the LEGAL Taliban government and did its planning and some training for 9/11 there....that is why we attacked and kicked them out...REMEMBER ????

      May 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  27. flouik

    well said thela

    May 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  28. ooo88

    look at the facts and not fictions.

    May 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  29. vidal808

    That is exactly what I am saying over and over again. The Muslims need to get off their butts and address the Qua ran and see where the problem is. Me rewrite it if necessary like King James did with he Bible. Some of the writing is misunderstood by some law educated individuals and is being radicalized to hurt innocent people. The Muslim leadership must take action and not just passively condemn the criminal conduct of their members.

    May 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Saleem Hatoum


      May 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  30. Patski

    "...a few people, disturbed or fanatical, radicalized by things they have read or watched," You mean like the Koran?

    May 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
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