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. roflchomp

    "How Muslims should respond to terror"

    Well, not committing the acts of terror would be a start. ^_^

    May 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • John

      The vast, vast majority of them don't just like most Christians shouldn't be lumped in with abortion clinic bombers. Stereotyping innocent people only makes the problem worse. Just because I'm a catholic pro life person doesn't mean I should be lumped in with someone deranged carrying out abortion clinic bombings in the name of god.

      The irony I see is that a lot of individuals with extreme views on both sides actually have a lot in common with how they behave, they just behave that way because of different reasons. It's sad really.

      May 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        True to a point. Once we get past their silly religion, we have the cultural baggage with which to contend. Like not taking off their head dress for a lousy driver's license...not shaking hands with know, the stuff the rest of us have to do.

        May 25, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  2. Michael

    Muslim leaders should respond by issuing a fatwa calling for the death of those who "hijack" their religion and commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. Aren't these hijackers doing more to insult the religion of peace than a few authors and cartoonists?

    May 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  3. more2bits

    The best way to solve the problem is have all Muslims wear equipment to track and listen in on their lives. That's the only way. Or just kick them out of the country. That works best.

    May 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  4. alf564

    Whoa folks.....Muslims have no reasons to condemn the violence that their brothers do. The Koran tells them to lie to infidels to achieve its goals. If they are true to Islam they will NEVER speak against the violence even if it hits other Muslims. This is just the way of the Muslim world. Ask CAIR...

    May 25, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  5. Tom

    May I suggest a high colonic?

    May 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      Place and time please.

      May 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  6. Jason D

    I'm not expecting Muslims to show support for the armed forces...we are after all killing innocent people along with the guilty, if it was the other way round youd not find any americans or british supporting Turkish Muslims on attacks on England or America and innocent kids getting killed as they 'get in the way'.

    But they should be against terrorism, especially against this 'blood in the streets' policy.

    The Germans did their own actions to stop people who supported killings in Germany and occupied countries which was extreme again.

    This can only have a bad reaction, bringing fighting to their new country and then yet more innocent Muslims killed or hurt from those supporters and british alike, it wont force the army to withdraw and could even provoke a stay of leaving Afghanistan which in turn kills yet more innocent people.

    In Britain and America we don't expect Muslims to suddenly become anti Muslims, although so many media sources would demand that but to become against these attacks as they decide to remain in these countries, and then it really does become a choice..if you cant accept our main religion or our main support then stay silent and save enough to go to a country where you can accept that countries main religion (not follow it but accept its right to exist and be the countries main religion and not yours) and accept that a war with a country that you are not from which may have your religion in it, is part of that countries choices and the same, remain silent or leave.

    May 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  7. come on

    Come on Muslims, speak out! That is the problem. When ever some muslim kills in the name of God, the rest of us think all Muslims are bad. Why? Well, no muslim every speaks out against these acts, so the silence means acceptance of the brutal act. Speak out Muslims or what else are we to think.

    May 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  8. Seth Hill

    When peaceful Muslims start turning terrorists over to the cops before the terrorists get a chance to strike, then I will start respecting Muslims. Perhaps that has already happened, but I haven't heard about it. Anyone know of any cases of that happening?

    May 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  9. JJ

    I wish some leaders would step up and stop this violence..................BETTER YET SPEAK UP!

    May 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  10. popseal

    "Moderate Muslims" are a large silent cheering section for their more aggressive brethren. Does anybody really believe they meet at Friday prayers and call on their deity to give the West victory?

    May 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  11. joke joke joke

    Ask Satan in hell how he deals with evil if you want the answer to how terrorist muslims deal with terrorism. You people are a joke.

    May 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Reply
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      Well I'm glad you asked. I've been put in charge of evil ever since being flung over the pearly gates by you-know-who. You must understand, I do all the earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and other natural "disasters". Its my job. God is trying to reduce the population because you people breed like friggin' rats, and earth will be running out of resources to sustain you.
      I have weekly meetings with god, and he told me to tell all you religious dolts he never ever sent his son to earth, never instructed anybody to write a book about him , and can't understand why you can't comprehend the fact that if there is ambiguity to the Abrahamic religions its because MEN wrote those books... and men are idiots. Got it? Gotta go.... gonna hide under Pat Robertsons bed tonight and scare the living shyte out of him. Its a hobby.

      May 25, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  12. flouik

    it feels that our leaders are on board with the terrorist, very sad

    May 25, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  13. It's coming

    Armageddon is in sight

    May 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  14. flouik

    maybe Jodie arias should come out and say that she killed her boyfriend in the name of islam

    May 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  15. Bob

    As it seems most muslems are not happy in the west why can't they all just leave move to some other country and practice their way of life without having to affect everyone else. The world would be such a better place without them in the west. Just go away and practice your hate someplace else. It must be sad to be so unhappy in any free country

    May 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      True story...a Swedish company interviews a muslim for a job. they give him the job. the rep for the company, a female, extends her hand to shake his in congratulation. He demurs stating he can't shake hands w/a woman. Do you think the company had to "pay him off" so he wouldn't file suit?

      They are worse then some of our welfare queens.

      May 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      the muslims in the west are not happy because of the billions of dollars of weapon systems you ship to their countries every year. that's why they are here!! the more you ship there, the more they run over here. they were perfectly happy over there before you started arming rogues and thugs and installing them as puppet dictators after World War One.

      June 11, 2013 at 1:58 am | Reply
  16. o.

    sick and tired hearing of good and peaceful muslims who are just victims of bad rumors, blah-blah-blah... if most muslims are so good and peaceful, why don't they just take care of the bad minority among their pwn communities, eh? and it's not about making statements, but about real actions like stopping islamist leaders who preach killings, etc?

    May 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      the same reason you cannot take care of the small minority of thugs who are destroying your country by induging in needless wars and actually increasing the threat of terrorism by killing muslims indiscriminantly. what have you done to eliminate them from your midst? NOTHING.

      you are in fact so helpless you can't even vote Bush out of office after it had become openly clear that he had lied into getting America involved in Iraq and the war was a failure.

      Moderate Muslims have the same problem. Just like you. they are helpless to get rid of the thugs among themselves. and unlike you, they don't even have a vote they can use. you actually have something you can use, yet you are still helpless.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:05 am | Reply
  17. trevor bryant of flagstaff arizona

    musims can denounce terror by stop being Muslim. Islam is a religion of war, not peace. Of hate, not love. Of segregation, not tolerance. They preach religion before society, which is why terrorism is fine, because it supercedes civility in general. As long as you are a Muslim, we will know you support terror. Forget all this "not all Muslims are terrorists"... they feed on that. All Muslims are terrorists. Period. Their religion commands it.

    May 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama


      that certainly explains the jewish holocaust!!

      June 11, 2013 at 2:07 am | Reply
  18. Ash

    Perhaps the question zakaria should be asking is why is it such a huge fiasco all over the media if a muslim kills someone but when someone was recently murdered by a white guy in the UK the news is completely silent as if nothing happened. Perhaps zakaria is just a part of the social stigma that is present and as smart as he may be he is negligent to the true prejudice that is prevalent.

    May 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • Bart Fargo

      Because media hysteria over Islamic terrorism is a self-fulfilling prophesy, blinding the panicked to the true dangers they face.

      May 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  19. abbydelabbey

    Until I witness loud and large demonstrations against violence by Muslims throughout the world I won't buy their propaganda that their religion is a "peaceful" one and that they abhor violence....

    May 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Reply
    • Bart Fargo

      Until I witness the American government openly denounce their own military adventurism, arms trafficking, and principle of worldwide extrajudicial executions based on secret evidence, I won't buy their propaganda that Americans are a "peaceful", freedom and democracy-loving people selflessly dedicated to stabilising the globe.

      May 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Fart Bargo: you have a point here.

        May 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • miamiinfidel

        I'm judging by how you spell the word "stabilizing"; the Brits are the last people from which we Americans should take advice.

        May 26, 2013 at 1:28 am |
      • Saleem Hatoum

        Yep, when the Americans kill a million or two it is justified under the pretext of defending freedom and all the rest of the BU[[SH!T, but if a small group strikes that is all out terrorism with all the BU[[SH!T these people are killing innocent civilians.

        Iraqi people were peace loving people until march 2003 when the freedom invaded their country and killed more than 1 millions in order to give them freedom. Similarly Afghanistan, another 1 million deaths for the sake of finding and killing some terrorist.....where is the justice.........????????????????????????

        May 26, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  20. Lainie11

    Since the Middle Ages the Moors/Muslims have been causing untold damage to Europe and Asia. If they have the Koran for their belief system, then they believe in "killing the infidels", and marrying baby girls. This is one crazy belief system; can't call it a religion, because God would never say "an eye for an eye", He actually proclaims "vengeance is Mine". Why are the Muslims coming to the USA anyway, if not to populate and take over the society. This is becoming a plague on our society. Americans should have been outraged about Boston and started to protest like the UK.

    May 25, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      >> Since the Middle Ages the Moors/Muslims have been causing untold damage to Europe and Asia. <<

      not really dear. YOU are causing UNTOLD DAMAGE to yourself!!!
      – moors did not tell you to indulge in a WORLD WAR ONE among yourselves
      – moors did not tell you to gas to death 6.000,000 jews and gypsies in gas chambers
      – moors did not tell you to have WORLD WAR TWO either!!
      – neither did moors invent communism
      – which ended up killing a few more million of your own ilk

      you should be wishing the moors were ruling over you the past 100 years!! it would be an improvement over the shift you have put in so far.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:13 am | Reply
  21. Bart Fargo

    I wonder when Fareed will pen an op-ed prescribing how Americans should respond to and atone for their invasions and state terrorism in the Middle East and Central Asia, which have killed far more people and ruined far more lives than rag-tag terrorists could ever hope to. The lack of a sense of scale in global violence by those in the West is appalling. On the day of the Boston Marathon bombings, shootings and bombings in Iraq killed over 75 people and injured several hundred more. Yet the outrage over the 3 lives lost in Boston was many orders of magnitudes greater around the world, since the West simply accepts and expects endless violence in the countries it has invaded and installed corrupt neoliberal regimes. Perspective, people.

    May 25, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • miamiinfidel

      That's really sage - feed the crocodile so he eats you last.


      May 26, 2013 at 1:23 am | Reply
  22. Scott

    Headline: How Muslims should respond to terror
    Answer: Don a suicide jacket and proceed directly to the nearest terrorist training camp, errrrr I mean Mosque and detonate it. 😉


    May 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  23. Elliott Carlin

    If Muslims would assimilate into the culture they enter, the problems would be solved. They do not wish to assimilate however...not here, not in Sweden or anywhere else.

    They make themselves the problem.

    May 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  24. Elliott Carlin



    May 25, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  25. dave

    muslims have no place in north america or europe, get the hell out or pay the price! you've been warned.

    May 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      – we hear you loud and clear.
      – we saw what you did to the jews and the gypsies, just 60 odd years ago.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:18 am | Reply
  26. Saleem Hatoum

    Why deson't Fareed himself take some blame for being madharchout and ghandooo for all the NYC arabs and Indians. He is a randi ka bhacha and bhancout..........

    May 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
    • andres

      And he has his nose so far up the bottom end of the president that it can no longer be called mere brown nosing.

      May 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply


    May 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  28. andres

    Farid, you need to let your fellow muslims know this. A backlash is coming, and it will be the muslims who will be the victims of this backlash. Europeans are starting to wake up to the fact that with just an election cycle or two that they could be living in a muslim country. The thuggery committed in WWII upon the Jews may be visited upon the muslims if a thug like hitler rises again.

    The unwillingness or the inability of a vast majority of european muslims to integrate into european society will be their downfall.

    May 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • Saleem Hatoum

      Andres the world doesn't revolve around the word "Jew' so drop this sh!tt sooon....

      May 26, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
      • Ayatollah Khomeini

        you and your fellow gang of bearded Muslim mental patients are very entertaining

        May 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
      • andres

        Did you fail reading comprehension or do you just stop reading at the word Jew and ignore everything else. My missive was about the backlash that muslims will face from Europeans IF the muslims keep up terrorising Europe. I used hilter and his hatred for jews (now stay with me on this, I know I used the word jew and you will just stop reading but stay with me on this) as an example of what could happen again in Europe but this time with muslims. Genocide and ethnic cleansing did not end with the death of hitler. Since then there has been no shortage of hate and genocide. From Africa to Serbia. So to the 'peaceful and tolerant' muslims, get the whack jobs under control or you may find that another hitler will rise again and this time target muslims.

        May 27, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  29. goodthinker

    "The Muslim Council of Britain issued an unequivocal statement condemning the latest killing..." Good. We need to hear this message again and again. Actions too, since they speak louder than words. It's a good sign when Muslims detect and foil terror plots that are being hatched. I see this as a hope for the future: when most Muslims realize that the US is not their biggest enemy. Instead, it is the radical Muslims.

    There's a vivid old wound from 9/11: images were shown of many Arab Muslims cheering in the street, thrilled that 3000 Americans were killed. To counter that image, perhaps there need to be other images that show Muslims marching and working for peace among their own people. I can't imagine what it was like in Iraq during the war, when Muslims could die at the hands of other Muslims.

    My view (obviously from the West) is that the Middle East is full of terror and wars because many of its people are full of hate, and Muslims have not developed societies that can work together, despite differences. The situation looks nearly hopeless, because it has persisted, as far as I can see, for 2000+ years. Still, I and others will be watching to see if stable and open governments can survive in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It's discouraging to see radicals taking over governments as in Egypt and the would-be Palestine. The developments in Syria do not look promising, either.

    May 25, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      @shi tythinker
      "My view (obviously from the West) is that the Middle East is full of terror and wars because many of its people are full of hate, and Muslims have not developed societies that can work together, despite differences"

      exactly what muslims thought of you 60 years ago when you had the whole world engulfed in a brutal world war.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:22 am | Reply
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