THE BLOG

Muslims Do Not "Need" to Condemn Anything

15/01/2015 12:13 GMT | Updated 16/03/2015 09:59 GMT

Rupert Murdoch is not the only one with expectations which hold all Muslims responsible for the crimes of a relative few. Far from it. Muslims face a wider, more general expectation to "condemn" any act of violence committed by a peripheral minority of extremists.

This entrenched ritual polarises Muslims from everyone else. "Everyone else" can simply mourn the victims; Muslims have an apology script attached to their sorrow.

Thus, the following must be made absolutely clear. Muslims, there is no compulsion to condemn a single thing.

You are not responsible. These people have no relation to you whatsoever. I am sick and tired of seeing every comment thread and TV interview start with a Muslim expressing "we are so sorry everyone had to go through this, Muslims condemn this act of terror."

Those who want this "condemnation" will never be satisfied with it. They will simply find another excuse to vilify that same condemnation and export even more hatred from it.

It should be clarified that the very notion of religious responsibility actually excuses the perpetrator in favour of demonising an entire religion. It is, quite literally, focusing judgement, disapproval, and abuse at innocents while the guilty walks by. It is the worst kind of conviction as it completely vindicates the transgressor.

Muslims have the same right every other religion has when their adherents choose to act in a barbaric manner and the world isolates the actions to those individuals. Be it the KKK directed by "Protestants" to lynch minorities, the Lord's Resistance Army committing atrocities in Uganda under the guise of "Catholicism", or marauding "Buddhist" monks slaughtering innocents in Myanmar.

That is the right to remain silent and lead a peaceful life nevertheless. If you choose to condemn these actions as a human being, that is your prerogative and yours alone. To apologise for them though? No. Never.

By apologising, you are actively presuming liability. Liability which would otherwise not exist.

The presumption of liability here implies that should a Muslim commit a crime, 1.6 billion other Muslims think it is okay unless they explicitly say otherwise. That is a bigoted and repulsive double standard to hold a whole host of peaceful people up to.

Many argue that they would condemn attacks by their own "people"; such sentiments are well-placed. However, they neglect three vital elements:

  1. In this context, we are not talking about isolated incidents of imposed apologies. We are talking about a consistent and never-ending barricade of oppressive requests for arbitrary condemnation.
  2. Even when these condemnations, separations, and apologies occur (and they do, by Grand Muftis, Mosques, religious communities, and individuals), the effect is abhorrent. It does not mitigate any bigotry, hatred, or preconceptions. If anything, it fuels them as the tormentors feed on the response. It is like bullying. Bullies love a response; they pursue it, they thrive on it, they react towards it.
  3. The apology would not be required. There is a crucial difference between apologising because you want to, out of your own prerogative, and being pressured to act in a certain way. Christians, atheists, and all manner of people from all manner of social groups commit crimes every day. There is never an uprising of collective responsibility as a result.

This is a discriminatory and unjust double standard which alienates Muslims from their own communities. It must stop. And it stops with Muslims first.

Do not apologise. Do not perpetuate this self-damaging narrative.