home
RSS
July 25th, 2011
01:53 PM ET

My Take: Norway attacks show why you can't #blamethemuslims

Editor's Note: Imam Khalid Latif is a chaplain for New York University and Executive Director of the school's Islamic Center.

By Khalid Latif, Special to CNN

In the immediate aftermath of 1995’s Oklahoma City bombing, much of the news media rushed to suggest that a Muslim, or at least a Middle Eastern connection, was behind the attack.

News reports on television and in print featured Middle East terrorism experts claiming the Oklahoma City attack echoed a World Trade Center bombing two years earlier and that it contained parallels to recent Mideast attacks.

The FBI picked up Ibrahim Ahmad, a Jordanian American, for questioning in an initial dragnet.

Does 'Christian fundamentalist' label fit Norway terror suspect?

Of course, it turned out that the attacker was homegrown and named Timothy McVeigh, not a Muslim.

Sixteen years later, not much has changed.

The tragic events that took place in Norway on Friday provoked initial accusations against Muslims worldwide. Of course, that proved to be the farthest thing from the truth.

Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed bomber and shooter in this horrendous act, was not motivated by the teachings of Islam, but by the teachings of those who oppose Islam.

A 1,500-page manifesto that appears to be written by Breivik is an anti-Islamic tirade.

Who is Anders Behring Breivik?

“Since the creation of Islam in the 7th century and to up to this day, the Islamic Jihad has systematically killed more than 300 million non Muslims and tortured and enslaved more than 500 million individuals,” it says.

“Since 9/11 2001, more than 12, 000 Jihadi terrorist attacks have occurred,” it continues. “… This trend will continue as long as there are non-Muslim targets available and as long as Islam continues to exist.”

An inappropriate response to Norway’s acts of violence would be the condemnation of Christianity, or a claim that religion itself breeds violence and hatred, though the manifesto repeatedly invokes the defense of Christianity as a primary reason for violently defeating multiculturalism and combating the “Islamic colonization” of Europe.

The expectation shouldn't be that white Christian males should now be scrutinized at airports or profiled by TSA workers. It's wrong when it happens to Muslims and it would be just as wrong if it happened to anyone else.

A more appropriate response would be to expand the conversation around terrorism and violent extremism beyond Islam and the Muslim community. The Norway attacks highlight why congressional hearings should not be held on solely on radicalization in the Muslim community, but should focus on radicalization more broadly.

Far right makes comeback in Europe

It's also imperative that training for law enforcement and other governmental offices on Islamic doctrine and law not to be conducted by those who present the normative understanding of Islam to be something that is radical. Our focus should be the safety of all citizens in any country from every act of violence or terrorism.

By cultivating a narrative that says Islam is the problem, we keep ourselves from maintaining that focus. All terrorist acts stem from an idea that it's OK to resort to violence in order to get what you want; that it's OK to kill to get the kind of world that you would like; that if we disagree, we cannot co-exist peacefully.

Over the weekend, #blamethemuslims became a trending topic on Twitter. The purpose of the hashtag was not to blame Muslims for the Norway attack, but show how Muslims are unfairly blamed and singled out regularly these days. The tragic events in Norway remind us that not all terrorists are Muslim and there is no reason that all Muslims should be treated like they are.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Norway. May God make things easy for them and grant us all the strength and courage to stand up against those who preach intolerance and hatred, even if they look like us, align politically with us, or practice the same religion we practice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Khalid Latif.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Islam • Opinion • Terrorism

soundoff (2,486 Responses)
  1. Dan

    All of you bringing up Tomothy McVeigh as a Christian terrorist: Please do a little research. The man was an agnostic. He rejected all religions. He was an agnostic/atheist terrorist, like Stalin and Mao.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • timetraveler

      He was a Born Again Christian and a Jesus freak. Kind of like Bush.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Spiffy

      Except he said he was doing it for Christianity.

      Stalin and Mao did what they did not because of their beliefs but because of their political ambitions.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Dan

      LOL...YOu are continuing to lie your butts off to try to make him something he wasn't. Show proof of his Christian faith.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • News Flash

      @Dan
      http://www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=15532

      July 26, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  2. theProhetJesusPBUH

    in the name of Allah the most Gracious the most Merciful, Unquestionably, for Allah is the pure religion. And those who take protectors besides Him [say], "We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position." Indeed, Allah will judge between them concerning that over which they differ. Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever. If Allah had intended to take a son, He could have chosen from what He creates whatever He willed. Exalted is He; He is Allah, the One, the Prevailing. He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver. He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah , your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted?... ( Surat Az-Zumar )

    July 26, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  3. peace

    2000 comments. Ok guys give more. We aim 5000 comments to get world attention.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  4. Spiffy

    Religion once again the great divider.

    Religion is the poison of the people. It is what separates us instead of unite us. It only gives people more reasons to hate on another. Just by looking at these comments I can see this in work.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Milind Purandare

      I feel we dont need any religion any more

      July 26, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • LABPDX

      Agreed! The world would have much fewer problems with all types of terrorism if it weren't for organized religion and political parties!

      July 26, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Ben

      One does have to question whether religion has done more bad than good.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  5. Milind Purandare

    one man's terrorist is another man's warrior fighting for a cause !

    July 26, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  6. theProhetJesusPBUH

    THANK YOU ALLAH

    July 26, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  7. MikeBell

    Radicalization usually comes about because a demographic infringes upon another.
    Immigration is seldom the reason for nationalist radicalism; it's the migration of demographics that impose upon communities and nations their ideologies and customs.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Oi

      What it is is when those migrants don't want to assimilate. They don't want to join the host, rather, they want to carve out a piece of the host for themselves. This is guaranteed to cause conflict. Muslims use western culture against us to take advantage of those weaknesses in our system that would allow groups with ulterior motives to infiltrate and infest the target society and eventually, over time, take it over through the hosts own geopolitical system via sheer numbers of population.

      July 26, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  8. Muhammad Ali Farooq

    Islam is complete religion to answer all the questions from the way of life to way of business... hit the roots of problems... it is a complete system. Islam offers more then you aspect from religion.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • JLong

      absolutely.. if you are a man.. three wives.. 72 virgins...

      July 26, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • MikeBell

      Isn't that the problem. It imposes itself as the State religion for all.
      If it were not a forceful 'political' religion ready to impose itself even by the sword it would be readily accepted. Too often it seeks to impose upon and displace others. It has even been insensitive to the feelings and sovereignty of others.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Logan9773

      So.., your Tea Party?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Ben

      Now its the Jews and Israel's fault? Then were does Hitler and Germany come into the picture? Is this why Germany has such a liberal immigration policy which has created problems for itself. I have been told by many Germans that the problems the country is facing today is immigration, in particular from Turkey, that are worthless and now they just can't exterminate them like they tried with the Jews.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  9. AlAnwar

    @ Name*keith, some one to lash back at their own white fellow norwegians? I dont understand your mentality.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Name*keith

      Most muslims are killed by othet muslims.. Sunni vs shiite for instance. I never said it made sence to lash out only that I am surprised thete hasnt been more.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  10. Bill

    The vast majority of active terrorism is being perpetrated by Muslims (or at least, those purporting to be muslim). There are a FEW terrorists who are not Muslim. Those two facts do not equal "don't blame the muslims". At best, they equate to "don't blame the muslims all of the time".

    July 26, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  11. Name*keith

    After all the muslims have done Im surprised that its taken this long for someone to lash back. Im also surprised more havent died.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  12. AlAnwar

    @ timetraveler, Arabs and Muslims will be nice to Western Governments if they stop supporting Israel and its atrocities for 60 years.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • JLong

      Why do you care? Where do you like? If you live in a western country, why are you here?

      And what has Israel done to you other than the crap that Arab rulers have brain washed you with for the past generations by creating a common enemy in Israel – that's why the only democracy in the middle east is Israel. Have you been to Israel?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • timetraveler

      Arabs should be thankful to Israel for the the very food they get to eat instead of scraping the desert for bugs, like they used to for centuries.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  13. Your Average American

    C'mon guys, Can you really not see what's going on here? Muslims are being wrongly identified as terrorists an you guys are buying it. If you look more closely at the "Muslims" who attacked us on 9/11, you'd realize that they aren't Muslims at all. The guys who our servicemen and women have been fighting for the past ten years are not real Muslims. They are brainwashed nuts who belong to a cult which claims to be the real face of Islam. This cult has anti-western views and says it's because the Koran says so. However, it is the mullahs at the madrases where these terrorists learn "Islam" who manipulate the words of the Koran to these highly un-educated peasants and use their ignorance to build a passion for violence and hatred among these people for their own personal gain. These guys are a cult that is loosely based upon, and falsely claimed to be the true face of this religion. Remember Jonestown? Jim Jones pretended to be a "christian", but we all know that he just manipulated hundreds of people through his own interpretations of the bible. So please, for the sake of your kids and their kids, stop fueling this cycle of hatred with your anti-Muslim views and just learn to get along with Muslims, cause the average Muslim wants the same thing as you, to have a family and lie a comfortable life.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Logan9773

      Muslims are terrorists. And so are Christians. You both should drink the koolaid and leave us norms in peace.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Ben

      And these Madrassas are funded by the Saudi's petro dollars. They promote a very conservative sect of Islam called Wahhabi.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Mathew

      I strongly agree with your statement. People fail to realize that skin tone is the only major difference between US human beings living here on PLANET EARTH. And it is merely our weakness when we let the MEDIA knock all the hatred in us for mankind whether Muslim or Cristian. All the religions have the same basic principles of serving the humanity, helping the poor and needy, and treating everyone equally.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  14. Mr.Green

    Praise the creator of everything, Praise Allah

    July 26, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Spiffy

      While we are at it should we praise the "creator" for all the natural disasters that he has created? What about all of the diseases he has spread amongst us?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • timetraveler

      Praise my @SS. It is your duty as a filthy muslim.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Progmetty

      Hate to interrupt your stand up comedy there but Allah is the direct Arabic translation of God.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Progmetty

      He's not Muslim dumbo, he's joking.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  15. AlAnwar

    @ jews, white people dont need to be slaughtered. There some good some bad. The bad ones are currently serving in Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Dan

      What about those in Afghanistan who are there to help the nation get on its feet? Like dam builders and other contractors.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Logan9773

      You mean the ones saving the good people from the murdering taliban trash? We'll get you too Tali Ali.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • peace

      The reason is why the white goes war in mid-east is because the mid-east crying and ask for help to fight radicals. So it is aabout we help muslim to fight atheist that using islam name. get it?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  16. timetraveler

    God made two HUGE mistakes: 1) making flies and 2) making arabs.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Spiffy

      And making you.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Logan9773

      I think you meant to say "making muslims".

      July 26, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  17. Hamad

    The stars do not hurt by the dogs barking.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  18. MJM

    Khalid- Sir you are waaaaaay off base with your article. Why is it wherever Muslims go things just happen to blow up? I have to agree with most of the comments on here....Muslims are nothing but trouble. If they want to destroy things they should stay in their own country and do it there. Don't come to America or Norway and cause trouble.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • cccccc

      I am not trying to be mean but who is killing innocent people in Afganistan,Iraq,Kipar for the last 10 years is it Muslims or American solders, for what are they doing it do you know??? I am guessing you have no clue, you are here saying something but have no clue,you have no religion you dont belive in God because you are disrespecting someelses religion and do you know that Jusus(Isa a.s.) is in Koran i bet you dont know that eather do you know where Norway is in the map i guess you dont SO GO AND LEARN ALL THOSE THINGS AND MAYBE YOU CAN POST SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE ON HERE ...

      July 26, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • mathew

      This is where you are wrong. When a muslim is involved in an act that involves something you call/term is as terrorism and this time when this guy was a non muslim who slaughtered almost a hundred people your calling him a gunmen. I just wanna say that YES the muslims do have a bad image coz theres always another side of the coin and all are not bad. But why this discrimination of terming MUSLIMS as terrorists only?

      July 26, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  19. timetraveler

    Go made two HUGE mistakes: 1) making flies and 2) making arabs.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  20. Ali

    Zionist are the terrorist You are all living in dreamworld Neo!!!!! Soon you will be wakeup..

    July 26, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Ben

      U should thank Germany and Hitler then for your issues with Israel.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Logan9773

      You muslim trash are so funny. You blame the Jews for everything. If everyone wasn't attacking them, they would probably be the most peaceful religion on Earth. All they want to do is be left alone. You muzzies, on the other hand, aren't happy unless your out killing your neighbors. Your satanists.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Ali

      Ben; Hitler is Jews too.. search New World Order history.. ok..

      July 26, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Spiffy

      Actually Logan it the Jews and the UN who took the Palestinians land without even reaching a deal that both agreed upon. If anyone is trash it those who steal then act like the victim.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Ali

      By the way check you money 1 $ bill nous ordo seclorum , what it is mean?? One secular world what is this? New World Order it means ONE RELİGİON ONE GOVERMENT ONE ARMY etc etc.. What is the meaning of all seen eye? USA is established by Babylonis.. Read New World order history or secret of USA establishment.. Learn your true founders who are them.. ok

      July 26, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Logan9773

      What "palestinians"? You mean the nomads that wondered around there? There never was a "Palestine". Its not even a great plot of land. You muslims want it just because the jews wanted it. That's pathetic.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Ali

      Logan9773; satanists are Zionist.. you have to search a lot for seeing the truth bro.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.