An Appeal to European Muslims: Let Us have a Common Word with our Neighbors
By Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia
There is no recipe for success, but there is a recipe for failure. The recipe for failure is violence “in the name of Allah”.
I have never felt so shocking nor so shameful as I felt while listening to the world media about the bloody London Bridge attack claiming to be done “in the name of Allah”. I cannot accept it because this not my faith. This is not Allah I believe in. My Allah is not hater! My Allah is not violent! My faith is not the knife! My faith is not the terror. My Allah is Loving and Merciful! My faith is common sense and a warm word. But how am I going to explain it to my neighbors in Europe? After Manchester and London, they have no will to listen to me anymore. They don’t buy my faith love stories; they don’t care about my faith beauty narratives. They are no longer interested in my faith story whatsoever. They want to know what I have done to stop the bloody violence “in the name of Allah” in the streets of European?! I have done a lot, but it seems it is not enough.
I confess, I have never felt so confused and so helpless to explain what is going on in and around my Faith Community. I was interpreting it as a conspiracy against Muslims. I consoled myself that it was just a transitory episode. I argued that it is an act of extreme minority. I have been avoiding to be overwhelmed with it. I explained that it is just a political game by big powers to gain the Muslim wealth. And I was listening to those who say: “They hate Muslims.” This was all I could think of to avoid the clear and loud confession that my Faith Community has a big problem in and around itself. But now I confess: my Faith Community has many problems. And the biggest of all is the problem of denial as well as the delegation of its problems to others to be solved. I have realized, then, that I have to be clear and loud that my Faith Community has a problem, which can no longer be denied, nor can it be delegated to others to be solved. Indeed, my Faith Community (my Ummah) must solve the problem in itself before it can solve the problems around it. Indeed, the problem inside of my Fait Community is much more difficult and dangerous than the problem which outside of it.
I know there are those who will complain as to why the bloody attack against innocent civilians in Manchester and London are more important than the bloody attacks in Palestine, Kabul, Mosul, Sa’na, Misrata… It is not more important, but it is certainly more dangerous for Muslims in Europe, of whom a majority has migrated from countries with a Muslim majority, fleeing from there and asking for peace and security for their children here in Europe. Now, this peace and security that they have experienced so far is greatly threatened. After Manchester and London, and before that Paris, Berlin and Zurich, a great cloud of uncertainty hovers over Muslims in Europe. European Muslims must be aware of this. Therefore, the European Muslims must be loud and clear not only to condemn the violence “in the name of Allah,” but must take concrete steps against the misuse of Islam in any way. European Muslims must have a united, clear and unequivocal voice in the fight against violence claimed to be in “the name of Allah”. It is no longer a matter of the good will of individuals and groups working on interfaith dialogue, but this is existential question of Islam and Muslims in Europe.
Therefore, I urge the European Muslims to immediately gather around the “common word between us and them,” our neighbors in Europe, regardless of faith, race and nationality to take an oath before God, ourselves and our neighbors in Europe to cherish and promote peace, security and neighborly cooperation to which we are bound by our Islamic faith and our Islamic culture. Indeed, we must take an oath that we will fight violence against innocent people together with our neighbors whatever it takes. We, the current generation of European Muslims, owe this to our descendants. We must not leave our debts to our innocent descendants!
There is no time for hesitation!
There is no room for calculation!
There is no excuse for procrastination!
There is no justification for waiting!
There is no salvation in silence!
There is no point in indecision and indifference !
There is no collective innocence without the conviction and the isolation of individuals!
There is no future for Islam or Muslims in Europe except in coexistence and tolerance with European neighbors!
If we today do not do our sacred duty, our descendants will curse us tomorrow for our failure!