Posted by: Andrew | November 16, 2015

Why All means All – or why we should stop asking Muslims to condemn every terrorist attack

Many years ago when my son was 4 years old I had the following conversation with him on the way to nursery school:

Son: Dad how big is God?
Me: Bigger than everything
Son: Bigger than that house?
Me: Yes, bigger than everything
Son: Bigger than that tree?
Me: Yes, bigger than everything
Son: Bigger than a rocket?
Me: Yes, bigger than everything
Son: Bigger than the moon?
Me: Yes, he’s bigger than the moon and the sun and the whole universe, he’s bigger than EVERYTHING
Pause…
Son: Even bigger than that car?
Me: ARRRRGGHHH YES!!!

Sadly in the last few years than have been several terrorist attacks committed round the world by people claiming to do them in the name of Islam, whether this is AL Qaeda, (so called) IS, Boko Haram or others, and they tend to use Qur’anic texts to try to justify their evil and terrible actions. This, inevitably, has led to scrutiny of Muslim communities around the world and a demand that Muslim leaders condemn the terrorist attacks. However, as time has gone on the conversations between some people in the media and Muslim leaders is starting to resemble the conversation I had with my son:

Journalist: What is your response to this terrorist attack?
Muslim leader: We condemn this and all acts of terrorism
Journalist: What is your response to the terrorist attack in London?
Muslim leader: We condemn this and all acts of terrorism
Journalist: What is your response to the terrorist attack in Australia?
Muslim leader: We condemn this and all acts of terrorism
Journalist: What is your response to the terrorist attack in Tunisia?
Muslim leader: We totally condemn this and all acts of terrorism wherever they take place.
Pause…
Journalist: So what about the terrorist attacks in France
Muslim leader: YES, We condemn this and all acts of terrorism

If you haven’t heard condemnation from Muslim leaders can I suggest you google something like ‘Muslims condemn terrorist attacks’ where you’ll find plenty. Sadly their condemnations don’t always hit the press so don’t get heard, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been said.

And maybe it’s time to trust people that when they say all, they do actually mean all.

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