Life on earth has always been a challenge for mankind, surviving between problems, material as well as spiritual. At different times, there were different problems; there were always hurdles to be overcome and threatening dangers to be conquered.
One of the distinctive characteristics of the times we live in is the overwhelming presence of violence and aggressiveness in our societies. Sometimes bombs explode in markets, sometimes in schools, sometimes hotels are attacked and sometimes people are under attacks during their prayer time. The hijackings of aircrafts where people are held at ransom for someone to achieve his personal and political ends are also among the sad aspects of the recent human history. We live in an age where the manipulation and loss of innocent lives has become commonplace.
In recent years thousands of innocent men, women and children have been killed very brutally. Thousands of families have been destroyed, thousands of women became widows, thousands of children have been made orphans and millions have lost all their belongings. So many buildings and infrastructures were destroyed and the world witnessed huge economic loss. This is one of the main reasons for the increase of poverty in many parts of the world. In these attacks many talented persons have been killed, thus a huge loss had happened to the national and international talent. And moreover, these terrorist and suicide attacks have destroyed the world peace.
And terrorism, the extreme of violence and aggressiveness, is considered one of the prime threats to the peace and security of our societies. If we look back towards human history, we can easily find that the word “terrorism” came into wide use a few decades ago. What do the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ mean? Dictionaries will define a terrorist as one who systematically uses violence and intimidation to achieve political ends – or one who controls or forces others to do something by violence, fear or threats. And ‘terrorism’ means, the use of violent action in order to achieve political aims or to force a government to act accordingly.
These definitions show that the use of every sort of aggressiveness, intolerance and violence for gaining political or personal ends is terrorism. Those who do not believe in tolerance, harmony and dialogue and try to get whatever they want by using force are to be called terrorists. Those who have lost every shred of human decency are the ones who will eventually resort to terrorising others, forcing them into complying with their demands.
And when we examine the terrorist attacks of recent decades, we also find the involvement of some Muslim groups or individuals. Such terrorist and suicide attacks are completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated at any cost, and must be condemned in the strongest terms because it is a grave crime against mankind.
The Holy Quran states: “Whosoever killed a person…. it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” This means that killing a single human life is like the killing of entire human race and saving a single human life is like saving all mankind. What a grave crime is to kill a person and on the contrary what a great deed is to save a human life.
It is our belief that not only religion, but also no society based on values or just government, whatever its name, can sanction violence and bloodshed of innocent men, women and children. Terrorists may use religious or political labels, but no one should be deceived by their wily ways and treacherous guiles. In reality, they are the enemies of peace.
In the last few weeks, one piece of news has attracted the attention of almost all the world. And people are expecting the world to be a better and safer haven for themselves, after the death of the head of the Al-Qaida, Osama Bin Laden who was involved in heinous acts and committed grave crimes against humanity. He, and the people who confess his ideology, have hijacked the name of a peaceful religion ‘Islam’ to gain their personal ends and interests; and they have slain thousands of innocent men, women and children, in the name of the most Gracious and the ever Merciful God.
They all tried to portray themselves as the face of Islam. But, that is not Islam; that is not humanely behaviour; not even a glimpse of humanity. Islam is an extremely tolerant religion. They caused a significant amount of pain to all Muslims across the world. I condemn all these acts of violence and bloodshed, most strongly, categorically, and unreservedly.
But, now the question arises: After the death of the founder of this violent terrorist ideology, is the world really a safer and a better place to live now?
I think the death of a person may not change the whole scenario, despite the fact that the person was the most wanted, because he has left his legacy and ideology behind. If this ideology is not addressed properly and given considerable attention, the situation will not be much different.
Be it very clear, that we do not justify terrorism of any sort and for any reason, whatsoever, and we most strongly condemn all sorts and kinds of terrorism. I believe that terrorism will be eliminated only with fair policies and absolute justice. Why do people become terrorists? Ignorance, lack of education, lack of facilities, oppression and lack of dialogue are amongst the reasons of this terrorism. And very unfortunately, the misinterpretations of religious teachings by clerics and zealots have fuelled this ideology. This is totally wrong and condemnable.
It is my fervent prayer to God that we may all soon see the dawn of everlasting peace. May we all enjoy the peace, serenity and tranquillity of this world as well as of the next. Amen
(BY: Laiq Ahmed Atif, president Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta)