Islam frowns on terrorism

terrorism is one of the biggest challenges to both national and global security and constitutes a major concern in today’s world. It is a formidable enemy of our time since it involves targeting and killing innocent men, women and children.
The menace of terrorism has succeeded in creating panic, apprehension and fear across the entire globe. Hence, there is the need to take aggressive measures to curtail its impact in the best interest of public safety.
The term terrorism is often defined as unlawful violence or systematic use of terror against civilians or politicians for ideological or political reasons, with the intention to create fear. Terrorism is practiced by nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments.

• An act of terrorism
• An act of terrorism

According to statistics Nigeria and Somalia are the countries most affected by terrorism in Africa in terms of attacks and life losses. Between 2007 and 2019, Nigeria recorded 4,383 terrorist attacks, while Somalia counted 1,923. Several militant groups are active in Nigeria, with Boko Haram being the deadliest terrorist group. (Statista)
Although terrorism existed since the dawn of mankind and long before some of us were born, it has become more pronounced and sophisticated in this digital era due to the impact of globalization.
This is evident from what we see going on around the world via the television screens, newspapers and the social media on daily basis about the high spate of violence, indiscriminate killing and acts of terror perpetrated by people either for political reasons or in the name of God or religion.
Ironically, people kill innocent civilians, abduct children, rape women, blow up buildings and claim they were doing that to please the Most Merciful God. That is ridiculous!
It is important to point out categorically that there is no heavenly religion whatsoever that approves of violence and killing of innocent men, women and kids. People who embark on these atrocities do that to satisfy their own egotistic and selfish interest, but not to glorify the name of God.
Life is sacrosanct, that is why we are admonished to save it and not to destroy it. Therefore, if any individual Muslim or group of Muslims were to kill innocent people or perpetrate acts of terrorism, they would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.
According to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe. The Qur’an reiterates that to kill an innocent life is as sinful as killing a whole community of innocent people. “Whoever takes a life, unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land, it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity.” (Qur’an 32:42)
The noble prophet Muhammad (pbuh) again warned that on the Day of Judgment, the first cases to be adjudicated between people would be those of bloodshed.
The Qur’an highlights a very important ethical value that Muslims need to imbibe in their life routines: “Good and evil cannot be equal. Repel evil with what is better, and your enemy will become as close as an old and valued friend.”(Quran 41:34)
The above beautiful verse underscores the fact that virtue is in turning one’s enemy into a friend through peaceful means and not through vengeance, hatred, fighting, insults, killing or waging war against him. Interestingly, the verse was revealed at a time when the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions were being persecuted by their enemies.
Islam is a religion of moderation. It stands for peace and against all forms of extremism, terror and violent attacks on innocent people. Therefore, the barbaric act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women, and children are completely unethical and evil.
There is no way we can rationalize or justify violence using religion. Even in times of war, Muslims are prohibited from killing civilians (non-combatants) such as: women, children, the aged and the weak. They are prohibited from destroying an inhabited places, houses, churches, mosques, synagogues and monasteries where the name of God is being celebrated. “Do not kill any elderly person, woman or child,” “Do not kill people who are sitting in houses of worship” and “Do not kill the monks in their monasteries” The aforementioned were the instructions given by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Muslims are also prohibited to cut down crops and fruit bearing trees, damage properties, poison water sources and slaughter even sheep or camel except for food. The opposing side must be treated justly, with the wounded and prisoners of war given fair and humane treatment.
Unfortunately, what we see today is the direct opposite. People hide behind religion to kill and commit all sort of atrocities against human dignity. It is t,herefore, important to clear the wrong perception and the misconceptions that Muslims are violent simply because of the attitude of some very few overzealous and fanatical Muslims.
As a collective people, we must all eschew and condemn violence in all its forms and manifestations no matter where it is coming from, whether from Muslims, Christians, Jews, pagans or any individual of group.
Our country today faces a real threat of terrorism with the heightened attacks in neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Nigeria, as they spread their tentacles across national boundaries.
According to the West Africa Centre for Counter-Terrorism the Bawku Conflict and the Western Togoland issue are very dangerous for Ghana’s security. The report explained that with their huge exploitative capacity, extremists descending on Ghana and other coastal countries in the sub-region could take advantage of existing threats.
Ghanaians are peace-loving people, we must, therefore, consolidate this spirit of peace by learning to coexist peacefully with all the people around us. We must also teach our children about other people and their culture, and by reinforcing love, forgiveness and tolerance we are giving them the skills to live peacefully and comfortably in a diverse world.
In conclusion, I think to effectively fight against terrorism, which is posing a serious threat to our national security, we must all collaborate with the security agencies and report any suspicious or potential terrorists activities in our neighborhood.
In fact, the Ministry of National Security has to be commended for launching a citizen awareness campaign strategy against terrorism, dubbed: “See Something, Say Something’ with the emergency toll-free number 999. This campaign is aimed at encouraging citizens to report suspicious persons or activities to enable the state respond effectively to the threat of terrorism.
The role of the media, mosques and the churches cannot be underestimated in the fight against terrorism. Imams, pastors, chiefs, parents, educators and landlords also have a big role to play.
Apparently, with the proliferation of foreigners in the country, landlords need to exercise due diligence by carefully screening prospective tenants’ backgrounds before renting out their premises to them.
It is also the duty of the government as well as the security and intelligent agencies to continue to be on high alert to protect the country and its citizenry from any potential threats and attacks.

The writer is the Imam of Bilal Bun Rabah Mosque at New Fadama, Educationist and Islamic Scholar


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