December 9, 2015

Terrorists not true Muslims, says scholar

It is impossible for a Muslim who has fully learned and understood Islam to become a terrorist, Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has said.

While condemning the Paris terror attacks in which 127 people were killed, Mr Gülen said a real Muslim would never intentionally commit an act of terrorism and a terrorist cannot be considered a real Muslim.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack which French President Francois Hollande dubbed as an act of war against France.

“Once again, I strongly condemn all kinds of terrorist acts that are perpetrated by anyone and for whatever stated reason,” he said, describing the attacks as an “inhuman massacre”.

Stressing that he is in deep grief over the attack on innocent civilians, Gülen said, "These terrorist acts have dealt the greatest blow to peace and tranquility and must be considered by everyone as unacceptable crimes that should be condemned without 'buts' or 'ifs' and without any excuse."

“A true Muslim can never be a terrorist and a terrorist can never be a true Muslim,” he said, reiterating the famous remarks made right after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001.

The scholar sent his condolences to the families of the France victims and offered his condolences to Hollande and the French people. He wished the wounded a speedy recovery.

"Terrorism is the foremost threat to human life, which is the most sacred and most universal value," the scholar said adding that no religion, no idea, no viewpoint can be so corrupt as to approve such acts.

He added: "Suicide bombers will go to hell forever and they will be called to account for the innocent people they killed.”

Gülen said Islam attaches the utmost regard to the sanctity of human life. He cited a verse of the Quran that states “killing an innocent person unjustly is like killing all of mankind”. The scholar said the protection of human life is one of the fundamental values of Islam.

Last year, Gülen placed notices in leading US and European newspapers, including in France, to condemn the atrocities of IS against the background of the murders of Alan Henning, James Foley among others by the militants. Gülen had said IS's actions are a "disgrace to the faith they proclaim and crimes against humanity".

He said religion provides a foundation upon which to establish peace, human rights, freedom and the rule of law, adding that "any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to fuel conflicts, are simply wrong and deceitful”.

Referring to other terrorist organisations that claim the name of Islam, Gülen said IS is not the first group to "use religious rhetoric to mask its cruelty" and mentioned Al Qaeda and Boko Haram, which have in common "a totalitarian mentality that denies human beings their dignity".

Gülen who is known for inspiring the grassroots Hizmet movement, also known as the Gülen movement, with his peaceful teachings, reiterated the incompatibility of Islam and violence. "Any form of violence against innocent civilians or persecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Quran and the tradition of our Prophet (peace be upon him)," his message stated.

He also condemned terrorist groups in 2013 after a deadly shooting and hostage crisis at the Westgate Mall in which more than 60 people were killed and church and mosque bombings in Iraq and Pakistan killing scores of civilians.

Published on Kenya Standard Digital News, 9 December 2015, Wednesday