Do I really have a responsibility to condemn ISIS?

14 Sep

By writing about this topic, I am breaking this blog’s cardinal rule of not being relevant in the slightest but this is just a note to politically incorrectly say that I am finding this continuous condemnation of ISIS by Muslims absolutely exhausting.

Forget ISIS as an entity for a moment, its barbarity and that it needs to be tackled. This is stating the obvious. Specifically, let us focus on the act of condemnation. If Muslim institutions/individuals want to condemn and highlight as a means of warning the foolish, or as a means of being educational or of all the horrors of the world, this is the topic that has caught their attention, then that’s wonderful. But Muslims, really, you should not feel compelled to condemn ISIS continuously and constantly to show that this isn’t the real Islam. Sometimes, condemning simply becomes apologising.

This ‘responsibility for Muslims to condemn’ is part of a narrative, where once a month some story comes out about the niqab, or gender segregation or halal meat being served in restaurants, or like now, our position in relation to a political crisis happening on the side of the world. It’s this horrible trap where we’re always having to react from a position of defence, our lives defined by these things that we have to think about and talk about and state our position on, when some of us just came for the food. When this happens as often as it does, we end up creating a conception of our Islam and the meaning of our lives in relation to these things. But I want to create my own conception of Islam and the meaning of my life using my own impulses and sources and ideas, free of all this pressure of what I am supposed to say to be one of the O.K Muslims.

I know the argument is that we have a responsibility to condemn because ISIS are using the language of our religion but, in the words of Mark Regev: let’s be clear now. The language of all religions and righteousness has been used in the perpetration of horror and violence since forever. Sure, it is necessary to have a counter response but I dislike this idea that its a duty incumbent on every Muslim. ISIS is a part of a huge geopolitical crisis spanning since the First World War in the Middle East, and I owe no personal individual responsibility to what is happening over there. How can I? I’m actually, quite literally, just sitting here on my grandma’s sofa keeping my hands to myself. If a madman says they represent me, the onus is not on me to prove that they do not. The onus is on you realise that mad and evil men say mad and evil things.

If you, Muslim or non-Muslim, are imposing this responsibility to condemn, understand the reality of what you are saying in terms of the individual and the imposition of an unfair burden. I, like you, have finite time in my life that I want to spend fully and well on my own concerns and priorities. After finally sitting down to watch the Dark Knight the other night, I realise ¾ of the way through that it’s a bloody sequel. I wanted to scream. Watching sequels without watching the previous films is my worst nightmare; I always feel like I’m missing out on some depth and I just end up sighing sorrowfully throughout the film. Do you understand my point? I am a simple girl with simple wants and a life I deserve to live. All I want to do is watch my films in order, read the books on my reading list and collect my stamps. It’s probably not the life you’d choose for yourself but it makes me happy. And while I admit that I am still deliberating over my whole argument, for now, I also admit that I’m caring more about sourcing the first Batman film while I’m still in Yemen.

3 Responses to “Do I really have a responsibility to condemn ISIS?”

  1. Nura September 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM #

    Okay u have yourself to blame for this long response XD

    To be honest the whole apologetic rhetoric is getting reaaaally old e.g.

    “no no they’re not Muslims”
    “no we are normal people”
    “we are just trying to get by please ISIS are ruining our image”
    “I’d like to just come out and say all these ISIS characters don’t represent us”
    “Please look at this essay proving Quran doesn’t promote this”

    and similar comments coloured guilt and embarrassment.
    It is pathetic.
    Its like we are the parents taking responsibility of a rowdy child (ISIS) “please don’t mind him, he’s a bit fussy in the morning” – seriously?!
    Explaining ISIS’s actions to be of outside Islam is the last thing we should be doing.

    You cracked it when you said: “It’s this horrible trap where we’re always having to react from a position of defence, our lives defined by these things that we have to think about and talk about and state our position on, when some of us just came for the food”.

    If someone was to ask oh what’s Islam based on or what’s your core principle? We would say: “Oh its basically based on constantly reacting to misconceptions and eternally explaining to people who don’t know how to Google or use Wikipedia”. Its becoming an idol for some people, any time there is something in the media they pounce on it and address because they find the Deen dry and this makes things a bit spicy.

    Now don’t get me wrong I address controversy left, right and centre but not the same way certain people do it. There are two ways to go about it (as with all things lol) :
    – Unhealthily (i.e. your faith depends on it, makes you feel like you are a secret agent)
    – Healthily (i.e. you chose to engage with it, you have something else to return to afterwards, you don’t depend on it for Imaan)

    KABOOM RIGHT HERE: “If a madman says they represent me, the onus is not on me to prove that they do not. The onus is on you realise that mad and evil men say mad and evil things.”

    To conclude, whenever someone tries to pin something down us always turn it around on them, not all people who discuss ISIS are sincere to find the truth, actually talking about Islam is the last resort. Just the other day I watched the convo with Hassan Shibly and Megan from FOX news and I thought why is he asking if she knows the Maqasid of Sharia’, she clearly is an emotional news reporter, what does orthodoxy mean to her lol? With people like you have to say that the answer is in your own history fool! She isn’t interested in religious discussion, she’s not a theologian XD

    Either speak little about ISIS like a few statements here or there or do a full on expose project. That’s what I would do. If I was like an Imam in a mosque or something I would say something small like “ISIS sucks yes we all know”. OR I would do an intense research for like a month with 50 sources or something.

    Now on another note……

    A moment of silence for this terrible news: “After finally sitting down to watch the Dark Knight the other night, I realise ¾ of the way through that it’s a bloody sequel.”

  2. poorlittlemuslimgirl October 13, 2014 at 9:06 PM #

    So many good points Nura. There’s definitely a place to address this, but you are so right in that there are proper effective ways to do this. The problem is that we want to frame the debate our way, which an interview with fox news doesn’t allow for! its a tricky area definitely. And thank you for understanding the tragedy of what happened to me re The Dark Knight. x

    • Nura October 15, 2014 at 5:11 PM #

      haha 😀 agreed
      hope you are having a good day!

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