Speaker’s Corner: Extremism and Terrorism – The Real Crisis Of Conscience, by imam Ajmal Masroor

By Myriam Francois|April 6, 2016|Uncategorized|2 comments

Extremism and Terrorism – The Real Crisis Of Conscience

by Imam Ajmal Masroor

Ajmal 2

The current crisis of extremism and terrorism engulfing the world is not a new crisis, not the first and it will not be the last either. It is called rebellion against the natural order. The first such rebellion is noted in the religious textbooks of Judaism, Christianity and Islam where the story of the Devil’s deception is noted when he openly defies God and rebels, then lures Adam and Eve to disobey God too and commit the first ever sin by a human being. It was the conscience of Adam and Eve that redeemed them of their first sin and it is our conscience that will redeem us from the evil of extremism and terrorism.


Throughout human history whenever human beings have veered from morally sound and spiritually deep lifestyle they have stooped extremely low just like the Devil. Life devoid of true meaning and purpose is easily filled with destructive evil thoughts and actions. I believe the world has lost its way today and has descended so low that evil is being endorsed as good and good is being condemned as evil. This is a terrible loss of conscience.

Part of this evil narrative is the pugnacious mind-set that believes in self-righteousness, puritanism and fanaticism. They wish the world to be a clone copy of their utopia. The battle raging in the world is a battle between two extremes – on one end we have religious extremists who claim to be fighting a “holy war” inspired by Islam and at the other end, are the materialist extremists who simply wish to have political and economic domination of the world at any cost. Both of these groups of people are part of the problem. They do not represent ordinary peace loving and compassionate human beings of the world.

Recent terror attacks in Brussels, Istanbul, Ankara and Paris are all a hallmark of a new breed of more virulent religious violent extremists. Unfortunately, their hate mantra is attracting some young people in the world today, even if the number is extremely small. They are more brutal than what we have witnessed before. They have struck cities in the heart of Europe more vigorously and intend to cause maximum carnage, death and destruction. Their main purpose is to create friction between Europe’s diverse people especially between Muslims and non-Muslims.

There are many reasons why terrorism is proliferating in the world today. We have to ask ourselves the most basic question. Why do we have terrorism in the first place? If we accept that terrorist are not born but made, we have to examine the conditions and motivations that provided the conveyer belt for people to prefer terrorism. The world cannot be in denial of the most basic law of cause and affect.

I believe the answer lies in the hundreds of years of slavery and suppression the Muslims nations around the globe have experienced at the hands of the colonisers, postcolonial dictators and despots and current reign of illegitimate regimes. Western nations’ political, military, intelligence and economic support sustain the brutal regimes’ grip of power. The West’s ill-gotten and illegal wars and invasion have paved the way for even more misery in the Muslim world. This is exacerbated by the fact that they cannot find a peaceful way to free themselves from the iron fist of perpetual oppression and subjugation. Some opt for violence as a means of being heard and in their search for freedom.

Would terrorism lead them to freedom? No, it would not lead anyone to any constructive outcome. It would cause more trouble and turmoil, loss of innocent lives, destruction of property and widespread disharmony. It is termed as “Fitna” in the Quran and means civil strife, which has been compared to worse than killing.

It is even more shocking that many young Muslims who were either born or bred in Europe have chosen to join terrorist groups including DAESH in Syria and Iraq. They have lived in Europe and enjoyed all its freedom and opportunities and yet have chosen to strike at the heart of Europe killing their fellow citizens indiscriminately. This is barbaric and a colossal betrayal of trust with far reaching consequences. I believe anyone who does that should have his or her citizenship revoked and punished for treason. Islam is very clear on this issue – if you hate Europe and wish to harm its people you should return your passport and leave. Find a country and people you would be happy with.

However, European Muslim leaders and I along with my fellow Imams can say this until we are blue in our faces. It may not have any real impact. Those who perpetrated these heinous attacks blame the West in general, and Europe in particular for duplicitousness – while the West enjoys freedom they deny the Muslim nations the same freedom. They preach democracy around the world but when the Muslim nations democratically elect a government of their own choice the West interferes and often robs them of democracy. We, the people of the West, Muslims and non-Muslims must also wake up and smell the coffee. We have to be consistent with our preaching and practice. We should support freedom for all people, democracy across the world and rule of law for every nation. We have to be honest with our appraisal and recognise the consequences of our unethical foreign policies.

Their grievances may have legitimacy, but their terrorist activities have none.

Under no circumstances is one allowed to carry out terrorist acts. There is no Islam in terror, there is no God in terrorism and no true Muslim should ever support terrorists. Anyone who kills any innocent person is compared to killing the entirety of humanity. The philosophy that underpins Islamic lifestyle is about peace, justice and compassion for all people. Terrorism is the complete antithesis of Islam.

The consequences of these terror attacks in Europe is that many Muslims have experienced revenge attacks, a few lives have also been lost and Muslims are suffering daily abuse at the hands of some of their non-Muslim fellow citizens. European countries are enacting draconian and disproportionate laws that openly discriminate against Muslims and their institutions. For example the veil ban in France, minaret ban in Switzerland, Mosque ban in Italy, halal meat ban in Denmark and PREVENT programme in the UK are all adding to the daily Muslim discrimination industry, where mocking, ridiculing and attacking Muslims have become fashionable and acceptable in Europe today. This is exactly what the extremists of DAESH want – they wish to engineer a clash between Islam and the West.

If European Muslims do not feel safe on the streets of Europe, the terrorists have won.

Terror attacks have taken the lives of many Muslims and non-Muslims across the world. We have to defeat terrorism with a new empowering, consistent and inclusive narrative and togetherness.  There is no clash between Islam and the West. In fact there is more Islam in the West today than in most Muslim countries. This world is one and we all have equal right to exist. We are all human beings and we must be given equal worth and dignity. The resources of this world must be shared equitably between all its inhabitants. All nations and people deserve to live under freedom, democracy and rule of law. Our future and the world’s future lie in our own hands. This is the universal message of Islam and this is what a true Muslim believes and practices.

The crisis in our world is actually a crisis of conscience. Extremists and terrorists of all background share this common malaise. They are selfish, narrow minded and unenlightened. As the Quran states, “replace evil with something that is better” is the paramount task facing the entire humanity. If we wish to defeat terrorism we have to rid the world of inequality and injustice. We have to create a fairer and more compassionate world.


Ajmal Masroor is a Bangladeshi-born British Imam, broadcaster and politician. Partner & CCO of . He is well known for being a television presenter on political discussions and on Muslim channels.

He tweets @AjmalMasroor


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About Myriam Francois

This is the official blog for the SOAS-CIS. It aims to encourage scholars to debate and engage with the wider public on the basis of their research and will foster discussions about mainly UK and also European Integration discourse as relates to Islam and British Muslims. We tweet @SoasCis

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