‘Innocent until proven guilty’, is the principle known as the presumption of innocence. It is the principle that assumes innocence putting the burden of proof on the accuser. This principle applies in most countries now, thankfully, including the UK, and was enshrined as a basic human right under article 11 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. For Muslims this has been enshrined in the Law since fourteen centuries earlier, as the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhī wa sallam) said: “Al-bayyina ʿalā al-Muddaʿī—[the duty] to clarify is upon the claimant.”
However, this most basic of God-given rights seemingly does not apply today to the Muslim community in relation to acts of terrorism. In fact, far from being innocent until proven guilty, the presumption of guilt starts from the outset, without reliable evidence and proof. Some tend to selectively ignore this trend but others are more open about it. Indeed, the pressures are so great, that a level of self-guilt has been consciously or subconsciously absorbed by many in the Muslim community itself.
Let us take, for instance, the terror attack in Westminster last week. Even before any formal confirmation that a terrorist atrocity actually had been carried out, some national Muslim representative organisations had begun to condemn it. This may at face value seem very reasonable; after all, why would we not condemn something categorically forbidden by the Sharīʿa? However, in my opinion if we look at the context, what such a swift and specific condemnation did was instantly associate ‘Muslims’ with this act of terror.
This leads to what is known as ‘guilt by association.’ There is always overwhelming pressure, on Muslim organisations, from right wing sections of the media and islamophobes. They expect us in particular to condemn because they want to reinforce the association between terrorism and Muslims. Hence, to negate such criticism, Muslim organisations are always obligated to denounce and almost seem in a hurry to condemn, even before the full facts are known. In fact, as it then ultimately transpired after four days of intensive enquiries, the police investigating the attack have concluded that the alleged perpetrator “acted entirely alone for reasons that may never be known.” Hence, the reality is that the incident may never have been Islam-related or even politically motivated at all, despite the location of the attack being virtually on the doorstep of the Houses of Parliament.
There has almost become a predestined sequence of stages that the Muslim community seem to go through once news of a putative terrorist incident comes through. After the initial shock and horror, there is a forlorn hope, desire and some may argue desperation, that the perpetrator not be a Muslim. As a consequence this results in the knee-jerk ‘Muslim condemnation’ from the various Muslim representatives, even before the facts are known. This condemnation then seamlessly merges into a phase which can be best described as a form of ‘community restorative justice’ together with a defiant defence of Islām. Restorative justice is when an offender, in this case the party presumed guilty, carries out an act of making amends for a crime that they may have committed. To this end, the Muslim community sent countless messages of sympathy, condolences and took part in many acts of solidarity, with a Muslim group reportedly raising £18k in one day for the victims.
The Muslim community of Birmingham felt an even greater sense of ‘guilt by association’ due to the fact that the alleged perpetrator had lived in Birmingham for a period of time. This motivated hundreds to attend a demonstration in Birmingham which was themed as ‘Not In My Name’. This ‘Not In My Name’ title was used by the anti-war movement when the Blair government voted for Britain’s involvement in the invasion and war in Iraq. The irony is that a sense of ‘opting-out’ is possible when it comes to democratic decisions made by parliamentarians, however what level of ‘opting-out’ is possible when your association is determined by your faith and the city in which you live?
There definitely are good arguments for the showing of sympathy, solidarity, outrage, and so on. However the question here is the self-guilt that many of us may have absorbed over the years. Professedly to counter Islamophobic myths and stereotypes push out by “the media”, the Muslim community have released statements, press releases, countless condemnations, taken part in demonstrations, acts of solidarity and even raised money for victims. But will this actually fix the problem? Will this make those Islamophobes who have been brainwashed by multimillion-dollar industry, begin to like us? Will this show that Islam is truly a religion of peace? Will the gaze of suspicion ever move away from the Muslim community when there is another act of terrorism? The answer to all of the above, in my opinion, is no.
Breaking the Cycle
In their article, After Westminster: It’s going to take courage to break the cycle, advocacy group CAGE refer to a cycle which starts with a terrorist incident and which always ends in more draconian, counterproductive “anti-terror” legislation. Unfortunately, as a consequence of systemic failures such as PREVENT, we have seen time and again Muslims disproportionately categorised as “terrorists” for doing similar crimes as others (many times not even actual crimes). This is fundamentally because the government’s CONTEST “Strategy for Countering Terrorism” only meaningfully covers what it terms ‘Islamic terrorism’ within the document. To be precise, 124 pages of the 125-page document talk about ‘Islamic terrorism’. Other forms of terrorism, including the far-right, only get tokenistic mentions. Hence, to put it in layman’s terms – the mesh size and shape for the PREVENT ‘terrorist’ fishing net is designed to only really catch Muslims that exhibit certain behaviour.
This inevitably has a knock-on effect when it comes to prosecutions. In 2016 there were 24 cases which were successfully prosecuted by the Counter Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). All of these cases, with the exception of one, Thomas Mair (killer of Jo Cox MP), were apparently ‘Islamic terrorism’ related. This is a staggering 96% of the cases, despite Muslims being 5% of the population. To reflect further on this disproportionate representation, readers are free to browse the CPS site for details of the actual ‘criminals’ convicted, with apparently a far lower threshold for what constitutes “terrorism offences” if it happens to be one type of terrorism.
The Way Forward
It is evident in my opinion that our current state of affairs is untenable. No amount of condemnation, solidarity, charity or demonstrating the goodness of Islām is going break this cycle, because it only takes one person’s crime to bring us back to square one, in such a system structurally failing us.
The various national Muslim bodies and organisations which represent Muslims must now take firm and decisive action. The community on the whole have been voicing their objections to populist, structurally-racist and ultimately counterproductive “counter-terrorism” strategies for 14 years now. It is now time that Muslim organisations take their concerns and objections to the highest levels of government. There are clearly senior advocates to change, with Jeremy Corbyn stating, post the Westminster incident, that PREVENT needs to “be broadened to all communities so it doesn’t appear to target Muslims.” The least that can be said that it is a symbolic gesture to recognise something so ideologically-loaded and failing so spectacularly.
In the Meantime
In the meantime, Muslim organisations, leaders and ordinary people will need to contemplate and reflect on the best way to deal with acts of terrorism (and other acts labelled as “terrorism” by the press) in future. We must ensure that condemnation is timely and not to appease the right-wing neoconservatives and Islamophobes, but sincerely for Allāh’s sake. Critically, let us ensure that we are not selective in our condemnations – there are other terrorist atrocities, national and international, commit by state and non-state actors, which also deserve condemnation, however politically inconvenient they may seem.
Instead of condemning with the intention to appease people brainwashed by the Islamophobia industry, let us instead do—or if we are unable, support—the one thing which is tried and tested to melt the hearts of those indoctrinated by hate against Islām and Muslims: daʿwah. What history has shown us is that when Muslims interact on a personal level with others, that is when Allāh opens the hearts of those in whom there is some level of honesty, integrity and commitment to truth. It is no wonder that certain Islamophobes who embody the opposite of those values have openly called for the banning of daʿwah, in the wake of last week’s attack. This is a testament to their fear of those indoctrinated by their irrational hatred and ancient lies waking up!
It is now also time to call a spade a spade, and reject any association of our beautiful, peaceful and awe-inspiring Dīn of Islām with terrorism. The Muslim community can legitimately behave as the innocent party because we will refuse to assume any guilt. We will condemn only on the basis of morality, humanity and ethics, rather than any faith-based collective responsibility and self-guilt. Moreover, we must now stand in solidarity with the dignity and ʿizzah of the Dīn of Allāh and our Muslim brethren, rather than pander to whims and desires of the right wing press and the enemies of Islām.
 A well known juristic maxim based on hadīths reported by al-Bayhaqī, Bukhāri and Muslim
The principle of “innocent until proved guilty” cannot accurately be said to be “God-given”, because the existence of “God” is completely a matter of opinion, and rightness or wrongness of any law or principle is entirely the opinion of human beings, not supernatural entities, of whatever religion or cult.
Mukthar, don’t worry about Jack, it’s just one if the usual trolls with a new name. Trolls are quite funny aren’t they!
Anyone who criticises an article and it’s author is not a troll. Rather than making a sweeping statement, don’t you think that you should put forth something constructive. But than again you could only defend the author if what he has written makes any sense at all.
Islam didn’t bring violence to him. He brought violence to Islam. Accept the facts. He got a Muslim name.. That’s enough for Islamophobic Muslim haters sick people to bash 1.8 billion Muslims. Even they are not ashamed to hide American killing 47 and 233 civilian in Syrian and Iraq on 23 and 26 of this month. His lifestyle & behaviour is not one fitting of a Muslim or any decent human being. He was a British Christian terrorist that u guys are ashamed of therefore thinking the right place to dump pig blame is to associate him with Islam….Shame on u.
Lets not also Forget, He was a Christian for 45 years Adrian Russell.. he become violent and stabbed people while he was a Christian… I guess maybe that a very Christian upbringing isn’t it??
This man has a string of crimes and violence before using any religion has an excuse. I would just call him a crazed Brit. where did the guy in London state anywhere that he was doing it in the name of Islam … nowhere. The sad thing is more people have died at the hands of kids going into schools and shooting their class mates. Over the last decade than any attack blamed on religious or political purposes. More unharmed men have died at the end of a police officers gun. But they blame Islam.
Police investigating the Westminster attack have concluded that Khalid Masood acted entirely alone for reasons that may never be known. We have GOT to stop treating every act of violence involving a Muslim as an “ISIS attack” right out of the gate. Sadly, the guy was just a plain old case of mental illness left undealt with (care (!) in the community – lack of training in spotting mental problems – low awareness). Not an Islamic terrorist. This man was a psychopathic killer long before he took a Muslim name. He was an angry Christian for many years and would have done something like this regardless of religion. He was a druggy nutcase like so many of our unemployed and criminals. We need to replace welfare with national service and keep the poor off drugs and help them get fit and healthy. The devil makes work for idle hands.
Before you rant about Islam, the US-coalition murdered nearly 260 civilians in only one day in Mosul and Raqqa the other day. Now, who is the terrorist? Nearly every single “Islamic” terrorist who have attacked in the West have been a Salafi drug addict who drink alcohol, run nightclubs or commit any other grave sin. Anyway, when Muslims are murdered, or mosques burnt down in the West, no one who call themselves as “experts on Islam” seem to go on a rant. So, tell me again, who is the terrorist?
I was watching the other day BBC news and they were talking about his childhood, why? He killed 3 people on Wednesday and another person died after. I don’t care he was from Kent, which school we went, what did he do in Arabia Saudi etc. He killed innocent people. Newspapers and TV should be talking about those innocent people who died more than this disgusting person. Despite what some haters would want you to believe, Islam strictly forbids killing indiscriminately, killing non-combatant, destroying the environment, poisoning wells or chopping down trees and plants, destroying properties, wanton killing of animals etc. In short, as far as Islam is concerned, there is no such thing as necessary collateral damage.
“We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this. That understanding may have died with him.” There are a 100m devout Muslims in the world ….if Islam itself was so dangerous and threatening, we’d all be dead by now! Yes….this guy was ‘radicalised’…..he was also a violent offender well before that……he was also suffering, in all probability and from all the evidence, from an overwhelming obsessional mental health problem. There isn’t one single factor to explain what he did…..the combination made him a ticking bomb.
Getting in to bar fights is a little different from killing and maiming dozens of random people. Killing and maiming random people is what deranged Islamic supremacists do. He used a method which Isis is currently urging it’s followers to use to murder and terrorise. He converted to Islam went to Saudi Arabia and became an Islamic supremacist. That’s what made him a monster. His history of drug taking likely made him particularly susceptible to Islamic supremacist poison. Stop blaming other things for something that’s clearly an Islamic problem. Stop acting like a pathetic coward and be a man.
Is it the same houses of paliament that banned the 10 commandments (legislated against the 10 commandmens), and thereby brought the idea of democracy into disrepute. But I thought that the 10 commandments were the basis of civilisation. So why ban civilisation? That doesn’t make any sense that you consume the blessings of God for every second of your life, then ride rough shod on the wisdom and guidelines God All Mighty has sent down for y/our benefit. The idea of politiicans giving themselves pay rises and then to commit an act of treason against the lord of the universe and to betray the British people and to betray the idea civilisation is indeed obscene…..
Most British people don’t really know what is going on behind closed doors in the shadows….The good news is that from time to time we do get inkling/ clues for seekers of fact/ truth/ civilisation. One such clue was when Baroness Warsi resigned from the government/ inner cabinet after hearing of the terror attacks that the British government was sponsoring (If I remember correctly it was with regards to David Cameron supporting the Israeli teror attacks on Gaza concentration camp for the people there daring to ask for their lands and homes back, after they had been thieved by subversive zionsist perverts depravs arrogants criminals thugs & terrorists). Anyway, Baroness Warsi was true to the British people and resigned and in the process sent a signal/ blew the whistle to the British people that all is not what it seams in govt/ be careful of what the establishment is telling you from the podium because it is not true. They are liars and immoral people. (While claiming to fight terror, infact they are infact perpetrating terror). We also saw that the act of David Cameron lying to the British people and sponsporing terrorism lead to him falling on his own sword later. Indeed God sends signs and clues for people who care to reflect. God even documented in the eternal book of truths how godless leadershiips lie to their people and lead them over the precipice.
‘And they (dwellers of hell) say: Our Lord! Lo! we obeyed our princes and great men, and they misled us from the Way. Our Lord! Oh, give them double torment and curse them with a mighty curse.’ Quran(33:67-68)
‘When it is said to them (rejectors of faith in God), don’t promulgate fasaad (chaos anarchy tumult oppression tyranny corruption) through out the land/ country/ world’, they say – ‘We are only promoting peace’. Indeed it is they who are promoting fasaad, yet they lack insight/ understanding.” Quran(2:11-12)
My advice to the British people is to follow the lead of informed people and moral people such as Lauren Booth. She is a well travelled person. She has worked as a journalist as well as having connections to the government (her sister was married to PM). As such she understands the corrupt nature of government (abuse of government power on the international stage, etc) and the filth of the tabloid gutter press (she gave up her job of writing in the gutter press when she became Muslim because she realised that Musiim/ Islam with its standards and values was not compatible with gutter immorality, filth & lies). Lauren Booth is happy with her new life. She understands what is going on in the world (having understanding is a very liberating notion), and she is a lady with prospects (Gods paradise is as wide as the heavens).
‘And God calls you to the abode of peace/ civilisation (Dar-us-Salam) and guides whoever he wishes to the straight path/ best practice.’ Quran(10:25)
You say that the British people should follow the lead of moral and well informed people such as Lauren Booth. Can you give us names of other persons whose lead we can all follow and are they also Muslims and or converts to the Islamic faith? Also can a non Muslim person be “moral.”
You also state that “God calls you to the abode of peace/civilisation,” could you please clearly explain as to what you mean by the abode of peace and civilisation.
Than last you said that God “guides whoever he wishes to the straight path,” are you implying that the ones Who are not on the straight path are the unlucky ones because God has decided not to guide them? Also wha is the criteria that God uses to decide as to whom he will guide to the straight path?
Theresa May is not serious about security…. If she was serious she would be striving for a just world wouldn’t she? On the contrary she is striving for an unjust corrupt world. The British establishment was/ is party to assisting zionists extremists in evicting Palestinians from their homes and lands. When they asked for their homes and lands back they were blockaded into concentration camp Gaza and bombed. So two crimes, one after the other. Such is the godless system, the anti-thesis of civilisation values and norms. ‘Do not all matters reach God at the end (for judgement)’ Quran(42:53)
Those people who think of Africa as the bastion of corruption need to think again. It is not Africa who is the bastion of corruption, it is the UN Big Bruver insecurity council. It’s mafia members have willfully abused their power to spread war in the name of making peace. They are the corrupt ones. They are the anarchists. They are the criminals.
Excellent film that Avatar film. These godless (at odds with nature) grunts turn up on a resource rich planet to plunder and pillage. They brain wash themselves with their bellicose grunts and gossip that the indigenous are savages. In the end it transpires that the ‘savages’ are the civilised ones, and the ‘civilised’ ones are infact the savages.
‘When it is said to them (godless elements/ rejectors of faith in God), don’t promulgate fasaad (chaos anarchy tumult oppression tyranny corruption) through out the land/ country/ world’, they say – ‘We are only promoting peace’. Indeed it is they who are promoting fasaad, yet they lack insight/ understanding.” Quran(2:11-12)
“They sent them (UN peace keepers) to stop violence and instead they’re the ones causing the violence”‘ – One of 500 Haitian r ape victim of UN ‘peace keepers’/ UN insecurity mafia terror council
Thankyou Islam 21 century for exposing the lies and double speak of the godless systems. Well done Muslims you stood firm and the godless systems showed that they are fake systems with no meaningful rules as such. ‘They (leaders of disbelievers) have no binding oaths/ treaties/ rules.’ Quran(9:12)
” Moreover, we must now stand in solidarity with the dignity and ʿizzah of the Dīn of Allāh and our Muslim brethren, rather than pander to whims and desires of the right wing press and the enemies of Islām.”
BarakAllah feek brother!
We challenge our fellow brethren regarding inappropriate responses to the Islam haters. Would you apologize to someone who is beating you up? That would be an inappropriate response.
Accept reality, and the fact that the elites want a civilization war against our religion!
That is why they have ramped up the anti-Islam rhetoric and have reinstated torture as policy.
Their economies are death and debt based so no positive changes are forth coming unless the masses wake up to being played. (Not happening)
We reach out with love to spread our beloved faith and like a rose we will impart our beautiful aroma to the civilization that is crushing us and bring life to the decent beings among them.
Back home the protective thorns will God willing be raised up through necessity.
Time to remember the Islamic concept of success in this world. Let us earn the pleasure of Allah. (SWT)
Turn away from work, buy, consume, die! Our planet is dying. Our peoples are dying. Our animals are dying.
Quran [Ra’d :11]
“For each (person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah. Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector.”
maa shaa’allaah – very insightful and provides excellent instruction for the ummah to act upon inshaa’allaah – may Allaah make it reach far and wide. jazaakum Allaahu khayr brother Mukhtar.
It’s articles like this that alienate the Muslim community from the non Muslim communities. Not a strand of remorse or sorrow towards the victims of the Islamic terror attack last week. Just more sabre rattling about the Muslim community being demonised.
The last paragraph did not make for pleasant reading and exposed the extreme mindset of the writer Mukhtar Master. I ask Mukhtar Master publically the following questions:
1: You said: “It is now also time to call a spade a spade, and reject any association of our beautiful, peaceful and awe-inspiring Dīn of Islām with terrorism.”
Can you Mukhtar tell us that why is it now the time to call a spade a spade? Were you or the Muslim community not calling “a spade a spade” before and if not why?
2: You said: “The Muslim community can legitimately behave as the innocent party because we will refuse to assume any guilt.”
Will you refuse to accept guilt for extremist preachers amongst your community who openly call for violent jihad against the west?
3: You said “We will condemn only on the basis of morality, humanity and ethics, rather than any faith-based collective responsibility and self-guilt.”
I ask you Mukhtar that the ethics and morality you speak off, do they condemn chopping of hands for stealing? Is freedom of religion allowed according to your ethics? What do you think should happen to a Muslim who abandons his faith and becomes a atheist? What is your morality based upon? Are all men and women equal regardless of religion or creed. Do your humanity values condemn slavery whether present day or historical regardless of situation and location and time?
4: You said: “Moreover, we must now stand in solidarity with the dignity and ʿizzah of the Dīn of Allāh and our Muslim brethren, rather than pander to whims and desires of the right wing press and the enemies of Islam.”
What Muslim brethren are you talking about, I would really like to know? Mohammed sadiq Khan, was he one of your brethren. What about the terrorist who killed drummer Lee Rigby? What about Isis and the Taliban? Could you please clarify as to who you mean and include in the term that you use to describe as “brethren?”