Change we can believe in

Here we go, now this is some pleasantly surprising change for you guys. Via Lawdog, it seems that the local Muslim graveyards are refusing the bodies of the Mumbai terrorists. A spokesman for the Trust running the graveyards said of the terrorists, “People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.” The Australian also reports that the Indian Muslim Council has said they should not be buried anywhere on Indian soil.

This is exactly the kind of thing the world has been looking for from Islamic authorities in reaction to these events. While a lot of people may see this as an extreme response there are two things to consider here: first off, the Muslim traditions surrounding burial are much more elaborate than most western traditions. In addition to the importance of the ritual method of preparing the body for burial, and the manner in which they are buried, Muslims believe that the deceased is questioned by angels at their burial about their life and their faith in Allah, which is why their family will stand and pray for them to answer correctly. To be denied this sort of end is a grave insult (no pun intended) and if this becomes a more commonplace threat to potential terrorists, it may give them pause.

Second, they are denying that the attacks are even the actions of faithful Muslims. This is a big one for the rest of the world. We need more of this. People hear from news outlets and blogs and other third parties that it is a minority of Muslims who believe in the jihad, who would participate in these sort of atrocities. And while most people agree that it is true that it is a minority executing these attacks, the fact that we have a huge number of these attacks being committed all over the world with little to no outcry from prominent Muslim leaders tells a story that most Muslims don’t want told: that Islam is a religion that condones, if not supports, this sort of terror. The silence is deafening. As Edward Burke was famously quoted, “all that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” When these leaders speak up against terrorist actions in the name of Islam, it gives credibility to the idea that the jihad is a war being waged by a few extremists, which in turn gives credibility back to the religion and followers of Islam as a whole. When these leaders speak up, they are fighting these terrorists on a different platform than we ever can, and we need to give our support to those who do, because the other side will not tolerate it.

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