Yesterday I came across this news item which states that 130 imams in the UK and Western countries are refusing to perform funeral prayers for the London Bridge attackers.
I breathed in sharply when I read the post. Then I wondered if non-Muslims can understand the significance of such a gesture. When a Muslim dies, their body is taken to the mosque and the entire congregation performs a prayer, led by an imam, with the body in front. This is where the congregation asks for forgiveness of the dead person, as well as all dead Muslims. This is the only prayer where the congregation does not perform sajdah, or prostration. It’s obligatory, so for these imams to refuse to do it is a huge statement about how abhorrent they find the actions of the London Bridge terrorists.
Yet we still hear people shouting that Muslims should “do more” to condemn terrorism. Again, we have to be reminded that Muslims do march, they do protest, they do speak out. Yet there is shockingly little media coverage of these events, so that the illusion continues that Muslims are silent on the issue of terrorism. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my country, Pakistan, which has been hit by wave after wave of terrorism and claimed more than 50,000 lives, we speak about this catastrophe all the time, not just in protest, but on the television and in the newspapers. Does anyone listen?
Furthermore, Muslims in the UK have been cooperating with authorities, informing on those in the community who they fear have become radicalised, and joining hands with the government in programs like Prevent for a long time, at least since the 7/7 bombings. The Manchester bomber had been reported to the authorities by his own friends and family but the authorities did nothing. One of the London bridge attackers appeared in a documentary about jihad and was known to the police but again, nothing.
What’s really going on is people are asking the ordinary Muslim on the street to be accountable for what is a global political movement, funded by Saudis and encouraged by Western governments who are selling them millions of $’s worth of arms. Why isn’t the Home Office report on terrorism being made public? Because it contains information deemed “too sensitive”. When reports are not released in Pakistan, we know why: because that “too sensitive” information usually points fingers in uncomfortable directions.
This whole “Muslims should do more, Muslims should march in the streets to condemn terrorism” is a great way of distracting from who’s really at fault here. When the ordinary person is asked to “do more” it’s usually because the people in charge are not doing enough. It points to a shifting of responsibility from those truly in power to those who only have their voices and their feet. Which Muslims, I believe, are using on a daily basis. The problem is, nobody listens.