Friday, June 17, 2016

Perspective: Muslims condemn Orlando shooter’s claim to Islam | Amer Aziz


Despite there being no injunction in the Quran authorizing capital punishment for homosexuality, nine out of 10 countries that execute this punishment are Muslim.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Buffallo News
By Amer Aziz | June 17, 2016

I was deeply saddened and horrified by the mass shooting in Orlando targeting the LGBT community. The killer, Omar Mateen, had pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. As Muslims, we wholeheartedly condemn this evil and cowardly act. Our prayers are with the bereaved. The Quran unequivocally states that in the eyes of God killing one person is like killing all of mankind. And it holds paramount the values of compassion, mercy and tolerance.

For someone who claimed to be a Muslim, it is particularly disturbing that this occurred during the month of Ramadan, when Muslims are required to observe the highest standards of tolerance and well-meaning to their fellow human beings. The prophet Muhammad said, “if any of you is fasting, do not utter obscenities, act arrogantly and if anyone insults you, just tell them: I am fasting.” The Quranic, and Biblical, story of Sodom and Gomorrah is narrated strictly as an act of God, not man.

Not surprisingly, what we know about Mateen reflects little or no emblems of a religious life. His ex-wife stated he physically abused her, he was investigated for possible ties to terrorists and his parents have expressed they did not see him as a religious person. This ignorance and behavioral dissonance with the teachings of religion has been a trend with those who succumb to an extremist ideology. For someone like Mateen, it’s woefully hypocritical to target others for what he apparently deemed to be their sinfulness. His pledging allegiance to a cult-like extremist ideology may be an indication of his own inadequacies that he sought to overcome in an act of self-glorification chasing some celestial reward.

It can be argued that extremist groups like ISIS, which prey on the ignorant and disoriented, are themselves symptoms of fundamental issues in Muslim countries. Despite there being no injunction in the Quran authorizing capital punishment for homosexuality, nine out of 10 countries that execute this punishment are Muslim.

Some of these countries also have the death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy born of questionable religious texts and clerical edicts that cannot be reconciled with the Quran.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a Messianic movement in Islam, advocates for the separation of mosque and state. For over a hundred years the movement has stood firm in the face of bitter persecution by states and heinous acts of violence by terrorists. When 87 Ahmadi-Muslims were massacred by the Taliban in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2010, our resolve (despite different lifestyle ideals) is in sync with that of the LGBT community today: “fight evil with love.”


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Amer Aziz, of Amherst, is a writer and editor for the Muslim Writers Guild of America and vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Buffalo.


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