We need a word. I’ve been struggling to describe the awfulness of when a belief which is pure of spirit and ennobling to the world is claimed as motivation by evildoers.
If it pains me to hear “Islamic terrorist,” how much worse must it feel to a good-hearted Muslim? Well, I can quote the long version, from Omid Safi, weekly columnist of Onbeing.org, as he discusses 9 responses to the attacks in France:
8) Muhammad’s honor.
The shooters are reported to have shouted that they were doing this to revenge the honor of the Prophet. Let me put objectivity and pretense towards scholarly distance aside. The Prophet is my life. In my heart, Muhammad’s very being is the embodied light of God in this world, and my hope for intercession in the next. And for those who think they are here to avenge the honor of the Prophet, all I can say is that he is beyond the need for revenge. Your actions do not reach him, neither did the profoundly offensive cartoons of Charlie Hebdo. That pornographic, violent, humiliated and humiliated figure depicted in Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons is not and was not ever my prophet. As for the real Muhammad, neither the cartoonists nor the shooters ever knew him. You can’t touch him. You never knew Muhammad like we know Muhammad.
And as for the shooters, they have done more to demean people’s impression of the religion of the Prophet than the cartoonists in Charlie Hebdo ever did. If the shooters wanted to do something to bring honor to the Prophet, they could begin by actually embodying the manners and ethics of the Prophet. They could start by studying his life and teachings, where they would see that Muhammad actually responded to those who had persecuted him through forgiveness and mercy.
Those shooters were, in my eyes, “dyslamic.” Just like those “Christians” who harrass gays at military funerals, or who fought in the Crusades, are “Dystians.” It’s a stretch, I know. But I don’t want to cede the name of a real, peaceful faith to people who use it to justify evil.
Now I’m wondering what you think of my word.
(Thanks to Iris Graville for sending me the link to “9 Points to Ponder”)