I've been waiting for this for a long time. Yesterday, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani ordered a fatwa barring shiite Muslims from terrorist activities. Until the Muslim community comes out, vocally, against terrorism it will not stop. I realize that Muslims are reluctant to create or maintain ties between terrorism and Islam but the fact is, most people now see them as at least related if not synonymous. The Muslim community cannot continue to sit back and wait for political leaders and police authorities to catch and stop Islamic extremists. It must come from an overflowing of Muslim frustration. Muslims must speak to their own people and urge them in the name of their religion, to stop. This recent fatwa is a step in the right direction.
Muslims are probably the most scrutinized, profiled and discriminated against people on the planet right now. (Unless of course you're a gay native who practices Falun-gong)I know many Muslims and have traveled to Muslim countries where I have visited mosques and had religious discussions with Muslims about the state of Islam in the world today. I would like to think that I know better than to be scared when I see a Muslim man in an airport. And yet...when I was flying from Calgary to London a couple of weeks ago, a man with a long beard moved to the front of the plane, near the emergency exit, and began praying. As he kneeled and bowed repeatedly, facing what I can only imagine was East, the plane became visibly nervous. I myself was getting agitated. I kept thinking "We're flying into London in an hour...freakin London where all I ever hear about are Muslim terrorist plots and now this guy is praying in front of the entire plane. Is he making his peace with God just before he brings this thing crashing down into the city centre?!" I know I wasn't the only person thinking this because the people around me were looking a little nervous too. Does this make me a bad person? Have I bought into the stereotype that much? I was angry at myself for being so afraid. The man was very nice and was obviously not setting out to kill us all. He just wanted to pray in peace and talk to his God. The only thing that alleviated my guilt was the fact that the very nervous people to my right were Muslim too.