Dear Lord, in You we have placed our trust, and to You do we turn in sorrow, for with You is the end of all journeys.
Learning yesterday that Turkey’s international airport had been brutally attacked by three armed terrorists, we once again see some Muslims killing for a cause to “save” Islam. This time 43 people lost their lives, some foreign visitors, and nearly 240 people were injured, most were travelers but they also included airport workers and taxicab drivers – people who left home to do a day’s work for a day’s pay, most of them probably never anticipating it would be their last day of life.
As more information trickles in, we know either one brand or another of terrorists were behind the attacks. The Turkish government has still to confirm whether it was ISIS or another group, but the facts remain that some Muslims are continuing to kill in an attempt to “save” Islam and fight Western powers. This time it is happening in a Muslim country, during the holiest month of the year.
Having prayed for the deceased, their families and friends, and hope that they will be able to heal over time and make sense of the senselessness and their losing a loved one, I remain astonished at the loss of innocent lives. Where will it end? What has happened to us as Muslims? How can we allow such barbaric acts to be continuously done in the name of our faith? Where are we failing our community? What can we do to change this? These are the questions every spiritual person struggles with when something like this happens.
Whenever we look to our most recent history, for example, the last 50 years, there is a constant numbing of our senses. I raised the question, have we as Muslims become desensitized to the killing in the name of our Islamic faith? I think so. Why? The last 35 years as a Muslim, the constant drone heard in mosques around the world, Muslims must “save” Islam. Though it is often in political terms – whether it is the Afghanis, the Palestinians, or the hodgepodge of Western nations – maybe, the majority of Muslims need to be reminded that we must “save” Islam from Muslims.
I remember reading an article some time ago – probably while I was studying abroad in the Middle East – a 19th century Islamic Egyptian cleric was visiting Europe to learn about Europe’s modernization, stated upon returning home to Cairo, that in Europe he found Islam but no Muslims, and at home he found Muslims but no Islam. As the 19th century has unfolded into the 20th and now we find ourselves nearly two decades into the 21st century, his vision still holds true.
The progressive Islamic message is that violence is not part of our faith.
I pray that God heals the hearts of innocent families and friends who have lost loved ones in this senseless violence. Dear Lord, in You we have placed our trust, and to You do we turn in sorrow, for with You is the end of all journeys (Qur’an, 60:4). Dear Lord, perfect our light for us and pardon us our offenses, for verily You have power over all things (Qur’an, 66:8). Dear Lord, place us not among the people who have been guilty of wrongdoing (Qur’an, 7:47). Amen.