Terrorists struck Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport Tuesday, using bombs and gunfire to kill 41 and injure 239 innocent people. This terrible tragedy and act of violence calls for our thoughts and prayers.
But it also calls for something much more. Out of the utmost and utter respect for the memories of those who lost their lives in Istanbul, we must refrain from attributing this action to Muslims or people of the Islamic faith.
Muslims – real, peace-loving followers of the Prophet (PBUH) – don’t attack and kill their fellow Muslims during Ramadan, the holiest month of the year. In fact, Muslims don’t kill anyone; terrorists do. The Quran, after all, forbids murder and terrorism and a lot of other killing-related things. Really, it does. Read it here. And don’t talk to me about how some parts of the Quran sanction killing non-believers. Guess what else can seem to sanction terrible acts of genocide and murder if taken out of context? Yeah, the Bible.
So, to blame these attacks, and really any terrorist attack, on Islam, is to tarnish the memory of those who lost their lives, and those peaceful Muslims around the world who have lost their lives at the hands of terror.
Islam is a religion of peace. Anyone who commits violent acts, no matter what justification they give those acts (religious or otherwise) has no claim to the faith.
People of faith all around the world – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Baha’is, and every other – must come together to remind those who would spread hate, fear, and terror: the one Divine Spirit that binds us all together – the one we variously call God, Allah, Yahweh, Ishvara, Creator, Waheguru, Source, Ground of Being, Ultimate Concern, Lord, – is a Spirit of peace and love and fellowship.
May we all pray for those killed and injured in Istanbul, and for humankind, that we may overcome our alienation from God and one another, and rediscover the love and peace we were created in.