“Dear Terrorist: Keep Up the Good Work” Said NO ONE by Valentina Khan


Valentina KhanHow much longer do I as a Muslim American female, have to deal with the “gang-buster,” terrorizing, “Satan” worshipers high-jacking my faith for the sake of trying to supposedly ‘preserve’ it? Who are these wackos and why do they seem to represent my faith in mainstream media? Where did they all come from? Which terrorist schools have they all graduated from and what truly is their agenda?

I don’t know how else to say it- I’m so disgusted and fed up by the heinous acts of the terrorist mentality coming from what appear to be Muslim males– who really knows? ISIS, for example, with their masked individuals carrying out barbaric crimes could actually be another race or religion for all I know. Regardless, as a female, I want nothing to do with them. As an American, I want to go to war with them. As a Westerner, I want to hide in my Orange County bubble and only watch Bravo TV- just to get dumb and numb to the problems- and turn a deaf ear and blind eye to world events on the news.

However, as a Muslim my heart aches. My body trembles and my mind is terribly puzzled. How can all these awful events happening around the world come from people who claim to be Muslim, as I am? Didn’t they grow up reading the Prophet’s Last Sermon, as I did? Did they miss something? Did I miss something? Why are murder, beheading, and stoning things to be prideful about on social media? Why are they playing God and taking the lives of others in the name of a higher power? Why are they casting judgment on cultures and people when really they should start healthy dialogues in order to resolve differences of ideologies from one socio-cultural context to the next? Unfortunately, lunatic terrorists with apparently nothing positive going on their lives feel that their suicidal guerrilla warfare style of killing to avenge their faith is the ticket to authentic belief and entrance into heaven!

Who do these people think they are? What Qur’an are they reading? Which Hadith are they referring to? What playbook is this all in? This all must STOP. Stop in the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful! The God, the Creator of humanity, the God that has revealed to people over and over again that to kill one is like killing all, and that to save one is like saving all. Terrorists need to stop this drastic behavior because other Muslims who are appalled and disgusted feel obligated, arguably, to keep apologizing for this gruesome and un-Islamic behavior. These awful people need to create a new religion already, because nothing of what they do comes from Islam and if it does we have a problem, and that problem lies in interpretation of the text.

If by chance some terrorist jerk, happened to read this and decided to show me verses of our Qur’an or Hadith that validated barbaric actions then my next question is why haven’t the Muslim scholars and leaders made more of an effort to fix our “white elephant” problem: our interpretations of the text? Recently, the President of Egypt made a statement that the Qur’an needs a contemporary reading of it in order to face and resolve the state of emergency we are in as a global Muslim community. I’m into it! I never thought, I would say, heck yes, Mr. Egyptian President, but I am saying it: Heck yes, we do! And it needs to be established, so the one billion plus Muslims around the world are all on the same page when it comes to religion.

Right now, we have Yemeni interpretations, Iraqi, Saudi, garden variety of African and Asian interpretations, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Syrian, and the list goes on! Of course, this can breed the problems we are facing today—that desperate, attention seekers of the world like the Taliban, Al- Qaeda, Boko Haraam, ISIS will do awful things in the name of their faith because of some bizarre interpretation through their cultural lens. It is time for a global change. We are in the 21st century. The scholars of the West have stepped it up and now those from other regions need to do their part and be responsible in their interpretations, knowing we are living in a global community. There are higher standards of conduct, morals and ethics we are each expected to live by.

We don’t need to compare the bad with the bad. Some countries and their leaders are conducting themselves poorly via bad public policies, the killing of innocent humans, the creation of wars and the devaluing of human lives. This does not mean the Muslims of the world use the text to validate their political agendas to do the same kind of harm. This is not the religion, just the terrorists’ own twisted and sick method of striking back against the super powers over political agendas.

If I may, I just want to say to the terrorist: STOP. Stop using my God and my religion to advance your political agenda and evil ways. You and I are NOT the same. You don’t represent me, speak for me, or my faith. You are a shameless loser!

I send out this plea to the educated, broad minded, warm-hearted, peace loving Muslims (and people of all faiths) of the world to please think of solutions, because the soul-less are taking over and getting media coverage because they aren’t afraid to do the things they shouldn’t do. If in fact they feel they have textual back up that permits their behavior then we need to band together and fix it and not be afraid to modify, reinterpret, perhaps abrogate and make some serious changes before Islam is cast into hell in a hand basket by the world because the world won’t tolerate it (and us) anymore.

The world won’t tolerate the good or the bad: all of it will be shunned, because from the world’s perspective it would be too risky to be involved with the people of this faith so better off to be rid of them all together. Of course this is the worse case scenario. I have more confidence in the people of the world to know better. to know that the terrorists do not truly represent the Muslim majority. But how much more should we expect people to continue to be victimized by the acts of terror in the name of Islam? It needs to end now.

So how to reclaim Islam out of their hands and back into the hands of the responsible, educated, worldly Muslims who can restore Islam to its truest form of peace, love and respect for humankind? I don’t have any real solutions just a lot of anger toward these pitiful souls. All I can think to do is to write. To use the pen, to attack with knowledge, literature, words, poetry, history. How else can we penetrate to the inner core?

The terrorists don’t value human lives. They don’t care if they die for their sick cause. So the only way to tackle this beast is with intellect. It’s time. We shouldn’t be afraid to open up the holy books, delve even deeper and have Islam mean something that applies for today. Until then we will all continue to be terrorized by a small minority that has somehow lost all sense of humanity and will kill for negative limelight because of their misguided notions about a religion called Islam.

 

Valentina Khan received her Masters of Arts in Muslim Leadership Context at the Claremont School of Theology.  She is also a law graduate and candidate for the California Bar Exam.  Valentina is a co-founder of I Am Jerusalem, an interfaith organization which promotes friendship, understanding, and striving for the “greater purpose” by dedicating time to community service and social justice. She spends her time at UpLift:body, life, community where she is the owner and teacher of all things positive for the mind, body, and soul.

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Categories: Activism, Belief, Islam, OpEd, Qur'an, Textual Interpretation, Violence, Women's Voices

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14 replies

  1. Valentina,

    I certainly empathize with the sentiments you express in this article.

    “Did they miss something?” ‘Did you miss something?’

    Well, yes, as a matter of fact.

    What the Muslim religious ‘authorities’ have missed–and I understand that this is DIFFICULT to believe–is that “the resurrection” is conveyed in the Quran as a Doctrine of ‘Rebirth’; Mohammed being Elijah and John the Baptist ‘raised from the dead’.

    It is the contradiction of this ONE Revelation which is at the very foundation of Christian anti-Semitism (and religious Zionism) and the “Islamic jihadist” ideology of the psychopaths of ISIS and Boko Haram; see:

    http://unsealing-the-seven-seals.blogspot.com/2015/01/holocaustremembrance-day.html

    and the other notes on my website.

    And the reason that these evils CONTINUE is that the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious ‘authorities’ REFUSE to acknowledge their error (while the media is determined to PRESERVE their economic interests). And, until they DO acknowledge that they are in error about “the resurrection”, these evils can be expected to continue and to drastically intensify in fulfillment of the Prophecy in Chapter 12, verse 1 of the Book of Daniel.

    Michael

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  2. I think any religious or political dogmatism is dangerous to our Mother Earth and all of Her children. This includes the previous comment as well as the jihadists. Why can’t we all agree that the planet is holy, gods and goddesses are not “out there” or sitting on top of a mountain but immanent, right here with us and growing and learning with us? Why can’t we stop shouting at each other?

    Valentina, I think you are right to be upset that a religion whose name is peace is being hijacked. Be brave!

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    • Barbara,

      Please don’t mistake “dogmatism” for reality.

      There is such a thing as gravity; similarly, people need oxygen in order to live. These are not “dogmas”. These are elements of reality.

      Previous lives are an element of reality. It is the denial of that reality that establishes the doctrinal or theological foundation of violence between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

      You are equating Revealed Truth with the Satanic doctrines of the psychopath “Islamic jihadists”.

      From a theological & psychological perspective, there is NO greater error.

      All you have to do is look around you to see the consequences.

      Michael

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    • Barbara,

      In what SPECIFIC way do you suggest that the reality of the memories of previous lives is “dangerous to mother earth and all of her children”?

      On the contrary, believing that, after you die, you will *return* to mother earth by being ‘raised from the dead’, would tend to engender MORE concern for the conditions on this planet. Similarly, the Buddhist Doctrine of ‘Rebirth’ is the basis of Buddhist non-violence. How is this “dangerous”?

      Michael

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  3. Valentina —

    Thank you for your heart-felt outcry of pain. Many, if not all, religious liberals — and especialy the people here at FAR — are knowledgeable enough to realize that IS (please don’t call it Isis, since that’s a goddess name that some of us here revere), Boko Haram, etc. are a far-out fringe of Islam. From my perspective, terrorists of whatever stripe can’t represent a faith traditon, because they don’t follow the “golden rule,” which exists in almost all religions.

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  4. I agree with most of what you say and thank you for saying it. However, I think the idea that interpretations you agree with can be “established” is problematic. By whom? And for whom? Either we become our own authorities or we don’t. And I think we have to own up to the fact that there are texts that lend themselves to interpretations we might disagree with in every tradition. The idea of the real Islam, the real Christianity, and so forth are themselves interpretations based on choosing what to affirm and what not to affirm within traditions.

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    • Carol,

      What you appear to be saying here is that there is no such thing as Revealed Truth; that there are only interpretations. But, what if all of those interpretations are for the purpose of denying and contradicting Revealed Truth in the first place?

      For everyone to become ‘one’s own authority’ is to assert that the ‘fallen’ consciousness (the “self” and the ‘thinker’) is superior to Revealed Truth; and, thus, that there is no real need for Revealed Truth at all.

      I suggest that there is Revealed Truth; the denial and contradiction of which (“My people perish for lack of Knowledge.”) is the cause of conflict and violence.

      But, at the same time, some of those Truths–for example, the Truth about “the resurrection”–has remained “secret and sealed” (Chapter 12, verse 9 of the Book of Daniel) until this time.

      And, if that Truth is now rejected–on the basis of people becoming their own ‘authority’–there will be no reducing the horrors of the coming “time of trouble”.

      I do not consider this to be merely a trivial matter.

      I agree with the president of Egypt on at least this point: Something must be done to Islamic (and Jewish and Christian) theology if there is to be ANY hope at all for resolving the problem of inter-religious violence.

      Michael

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      • I’m really confused why you constantly post here Michael. This is not to silence you (as you so often attempt to do to the women who post on here), but FAR has a pretty obvious readership and authorship. Is it to “evangelize”? Is that really what drives you to post here all the time? It just–it confuses me and also feels extremely oppressive. No one here is looking for salvation, Also, you are patronizing. And a classic example of mansplaining.

        Valentina, I really like this. I say this all the time in regards to my traditions as well. Solidarity in the bewilderment.

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      • Michael who are you? And why are you so angry? Valentina wrote a post from the true feelings of her heart, and all you can do is heavy-foot over everyone with an agenda that I, for one, do not understand. Be a man, and give Valentina room to dialogue on her very real questions. You have now colonized this blog. Please let go and allow others to respond.

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    • Hi Carol, I love your posts by the way. Thank you for reading and commenting on mine. I do agree with you and have advocated for the same as what you say, that interpretation is and should be an individual journey (and privilege if you ask me). I have had discussions with Muslim male class mates about this same thing and they opposed indivual interpretation especially if the individual was not ‘qualified’ to interpret because of lack of knowledge in the Arabic language etc. It is a very complicated issue, this interpretation thing. Ultimately my thoughts are, these people are not at home with me as I read and learn on my own. I can interpret how I seem fit, if something is unclear or vague I can then go to someone with more knowledge and who has studied or devoted their life to the study of the Quran. But only when things really don’t make sense or are so controversial and contradict other verses. Then it’s nice to get other scholarly interpretations.

      Then the next argument is, interpret how you seem fit and then face the problems we have today a diaspora of terorrists high jacking verses with little to no literacy and abusing it.

      So tragic and so hard.

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  5. All over the world there are hard-working, deeply compassionate activists giving hope, generous people reaching out and helping each other, and there is love and thanksgiving here, there, everywhere. But in the headlines, none of those stories are told. Wherever there might be cruelty, unkindness, acts of violence, that’s what is chosen as the front page of the news. Yes, there are things bad in the world, but they are not the center of it. In fact, they are only the tiniest possible part of our world, seeing as how the planet is comprised of a population of approximately 7 billion people, including 1.6 billion muslims.

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    • AS much as I love your insights and passion for peace, it seems that until all of us take the time to really understand the history of the “demise of the Ottoman Empire” back in the early 1900’s we will not have a clear understanding of :a. who really compromise the so-called Terrorists nor who is behind using the name of religion to condone their actions. I suggest there is a much more devious attempt based on power and $$$$$$$$ that may be “using those men and women who perhaps have been damaged by the lives they have had since birth, and are now ripe for being brained-washed into what we call by various names. Ignorance is not bliss; and unfortunately,it could destroy us all. Education has to become part of the peoples arsenal in order to decipher the truth of our present chaos in the Middle East.

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      • Agree. Ignorance, fear, desperation, lack of faith, numbness to human life, along with large and cheap amounts of opium, hashish, heroin, is what is happening and creating our current crisis. It’s all very tragic and scary.

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  6. I wonder if one interpretation of any religion is best as you suggest. I think diversity in both thought and practice is healthy. In fact, I’m rather of the opinion that it is when there is only one “correct” interpretation of any given religion that we start running into problems. After all, isn’t that what Muslim and other religious extremists think? One of the things I think Judaism has done well over the centuries is cherish a diversity of voices and opinions and codified them within its sacred texts (even if it has at the same time silenced or disregarded many whose opinions should be heard). That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Far from it! But perhaps cherishing a diversity of perspectives is better than just one.

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