Thomas Friedman has yet another notable op-ed from his current trip to India.
In a piece titled "No way, no how, not here", he writes about India's muslim community collectivly refusing to allow the burial of the 9 assailants in the Mumbai attacks on November 26th, 2008, in the main Muslim cemetery in Mumbai. That multi-day attack took the lives of 173 people and injured over 300. This excerpt from the piece in particular stood out:
""Indian Muslims are proud of being both Indian and Muslim, and the
Mumbai terrorism was a war against both India and Islam," explained
M.J. Akbar, the Indian-Muslim editor of Covert, an Indian investigative
journal. "Terrorism has no place in Islamic doctrine.
The Koranic term for the killing of innocents is 'fasad.' Terrorists are fasadis, not jihadis. In a beautiful verse, the Koran says that the killing of an innocent is akin to slaying the whole community. Since the ... terrorists were neither Indian nor true Muslims, they had no right to an Islamic burial in an Indian Muslim cemetery."
He goes on to put this in a broader context:
It stands out against a dismal landscape of predominantly Sunni Muslim suicide murderers who have attacked civilians in mosques and markets - from Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan - but who have been treated by mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera, or by extremist Islamist spiritual leaders and Web sites, as "martyrs" whose actions deserve praise.
Extolling or excusing suicide militants as "martyrs" has only led to
this awful phenomenon - where young Muslim men and women are recruited
to kill themselves and others - spreading wider and wider.
What began in a targeted way in Lebanon and Israel has now proliferated to become an almost weekly occurrence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is a threat to any open society because when people turn themselves into bombs, they can't be deterred, and the measures needed to interdict them require suspecting and searching everyone at any public event. And they are a particular threat to Muslim communities. You can't build a healthy society on the back of suicide-bombers, whose sole objective is to wreak havoc by exclusively and indiscriminately killing as many civilians as possible.
If suicide-murder is deemed legitimate by a community when attacking its "enemies" abroad, it will eventually be used as a tactic against "enemies" at home, and that is exactly what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The only effective way to stop this trend is for "the village" - the Muslim community itself - to say "no more." When a culture and a faith community delegitimizes this kind of behavior, openly, loudly and consistently, it is more important than metal detectors or extra police. Religion and culture are the most important sources of restraint in a society.
That's why India's Muslims, who are the second-largest Muslim community in the world, after Indonesia's, and the one with the deepest democratic tradition, do a great service to Islam by delegitimizing suicide-murderers by refusing to bury their bodies. It won't stop this trend overnight, but it can help over time."
One can but hope, but it is a start worth noting for now.