Ghana: Islam disapproves of terrorism

terrorism is one of the greatest challenges to national and global security and is a major concern in the world today. It is a formidable enemy of our time since it is about targeting and killing innocent men, women and children.

The threat of terrorism has managed to sow panic, apprehension and fear around the world. Therefore, it is necessary to take aggressive measures to reduce its impact in the best interest of public safety.

The term terrorism is often defined as unlawful violence or the systematic use of terror against civilians or politicians for ideological or political reasons, with the intention of creating fear. Terrorism is practiced by nationalist groups, religious groups, revolutionaries and governments in power.

According to statistics, Nigeria and Somalia are the countries most affected by terrorism in Africa in terms of attacks and loss of life. Between 2007 and 2019, Nigeria recorded 4,383 terrorist attacks, while Somalia had 1,923. Several militant groups are active in Nigeria, with Boko Haram being the deadliest terrorist group. (Statist)

Although terrorism has existed since the dawn of mankind and long before some of us were born, it has become more pronounced and sophisticated in the digital age due to the impact of globalization.

This is evident from what we see happening daily in the world via television screens, newspapers and social media regarding the strong wave of violence, indiscriminate killings and acts of terror perpetrated by people either for political reasons either in the name of God or religion.

Ironically, people kill innocent civilians, abduct children, rape women, blow up buildings and claim they were doing this to please the most merciful God. It’s ridiculous!

It is important to point out categorically that there is no heavenly religion that condones violence and the killing of innocent men, women and children. People who engage in these atrocities do so to satisfy their own selfish and selfish interest, but not to glorify God’s name.

Life is sacrosanct, so we are urged to save it, not destroy it. Therefore, if a Muslim individual or a group of Muslims were to kill innocent people or commit acts of terrorism, they would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.

According to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), a Muslim is one whose tongue and hands are safe. The Quran reiterates that killing an innocent life is as sinful as killing an entire community of innocent people. “Whoever takes a life, unless he is punished for murder or misdeed in the land, it will be as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if he has saved all mankind.” (Quran 32:42)

The noble Prophet Muhammad (as) again warned that on the Day of Judgment, the first cases to be judged between people would be those of bloodshed.

The Quran highlights a very important ethical value that Muslims must imbibe in their routines of life: “Good and evil cannot be equal. Repel evil with what is better, and your enemy will become as close as ‘a treasured old friend.’ (Quran 41:34)

The beautiful verse above emphasizes the fact that virtue consists in turning one’s enemy into a friend by peaceful means and not by revenge, hatred, fighting, insults, murder or war against him. Interestingly, the verse was revealed at a time when the Prophet (as) and his companions were being persecuted by their enemies.

Islam is a religion of moderation. It stands for peace and against all forms of extremism, terror and violent attacks on innocent people. Therefore, the barbaric act of instigating terror into the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and property, the bombardment and maiming of innocent men, women and children is totally contrary to ethics and perverse.

There is no way to rationalize or justify violence using religion. Even in times of war, Muslims are forbidden to kill civilians (non-combatants) such as: women, children, old and weak people. They are forbidden to destroy inhabited places, houses, churches, mosques, synagogues and monasteries where the name of God is celebrated. “Do not kill any elderly person, woman or child”, “Do not kill people sitting in places of worship” and “Do not kill monks in their monasteries” The above instructions were given by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Muslims are also prohibited from cutting crops and fruit trees, damaging properties, poisoning water sources, and even slaughtering sheep or camels except for food. The opposing party must be treated with justice, with the wounded and prisoners of war receiving just and humane treatment.

Unfortunately, what we see today is quite the opposite. People hide behind religion to kill and commit all kinds of atrocities against human dignity. It is therefore important to dispel the misperception and misconceptions that Muslims are violent simply because of the attitude of very few overzealous and bigoted Muslims.

As a collective people, we must all avoid and condemn violence in all its forms and manifestations, no matter where it comes from, whether it comes from Muslims, Christians, Jews, Gentiles or any individual or group .

Our country is today facing a real terrorist threat with the resurgence of attacks in neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Nigeria, as they extend their tentacles beyond national borders.

According to the West African Counter Terrorism Centre, the Bawku conflict and the Western Togo issue are very dangerous for Ghana’s security. The report explains that with their huge capacity to exploit, extremists descending on Ghana and other coastal countries in the sub-region could take advantage of existing threats.

Ghanaians are peace-loving people, so we must nurture this spirit of peace by learning to coexist peacefully with all the people around us. We must also teach our children about other people and their culture, and by building love, forgiveness and tolerance, we give them the skills to live peacefully and comfortably in a diverse world.

In conclusion, I believe that to effectively combat terrorism, which poses a serious threat to our national security, we all need to work with security agencies and report any suspicious or potential terrorist activity in our neighborhood.

In fact, the Ministry of National Security is to be commended for launching an anti-terrorism citizen awareness campaign strategy, dubbed: “See Something, Say Something” with the toll-free hotline 999. This campaign aims to encourage citizens to report persons or activities to enable the state to respond effectively to the terrorist threat.

The role of the media, mosques and churches cannot be underestimated in the fight against terrorism. Imams, pastors, leaders, parents, educators and owners also have a big role to play.

Apparently, with the proliferation of foreigners in the country, landlords need to do their due diligence by carefully reviewing the backgrounds of potential tenants before renting their premises to them.

It is also the duty of the government as well as security and intelligence agencies to continue to be on high alert to protect the country and its citizens from any potential threats and attacks.

The writer is the Imam of the Bilal Bun Rabah Mosque in New Fadama, an Islamic pedagogue and scholar

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