How Muslims Justify Killing Other Muslims

Those who claim that terrorism committed in the name of Islam has “nothing to do with Islam” received much ostensible fodder via the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia in the closing days of Ramadan.

Because these three countries are overwhelmingly Muslim-majority, the talking heads are now sure of it: the terrorists have nothing to do with the religion of Islam, which in fact bans the indiscriminate slaughter of fellow Muslims.

Is that the case? Is it that simple?

No. In fact, from the start of Islam, Muslims have relied on these same rationalizations to justify the slaughter of other Muslims.

First, consider the following outpouring of “told you Islam wasn’t responsible for terrorism” (compiled by Robert Spencer):

Maher Zain, a multi-platinum-winning singer and songwriter who is Muslim, wrote on Twitter to his 1.47 million followers: “Still need proof that ISIS is the foremost enemy of Islam? They attack the Prophet’s City. Terror knows no religion!”

Boxer Amir Khan tweeted to his 1.75 million followers: “The attack in our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s city Madinah proves that Isis has no religion!”

The UK Muslim broadcaster Mohammed Shafiq wrote: “The attack on #Madinah was an attack against all Muslims.”

After Islamic State jihadists screaming “Allahu akbar” murdered twenty hostages at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka on the night of July 1, the serially deceptive Islamic apologist Qasim Rashid tweeted: “In #Ramadan’s final 10 days, Daesh has mass murdered dozens in three Muslim majority nations Please tell me more about how Islamic they are.”

In another tweet, he included a photo captioned: “So you’re telling me they killed Muslims during Ramadan and you still blame Islam? Are you that incompetent or that bigoted?”

To that, Rashid added: “Likewise, how I feel when I hear Islamophobes claim Islam was somehow behind the #DhakaAttack.”

Echoing Rashid was no less illustrious a personage than Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who insisted: “Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act. They do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism.”

Speaking after the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, U.S. President Barack Obama -- who also insists that the Islamic State “is not Islamic” -- agreed with the above sentiments:

"ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death … Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim."

Let’s examine the accuracy of all the above statements.

First, it should be noted that the jihadis are aware that they should not randomly kill fellow Sunnis. This was the case in the Bangladesh attack. With police fire whizzing over their heads, the jihadis still managed to question their hostages. They released those that could verify they were Muslim, and killed those who could not.

As documented here, jihadis around the world -- in Libya, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria -- regularly follow the same protocol of separating Muslims from non-Muslims before slaughtering the latter.

As for the deliberate slaughter of fellow Muslims, it must be remembered that mainstream Sunni Islam -- the world’s dominant strand of Islam, which ISIS adheres to -- views all non-Sunnis as false Muslims. At best, non-Sunnis are heretics who need to submit to the “true Islam” no less than the infidels.

This is largely how Sunnis view Shias, and vice versa -- hence their perennial war. While Western talking heads tend to lump them together as “Muslims,” each group -- especially the “radicals” among them, the jihadis -- views the other as an enemy.

Only in recent times, as both groups plot against the West and Israel, have we seen Sunni and Shia occasionally cooperate.

 The Sunni-Shia adversarial relationship was the motivation behind the terror strikes in Karada -- a Shia neighborhood in Iraq -- and the bombing in Saudi Arabia’s Shia majority Qatif province. Both attacks were undertaken due to the same reasoning behind Muslims attacking and murdering Christian minorities, or European, American, and Israeli citizens: all are infidels. All must either embrace the true faith, be subjugated, or die.

Contrary to the statements above, including that of President Obama, Sunnis murdering Shias or Shias murdering Sunnis is Islamic.

So what about Sunni-on-Sunni violence?