The Power of the Tongue

By: Mustafa Umar

Introduction

Imam An-Nawawī said regarding the tongue: “Whoever wishes to speak should reflect before saying anything. If any benefit is found, then let him speak. Otherwise, let him remain silent.”[1]

In a world where politicians, talk show hosts, entertainers, and gossipers never seem to stop talking, Islam reminds us that the tongue is like a loaded weapon: the safety should always be on. Muslim scholars throughout time have warned us about the dangers of misfiring the tongue, something which almost every human has been guilty of at some point in time. The advice originates in the Prophet’s concise statement: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say something good or keep quiet.”[2] Speech has been tied to belief in this Prophetic statement in order to drive home the idea that what we say is almost as important as what we believe.

A Double Edged Sword

With advancements in technology, weapons are able to inflict much more harm than anyone previously ever dreamt of. Whether it’s a nuke or a cluster bomb, the effects of modern warfare are a phenomenon that every person of conscience looks at with regret. The tongue is no different. Through means of mass media and satellite, the power of speech has the ability to wreak havoc upon entire communities through deception, propaganda, and instigation.

However, just as nuclear technology can be harnessed for immense good, the power of the tongue can also be amplified for positive things. The Prophet said: “The greatest struggle [jihād] is a word of truth[3] in the presence of a tyrant ruler.”[4] This oral activism is not only praiseworthy because of the danger that the brave speaker places himself in. Rather, it may serve as an effective means for enacting positive change. Such usage of the tongue may even become a requirement when unable to physically correct an injustice, as the Prophet again indicated: “Whoever perceives something wrong must correct with their hand. If unable to do so, then with their tongue. If still unable, then with their heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.”[5]

Reading between the Lines

A detailed analysis of this command reveals a number of lessons. First, the perception that something is wrong must be factually correct and based upon knowledge rather than suspicion or false accusation. Had the command been limited to what every ignorant person perceives to be wrong, correcting it would lead to chaos. Next, rectifying something with the heart means to dislike it. You can only dislike what you are aware of. Therefore, the Prophetic wisdom is commanding people to know what evil is happening around them. Those people who live in an environment surrounded by injustice and oppression but purposely remain ignorant of what is taking place are just as guilty as those who know about it but don’t hate it. Lastly, the sequence that was mentioned by the Prophet deserves special attention. The first step is to acquire the knowledge of what is defined as ‘wrong’. Islam rejects the idea of moral relativism, in its absolute sense. What is right and wrong has been defined by our Creator, not by the creation. The second step is to have the knowledge of what is taking place around you. If you do not know what is taking place, you cannot even attempt to hate it. However, dislike and aversion is not the end goal. It is a means to an end, the way that knowledge is a means towards action, rather than a goal in itself. The awareness and disapproval of ‘wrong’ will manifest itself on the tongue when a person is in a position to do so. In turn, that oral struggle will manifest into action when the opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

The tongue has so much power because of its ability to lead to action, whether it is the individual speaking, or others who are listening. It is because of this power that the safety on this weapon should remain on, but it is also because of this power that those who are in a position to do so should aim and shoot.



[1] al-Zarqānī, Muḥammad, Sharḥ al-Zarqānī ʿalā Muwaṭṭa’ al-Imām Mālik, 4:517.

[2] Reported by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim

[3] Or in some narrations: “a word of justice”.

[4] Reported by al-Nasā’ī. al-Mundhirī classified it’s chain as authentic in al-Targhīb.

[5] Reported by Muslim.

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A Lesson in Fiqh: Wiping Over Socks

By: Mustafa Umar

Introduction

A common misconception among many people is that they believe the texts of the Qur’an and Hadith are intended for all of mankind and are so clear that anyone fairly literate should be able to read them and understand what they mean. The first part of this idea is correct, the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet are intended for everyone. However, the idea that anyone reading the texts irrespective of their background knowledge will be able to fully understand each and every intended meaning is very wrong.

A Practical Challenge

Let’s take a practical example in order to demonstrate the truth of this claim. If someone were to open up Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, which is one of the very famous early collections of narrations [Ahādith], they might come across the following:

حَدَّثَنَا هَنَّادٌ وَمَحْمُودُ بْنُ غَيْلَانَ قَالَا حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ عَنْ سُفْيَانَ عَنْ أَبِي قَيْسٍ عَنْ هُزَيْلِ بْنِ شُرَحْبِيلَ عَنْ الْمُغِيرَةِ بْنِ شُعْبَةَ قَالَ تَوَضَّأَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَسَحَ عَلَى الْجَوْرَبَيْنِ وَالنَّعْلَيْنِ

قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ

Hannād and Maḥmūd ibn Ghaylān informed us that Wakī` informed us on the authority of Sufyān on the authority of Abī Qays on the authority of Huzayl ibn Shuraḥbīl on the authority of al-Mughīrah ibn Shu`ba who said: “The Prophet made ablution [wudū`] and wiped over his socks and sandals.”

Abu `Īsā [al-Tirmidhi] said: “This narration is authentic [ḥasan ṣaḥīḥ].”

Whether this was read in Arabic or in English you might conclude from it that you can wipe over your feet when making wuḍū` without having to take off your socks or sandals. You might naturally go even further and consider it ridiculous that anyone could have a doubt about this since it is so clear. The Prophet did it and the narration is authentic so we can do it too.

However, a major problem arises when we look into Islamic history. We realize that virtually none of the scholars of Islamic Law came to the same conclusion based upon this narration. This means two things:

  1. No scholar worthy of the name opened up a book like Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, read this ḥadīth, and then made a conclusion based upon what he read.
  2. No scholar came to the conclusion that anyone can unconditionally wipe over their socks and sandals because the Prophet did it and the narration is authentic.

Methodology is Key

The first point has to do with methodology. The Prophet said, “When someone in authority makes ijtihād [decrees a ruling regarding Islamic Law] and is correct then he receives two rewards. However, if he is wrong he only receives one reward.” In Islam, anyone who makes ijtihād and is qualified to do so will be rewarded even if he is wrong.  The important thing is that he used the correct methodology [and had a sincere intention]. On the other hand, anyone who undertakes ijtihād without being qualified and knowing the correct methodology will get no reward. In fact, it is feared that he may even be held accountable for doing so. This is demonstrated by an incident where a group of people were asked a question and gave the wrong answer which resulted in the death of the questioner. Later, the Prophet was informed about what had happened and he exclaimed in contempt, “They killed him! If they don’t know, why don’t they ask?! Asking is the cure for ignorance.”

The second point has to do with putting history into perspective. If most scholars didn’t come to the same conclusion as the one who read this hadith then it might be concluded that they have never come across this ḥadīth before. Maybe they didn’t have a copy of Sunan Al-Tirmidhi. Maybe they didn’t read the part about it being authentic. This conclusion would result in a very negative view of Islamic history. Now that we use the printing press, books like Imam al-Tirmidhi’s can be printed and distributed for everyone to read in order to supposedly correct the mistakes of all of those scholars of the past.

Let us look at the issue in detail in order to clear up these misconceptions. First, we will look at the authenticity of the narration and then we will take up what it implies.

Authenticating a Narration

After the death of the Prophet, Muslim scholars came up with the most rigorous and ingenious method of authenticating history ever known. This was in order to properly preserve the statements of the Prophet of Islam.

The casual reader might notice that al-Tirmidhi graded the narration in question as authentic. However, we must also see what other scholars had to say about the same narration since al-Tirmidhi is not the only authority in the field of ḥadīth criticism.

Imam Abū Dā’ūd said, “Abdur Raḥman ibn Mahdī used to refrain from narrating this hadith because it is well known that al-Mughīra reported that the Prophet wiped over his leather socks [khuffayn].” One of the most knowledgeable early hadith scholars of his time, Imam ibn Mahdī, was very well aware of this hadith, and had it memorized as well, but refused to narrate it to others because he considered it to be unauthentic. The vast majority of scholars agreed with him, among them: Sufyān al-Thawri, Yaḥyā ibn Ma’īn, `Alī ibn al-Madīnī, al-Bukhārī, Muslim, Abu Dā’ūd, Aḥmad ibn Hanbal, al-Nasā’ī, al-Bayhaqī, al-Nawawī, Ibn Ḥajar, and Ibn al-Qayyim.

The question might arise then, on what basis did scholars like al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Ḥibbān as well as contemporary scholars like al-Albānī authenticate this hadith? In order to understand this phenomenon we must first understand that there are five tests that a hadith must go through before being declared authentic:

  1. Ittiṣāl – The chain of narration must be uninterrupted. For example, assume Imam al-Bukhārī is relating a statement of the Prophet and there are three people between him and the Prophet (i.e. I heard from X who heard from Y who heard from Z who heard the Prophet say…). If Imam Bukhari happened to mention in his book person Y by his nickname which was unknown to other people then this hadith would automatically be deemed unauthentic because person Y would be considered as missing from the chain of narrators since we are unable to find out anything about him.
  2. Adl – All of the narrators must be upright. This means that they must be good Muslims, honest, have good behavior [akhlaq], etc.
  3. Dabt – All of the narrators must be precise. This means that they only narrate after knowing the general context and implication of the narration and are familiar with the various wording that was used.
  4. Shudhudh – The narration should not contradict another narration about the same incident which is established. The narration in Sunan Al-Tirmidhi about wiping over socks suffers from this defect as will be shown.
  5. Illa – The narration should be free from any other major defect that is usually found after researching all the narrations on the same topic.

Once we understand these principles we begin to understand why ibn Mahdi refused to narrate this hadith. He realized that Al-Mughira ibn Shu’ba saw the Prophet wiping over his leather socks [khuffayn] and that this is established by several authentic narrations. However, the narrators Abu Qays and Huzayl made a mistake by narrating that Al-Mughira said “socks” [jawrabayn] instead of “leather socks” [khuffayn]. Since the difference between the two words makes a very significant difference, the narration of Abu Qays and Huzayl have been declared unacceptable.

The Implication of a Statement

Let us assume that the hadith in question is indeed authentic. Is the assumption that “anyone can wipe over their socks and sandals because the Prophet did it” correct?

If we look at what the scholars had to say on the subject we will not find even one that unconditionally allowed wiping over the unqualified term “socks”. Rather, they stipulated certain conditions which must be met and defined what types of socks are allowed to be wiped over.

Every scholar began by looking at the Qur’an, since that is the undisputed word of God. What does it have to say about this subject? “O you who believe, when you stand for prayer wash your faces, your arms up to the elbows, wipe a part of your heads, and wash your feet up to the ankles. (Al-Maida 5:6)” This verse clearly states that you mush wash your feet up to the ankles when performing ablution. However, the Qur’an also says, “Take whatever the Messenger gives you and refrain from whatever he forbids you. (Al-Hashr 59:7)” Therefore, if it can be established that the Messenger taught his followers any exception to the rule then it may be taken as a concession.

The scholar then looked at all of the narrations on the same topic. Imam Abu Hanifa’s statement clarifies this important principle, “I did not pass a judgment about wiping over socks until the overwhelming narrations proving its validity became manifest to me like daylight.” What he meant was that he did not consider wiping to be an established exception to the rule until he collected several authentic reports. His reasoning was this:

  • the Qur’an is the word of God and its authenticity is undisputed
  • any single narration, even after passing the five tests of authentication, still has a possibility of being wrong due to the human element of the narration
  • no report should be allowed to be used as an exception to the rule until its authenticity is such that it leaves no room for any reasonable doubt

After it became clear to him that several of the Companions of the Prophet had narrated regarding wiping over socks he went further and said, “I fear that whoever denies wiping over socks has almost left Islam because the narrations regarding it have almost reached the level of tawatur.” Ibn Hajar verifies this by saying, “The experts of hadith have confirmed that the narrations which establish the permissibility of wiping over socks have reached the status of tawatur.”

After checking all of the narrations on the topic the scholar noticed the following:

  • The Prophet was not only seen wiping over his socks but he also instructed some of his companions to do so as well
  • He set a time limit as to how long anyone may wipe over their socks before having to take them off
  • He set a prerequisite that they must be worn in a state of purity before they may be wiped over
  • He wiped over the top of the sock rather than the bottom

None of the preceding points apply to the narration of Abu Qays and Huzayl mentioned by Al-Tirmidhi and all of the narrations are unanimous that the socks mentioned were khuffayn and not jawrabayn.

The purpose of this discussion was not to deny that wiping is only restricted to leather socks (it is definitely not) but rather to correct the false assumption that reading a single verse or a single narration can qualify as evidence for a ruling on any issue. From this example, we should learn the following lessons:

  • Some texts of the Qur’an and the Prophetic narrations require more than just a casual reading in order to understand their context and true import.
  • No one should assume that they have fully understood any Qur’anic verse or Prophetic statement and then make judgment upon others unless they are familiar with all of the evidence on the topic.
  • To properly understand Islam one should study on an issue by issue basis rather than a text by text basis.
  • Sincerity, without knowledge, does not justify ignorance.

Conclusion

Does this mean that we should not read the Qur’an or hadith? Absolutely not. In fact, this should be an encouragement to read even more. The more knowledge you acquire the more things will begin to fit into place. One of the beautiful things about Islam is that there are no Divinely appointed clergy or priests. Anyone can study, increase in knowledge, and understand the Qur’an and Sunnah for themselves. If you only read this article with the hope of knowing whether or not you can wipe over the socks that you are wearing then go ask your local scholar rather than reading a collection of hadith. If that idea bothers you, then set out on the path of knowledge, the Muslim community is in need of more knowledgeable people.

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Standing and Urinating in Islam

By: Mustafa Umar

Introduction

It has become a common practice in many parts of the world for men to stand and urinate. The presence of urinals in almost every male bathroom has not only taught, but encouraged, people to stand up while relieving themselves. What does Islam say about this behavior?

First of all, we must remember that our ability to digest food and drink is a great blessing from Allah. We would not be able to survive without a digestive system. However, with every blessing comes a responsibility. Since human waste is impure, Islam teaches us a few rules about how to relieve ourselves in the best of ways.

So what’s the Problem

There are many Islamic guidelines about how to use the restroom. We will only focus on those that pertain to standing and urinating. This common practice has led to the following un-Islamic practices:

1. Shamelessness. One of the bad habits that resulted from the use of public urinals is the loss of shame in the restroom. It is very common to see two men using the bathroom and having a conversation with each other. Had they peeked over just a little bit they would have been able to see the private parts of the other man. The Prophet said, “Allah detests it when two people relieve themselves uncovered and have a conversation.”[1] The Prophet would take so much care to seclude himself that Al-Mughīrah ibn Shu’bah said, “I was travelling with the Prophet. When he needed to relieve himself, he went far away from me.”[2]

2. Impurity. How many urinals have you ever seen that have toilet paper next to them? Probably none. This results in people putting their pants back on without cleaning themselves. The Prophet said, “When you go to the restroom, take three stones with you to clean yourself. That will suffice.”[3] Salman al-Fārisī was told, “Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to use the bathroom.” He responded, “That’s right. He told us not to…use our right hand when cleaning and to not use less than three stones to clean ourselves after we finish.”[4] ‘Ā’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, said to a group of women, “Tell your husbands to clean themselves with water because I am embarrassed to tell them. This is what the Prophet used to do regularly.”[5] Cleaning yourself, with either a solid substance or with water, is so important in Islam that the Prophet passed by a man’s grave and told Ibn ‘Abbās that the dead man is being tortured, but not for a major sin: “He didn’t used to clean himself after urinating.”[6]

3. Disrespect for others. One of the common habits we find among people who regularly use urinals is that they also stand up while using a toilet. This usually results in a seat covered with urine drops. Very few people care to clean the urine off the seat after leaving, so the next person who needs to use it has to deal with that disgusting mess. In this regard, the Prophet said, “Beware of the cursed ones.” Some people asked, “Who are the cursed ones?” He replied, “People who relieve themselves in public pathways or in shaded areas.”[7] These are two areas where people would be harmed because they walk on the pathways and sit in the shade on sunny days. The same curse would apply to those who leave filth behind for the next person. The curse, in this context, has two meanings: they are cursed by the one who has to deal with the mess they left and they are cursed by Allah for their careless and disgusting habits.

Are There Any Exceptions

The Prophet always sat down and urinated. This is proven by ‘Ā’ishah, his wife, who was constantly present with him, when she said, “Don’t believe anyone that tells you the Prophet used to stand while urinating. He always used to sit down.”[8] The only person who ever contradicted her statement was Hudhayfah when he said, “The Prophet [while traveling] approached a garbage dump and stood while urinating. Then, he called me to bring some water for him, so I did, and he performed wuḍū’.”[9] This is clearly an exception to the rule because he was in a very dirty place. Hudhayfa’s description of the place being a garbage dump reveals to us the context and makes it clear that ‘Ā’isha’s challenge was referring to people who claimed the Prophet did it as a habit. Her challenge stills stands today. When someone tries to misquote the statement of Hudhayfah in order to prove that the Prophet used to stand and urinate just like people do now, we should not believe it.

What Should a Muslim Do

Muslims should try to combat this immorality in their community. We live in societies which claim to be clean and hygienic, yet their toilets are among the filthiest in the world unless they are constantly cleaned. Go visit any gas station, high school, theme park, etc. and see what happens to the toilet if there is no full time janitor available. Islam still has a lot to teach the people of the world about cleanliness. It is such an important principle in Islam that the Prophet said, “Cleanliness is half of faith.”[10] The messenger of Allah has taught us certain rules to observe which benefit both ourselves and society.  It is up to us to be proud of this guidance and apply it.


[1] Abū Dāwūd 15, Ahmad 10884.

[2] Tirmidhī 20.

[3] Abū Dāwūd 36.

[4] Tirmidhī 16.

[5] Tirmidhī 19.

[6] Bukhārī 211.

[7] Muslim 269.

[8] Nasā’ī 29, Ibn Mājah 303, Aḥmad 23894.

[9] Bukhārī 217.

[10] Muslim 328.

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Just Say ‘Bismillah’ and Eat!

By: Mustafa Umar

One of the common phrases you hear some Muslims utter nowadays when it comes to the issue of lawful/prohibited meat is: “just say bismillah and eat.” While this statement, on the surface, may seem innocent, it’s usually otherwise.

This statement is a direct quote of Prophet Muhammad who said these exact words to his Companions. However, the problem lies in the fact that it is usually quoted out of context. When an Islamophobe reminds his choir that the Qur’an says “kill them wherever you find them”, he is guilty on two accounts. One, he didn’t identify who ‘them’ refers to. Two, he stripped the verse out of its context which referred to retaliation rather than initiation.

The Muslim who urges his friend to say bismillah and eat is guilty of the exact same two charges. He has not indicated what type of meat the Prophet was referring to and the context of the incident has been stripped away.

To resolve these two issues, we merely need to look at the narration [hadīth]:

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أن قوما قالوا للنبي صلى الله عليه و سلم إن قوما يأتوننا باللحم لا ندري أذكر اسم الله عليه أم لا ؟ فقال ( سموا عليه أنتم وكلوه ) . قالت وكانوا حديثي عهد بالكفر

“Ā’ishah said that a group of people told the Messenger of Allah: ‘Some people come to us with meat and we don’t know whether they mentioned the name of Allah over it or not.’ He said: ‘You mention the name of Allah over it and eat.’ She [Āishah] said: They had recently become Muslim.”[1]

Two main points are made clear when looking at the text of the narration as a whole:

  1. There is doubt about whether or not this animal met the Islamic guidelines or not. However, there is no certainty that it was slaughtered incorrectly. This means that the Prophet is telling the people to cast aside that doubt and assume that the meat is fine.
  2. The people who brought the meat were Muslim, although recent converts.

However, many Muslims overlook [or ignore] the context and give two meanings to this narration which do not exist:

  1. The belief that saying the name of Allah over the meat, after it had already been slaughtered, somehow has the power to make the meat permissible. This would mean that if someone found a dead animal that fell off of a cliff [which is prohibited for consumption] could say ‘bismillah’ before eating it, and it would be fine. There is no basis for this and it is a common misunderstanding of the Prophet’s statement.
  2. People who quote this narration do so in regard to meat that comes from non-Muslim sources. Many are led to believe the Prophet was telling the people that regardless of where the meat comes from, you can apply the previous principle. This is far from the truth. The only reason the Prophet gave this group of people the benefit of the doubt is because they were Muslim. Had they been fire worshippers, no benefit of the doubt would be given, and he would have told Ā’ishah not to eat it.

As conscious Muslims, we must change our attitude towards quoting our own religious sources out of context to satisfy our own desires. Remember, the next time someone tells you to ‘say bismillah and eat’, remind them of the context before applying that rule to your meal.


[1] Bukhārī.

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When Did Islam Trademark Terrorism

By: Mustafa Umar

The False Perception

First, the accusation was: “All Muslims are terrorists.” When the bigots who made this statement realized that no one in their right mind would believe that all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world could be terrorists, they reversed their statement to sound more objective and fair: “All Muslims may not be terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims.” Really?

Someone sympathetic to Islam might respond with an example or two about Timothy McVeigh and the KKK. Yet, the average American watches the mainstream media day in and day out and sees the pictures of Muslim terrorists flashed across the screen or spoken about for hours on the radio. Here are some hard facts to make it clear to you that perception is not reality.

The Facts

According to the FBI database, there have been 318 terrorist incidents in the US from 1980-2005. That includes 209 bombings and 43 arsons. Out of those incidents, 42% were committed by Latino groups, 24% by Extreme Left Wing groups, 7% by Jewish Extremists, 6% by Muslim Extremists, and 5% by Communists.

A RAND Corporation [funded by the U.S. government] report titled “Would-be Warriors” reveals some very interesting facts:

  1. Not a single U.S. civilian has been killed by Muslim extremists since Sept 11, 2001
  2. Only 3 out of 83 acts of terrorism between 9/11 and 2009 were done by Muslim extremists. Most were by animal rights and environmental activists.
  3. There was more terrorism in the 1970’s than the 21st century. There were over 60 terrorist incidents per year on US soil, most of them being bombings. That’s 15-20 times more terrorism than post 9/11.

Europol’s report titled “EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report” showed that 0.4% of terrorist attacks from 2006-2008 were by Muslim extremists. That means 99.6% of terrorist attacks were by non-Muslims, most of which were separatists and leftists.

U.S. Terrorist Organizations

If you were asked to name five major terrorist organizations in the US, how many could you name besides al-Qaeda? Most people couldn’t name more than one. So here are some to help you balance the distorted view that the media feeds you with:

Animal Liberation Front: Known for sabotaging animal testing facilities, etc. The FBI said that ALF is the “leading domestic terrorist threat”.

Alpha 66 and Omega 7: Cuban exiles opposed to anyone who takes a moderate approach to Castro. Responsible for many bombings.

Army of God: Anti-abortion and anti-gay. Known for bombing at least two abortion clinics, a lesbian nightclub, and the Summer Olympics in 1996. They believe that Anglo-Saxons are the only true children of God.

Aryan Nations: A white nationalist, neo-Nazi, Christian Identity group. The RAND Corporation described it as the “first truly nationwide terrorist network”.

Black Liberation Army: Carried out a series of bombings, robberies, and prison breaks.

The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord: Another Christian Identity organization.

Earth Liberation Front: Eco-terrorist group. The FBI in March 2001 said that it is the number one domestic terrorist threat.

Jewish Defense League: Founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane. Executed at least 15 terrorist attacks in the U.S. [more than al-Qaeda] and responsible for at least 60 bombings.

Ku Klux Klan: A white supremacist, anti-Communist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic group.

Militia Movement: An anti-government movement. One common tactic is to explode pipebombs at government facilities. They have about 20,000-60,000 people in the U.S.

Phineas Priesthood: Another Christian Identity movement against interracial intercourse, homosexuality, abortion, and multiculturalism.

Symbionese Liberation Army: A far left organization.

United Freedom Front: A Marxist organization responsible for at least 20 bombings and 9 bank robberies.

The Weather Underground: A far left organization responsible for at least 45 bombings between 1970-1977.

Ejercito Popular Boricua [Boricua People’s Army] – Demanding independence of Puerto Rico from U.S. imperialism.

New World Liberation Front – A far-left organization responsible for at least 70 bombings in the Bay Area alone.

International Terrorist Organizations

Of course, terrorism is not only an American phenomenon, but exists worldwide. Here are some examples:

Aum Shinrikyo: Japan. A new religious movement responsible for the 1995 Sarin Nerve Gas attacks in the Tokyo subway.

All Tripura Tiger Force: India. The goal is to expel all immigrants of Tripura. 90% of members are Hindu and 10% are Christian.

Babbar Khalsa: India/Canada. A Sikh religious organization that blew up a 747 jet in 1985 killing 329 people [including 280 Canadian citizens].

Communist Party of India (Maoist): Prime Minister Singh said that they are “the single biggest security challenge ever faced by our country”. They have killed over a thousand people.

Provisional Irish Republican Army: Ireland. They have killed over 1800 people.

ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom): Spain/France. They have killed almost a thousand people.

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK): Turkey. A Socialist/Nationalist party demanding independence.

New Peoples Army: Philippines. A Communist organization.

National Liberation Front of Corsica: France. A separatist organization.

Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide: Trying to force Turkey to admit to the historical Armenian genocide. Responsible for at least 23 terrorist attacks.

Notable U.S. Terrorist Attacks

The following is a very brief list of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil to make it clear that terrorism is as American as cherry pie.

1910: Bombing of the L.A. Times Building by James and John McNamara who wanted to unionize the paper.

1920: Wall Street bombing by followers of Luigi Galleani with 100 pounds of dynamite that killed 38 people and injured 400.

1927: Bath, Michigan Bombings by Andrew Kehoe who was angry over taxes. He set off three bombs killing 45 people [including 38 students].

1971: Bombing of the U.S. Capitol Building by the Weather Underground  in protest for the U.S. invasion of Laos.

1972: Bombing of the Pentagon by the Weather Underground in retaliation for the U.S. bombing raid in Hanoi.

1975: Bombing of the Department of State Building by the Weather Underground in response to war escalation in Vietnam.

1976: Hijacking of Cubana Flight 455 by CIA-linked Cuban exiles who killed all 73 people on board.

1978-1995: Unabomber Attacks by Ted Kaczynski who sent letterbombs to academics and other influential people.

1995: Oklahoma City Bombing by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols who killed 168 people.

1996: Centennial Olympic Park Bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph for which President Clinton called “an evil act of terror”. This was the largest pipe bomb in U.S. history.

2001: Anthrax Attacks by Bruce Edwards Ivins.

2007: Virginia Tech Massacre by Seung-Hui Cho who killed 32 people. He likened himself to Jesus Christ and expressed his hatred of the rich.

2010: Austin IRS Attack by Andrew Joseph Stack who flew an airplane into the IRS building because he was mad at the government.

2011: Tucson Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords where Jared Lee Loughner shot nineteen people.

Image is Everything

The only statistics that are missing is the amount of media coverage per terrorist incident or group. It shouldn’t surprise anyone now that Muslims would get the most coverage despite the fact that they are near the bottom of the list when it comes to terrorism.

Now that the facts are clear, do you think anyone would dare to rephrase the statement and say that “almost all terrorists are…” and then fill in the blank with: latinos, leftists, environmentalists, Christians, Sikhs or Jews? I doubt it. That twisted logic is only used for Muslims, not anyone else.

So next time you think of a terrorist, think of the facts, not the images in your mind. If Muslim extremists attempted to copyright the term terrorist, they would be denied. The famous statement goes: “Image is everything.” Indeed, everything but the truth.

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