Attack in Nice, 2020-10-29

Yasir Qadhi

The latest attack and brutal murders of innocent people in the French city of Nice cannot under any circumstances be justified or overlooked. Just like we express our extreme anger and protest our feelings to the French in their weaponization of the cartoon controversy, so too we need to be fair and not let emotions blind us to reality if a mistake is done by one of ours.

We must be honest and admit that we do have a very small handful of people who feel such attacks are justified. We also have, like every group of people, those who are mentally disturbed and unstable and psychologically prone to violence. For both of these subsets, the cartoon controversy potentially acts as a catalyst - and the Nice attack is the result.

If the individual who committed this crime was sane and felt justified in these attacks, he must be condemned by all of us, so that the message is sent to any future such person from our community: you are playing in to the hands of Macron himself. There is no greater gift you can give the Far Right in general, and Macron in particular, than to validate his claims that there is a hidden danger lurking in every community of Muslims. This is the time we must demonstrate that we are true to our principles, and that we speak the truth even if it be against ourselves, as the Quran commands us.

If the perpetrator is not mentally stable, this must be highlighted and demonstrated as soon as possible.

When the great military commander Khalid b. al-Walīd (r) made an egregious error at the very beginning of his career, the Prophet raised his hands and publicly disavowed, in Allah's name, responsibility of Khalid's actions. It is NOT a sign of weakness to condemn one of our own, nor does it show capitulation when we own up to an error. On the contrary, it is a sign of being true to our values and consistent in our principles.

It is true that I am not responsible for the acts of that individual, but this individual is acting in the name of our faith, and we need to send the message to our own youths, and to the broader society, that such actions of killing random people in the name of our faith are displeasing to our Lord, and betray the message of our Prophet , and harm all of us.

(Note: These comments are based on the assumption that the news as reported is in fact accurate - if we learn different facts that change essential details, these comments will be updated).

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