Religion can't be defence for brutal killings
Suleman Nagdi says the murder of a soldier on a London Street betrays all Muslims
The shocking murder which took place on Wednesday has left me appalled and angry. Appalled at the brutality and savageness of the murder of an innocent man and angry that this wanton act of violence is being labelled as "Islamic".
The Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) rightly condemned in the strongest terms possible what occurred. I concur with our Prime Minister when he said: "This was not just an attack on Britain. It was a betrayal of Islam and the Muslim communities who give so much to our country."
I must begin by expressing sympathy and condolences to the family of the dead soldier, who have lost their loved one as a result of inexplicable violence.
It is shocking that this tragedy happened in broad daylight.
Eyewitness accounts describe the depth of psychotic callousness with which the killers acted – killers whose motives are irrelevant, as the crime itself demonstrates an extreme level of psychological disturbance.
I am numb and outraged that two people intent on violence have hijacked my faith to such an end. This is a complete distortion of the true meaning of Islam.
It betrays all Muslims who have peace and compassion in their hearts and particularly those in our Muslim communities across the UK who work for the security of our nation.
Such a brutal act of murder cannot be justified using religion as a defence. Islam places the highest value on life and safeguarding a single human life is tantamount to safeguarding all life.
It is truly distressing to see the extreme right opportunistically using this tragedy to spout their vicious racist hatred and sadder still to see that some people are responding to this incident by joining their extreme cause.
Most Muslims I have spoken to have been distressed by the fact they are being made to defend themselves when the deranged killings have nothing to do with them or their religion.
The killers' motives are political and their methods are criminal.
The tensions felt by British Muslims will be exacerbated in the days to come by those who blame all Muslims for the actions of two psychotic men, who may happen to be Muslim.
As reports of two lone attacks on mosques in Britain are covered in the media, it is imperative that all of our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.
It is important we allow our police authorities to do their job without speculation. We also urge the utmost vigilance and ask the police authorities to calm tensions and ensure this tragedy does not unfold into greater tragedy.
Suleman Nagdi is chairman of Leicestershire Faith Forum [sic] and spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations.