Khutbah: 20 Years of the War on Terror

Purpose

  • – Build awareness of the 20 year mark of the global War on Terror, which led to the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other lands.
  • – Educate the community on the factually correct narrative around the events of 9/11 to counter mainstream propaganda.
  • – Inspire, empower, and have a positive impact on the community.
  • – Use the 20 year mark to remember and pray for Muslims who lost their lives during the post 9/11 wars.

KHUTBAH

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, we seek His help, and we seek His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides, there is none to misguide him. Whoever Allah leads astray, there is none to guide him. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah alone, without any partners, and that Muhammad ﷺ is His servant and His Messenger.


قال الله تعالى يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ

Allah Almighty said, “O you who have faith, fear Allah as it is His right to be feared and do not die unless you are Muslims.”[1]

وقال الله وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

And Allah Almighty said, “Fear Allah, from whom you ask each other, and in your family ties, for Allah is ever watchful over you.”[2]

وقال الله اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا

And Allah Almighty said, “Fear Allah and speak words as befitting. He will amend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has achieved a great triumph.” (al-Aḥzāb, 70-71)

إِنَّ أَصْدَقَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَأَحْسَنَ الْهَدْيِ هَدْيُ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَشَرُّ الْأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا وَكُلُّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلُّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ وَكُلُّ ضَلَالَةٍ فِي النَّارِ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ…

The truest word is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad ﷺ. The most evil matters are those that are newly invented, for every newly invented matter is an innovation. Every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire. To proceed (and then to begin the sermon):

Allah says:

وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ ٱلْحَرْثَ وَٱلنَّسْلَ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْفَسَادَ

“Whenever he attains authority, he goes about the earth spreading mischief and laying to waste crops and human life, even though Allah does not love mischief.” [3]

Topic of the Khutbah

– This September marks 20 years of a worldwide war that was initiated by President George Bush on 18 September 2001. He declared a ‘crusade’[4] that created a never ending war, turning the whole world into a battlefield for America and its allies.

– This so called global ‘War on Terror’ led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the CIA torture programme, abuses at CIA ‘black sites’, inhuman treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, drone assassinations, and systematically draconian and Islamophobic laws across the world.

– This global War on Terror fuelled the rise of Islamophobia, which casted Muslims as potential terrorists. Anti-Muslim violence escalated and the targeting of mainstream Islamic beliefs by politicians and the media became normal.

– This global war also accelerated the growth of far right movements across the West, who exploited the hate against Muslims to justify their racism. In these 20 years, we have also seen Eastern governments like China adopt a similar ‘War on Terror’ narrative against the Muslims of East Turkestan. India has done the same to deprive Indian Muslims of their citizenship and also attack Muslims in Kashmir.

– These two decades of the ‘War on Terror’ have led to so many deaths of innocent people, as well as numerous oppressive and unjust statutes and policies targeting Muslim communities. There has been a clear undermining of the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and due process.

– Many in the mainstream media will be discussing the events of 9/11 tomorrow. Our sympathies are with the families of the 2,977 people that died on that day. And our hearts go out to the nearly one million Muslims[5] that were killed by America and its allies since that day.

“For the Muslim Ummah every single day has been like a 9/11.”

This global war was launched allegedly as a response to the 9/11 incident. In fact, many have come to accept this false narrative, as though history began on September 11th 2001. In reality, the aggression against the Muslim world and destruction of Muslim people began much earlier before 9/11. Here are just some examples:

  1. In 1991: The US and 35 allies bombed Iraq. They even used depleted uranium, which caused almost half a million children to die.[6] More than a decade of financial and medical sanctions were imposed thereafter. This is BEFORE the second invasion that occurred during the Iraq War in 2003!
  2. In 1993, the US invaded Somalia. US troops were expelled in an infamous Black Hawk 312 Muslims were killed and many more were wounded.
  3. For many decades the US and allies have provided unflinching support to Israel in its continued occupation of Palestine and expulsion of Muslims there.
  4. For a very long time, the US has maintained a huge military presence in Muslim countries through military bases. From these bases, war and destruction is launched on other Muslim countries.[7]
  5. Long before 9/11, the US and its allies provided political and economic support to brutal dictators in the Muslim world, whilst singing about democracy.

Effect of this war on Muslims in the UK

This 20-year war has not only been impacting Muslims in distant lands. It has affected us right here directly: in our schools via the Prevent program; at our workplaces experiencing Islamophobia; at airports being stopped under Schedule 7; in the media while routinely being associated with violence and hate…and much more. Because of this false narrative created by the War on Terror, all Muslims are misrepresented as suspects or potential terrorists in our current time.

Our duty as Muslims

– We are part of the Muslim Ummah, and we stand together against injustice taking place against the Ummah from around the world, and also here in this country.

– We should call for accountability for all governments, agencies, and officials that are guilty of war crimes and abuses since 2001. This is a basic duty we owe to our brothers and sisters who suffered.

– We should demand that governments and leaders acknowledge the crimes which were committed in the name of the ‘War on Terror’. At the same time, we should demand restorative justice for victims and survivors of these wars.

– We should work towards the complete dismantlement of the infrastructure which made those crimes possible, including the unjust laws, policies, and practices that were created in this so-called ‘War on Terror’.

Positive & empowering reminder to finish

 The oppressed will one day secure their freedom, as it is a promise from Allah:

وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسْتُضْعِفُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ ٱلْوَٰرِثِينَ

وَنُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَنُرِىَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَـٰمَـٰنَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا مِنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا۟ يَحْذَرُونَ

“And We wanted to confer favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors; and to establish them in the land; and through them show Pharaoh, Hamân, and their soldiers ˹the fulfilment of˺ what they feared.” [8]

The Muslim is always positive and optimistic; we know our Lord is Allah and He is always in support of His obedient slaves. We must remain steadfast on the path to justice. Those who spend trillions on spreading war and destruction – especially if the goal is to undermine Islam – will never succeed, because their cause is unjust and criminal:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا۟ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ ۗ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ

“Surely the disbelievers spend their wealth to hinder others from the Path of Allah. They will continue to spend to the point of regret. Then they will be defeated and the disbelievers will be driven into Hell.” [9]

Many Islamic scholars from around the world have come together to express their solidarity and sympathy with victims and survivors of the wars in the post-9/11 era. You can read their statements here

That website is the home of a worldwide campaign launched by more than 50 organisations to ensure that the stories of the survivors of this war are not forgotten.

RESEARCH NOTES FOR IMAMS

What Does The International Witness Campaign Stand For?

Key Points

After decades of confrontation with the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the sole superpower and immediately engaged in a series of destructive “humanitarian wars” and political meddling. This included starving to death more than 500,000 children in Iraq, which was “a price worth paying”, as infamously stated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Soon after, US militarism reinvented itself under a new label.

In 2001, US President George W. Bush announced the launch of a “crusade”. Since then, we have witnessed 20 years of premeditated illegal wars, carpet bombings, drone assassinations, arbitrary detention, torture, mass displacement, and rampant corruption in the Muslim world.

As a result, thousands in Western democracies have lost their loved ones in these wars. Many more have suffered life-changing injuries, and an untold number have come home with unseen trauma to their mental health.

Western democracies have also enacted countless statutes and policies targeting Muslim communities and undermining the rule of law for all. This has meant the erosion of basic freedoms, unprecedented waste of taxpayers’ money, and the West’s loss of standing in the global arena.

This infrastructure was built and promoted by ideologically-motivated architects, which included interest-driven politicians, think-tanks, experts, media outlets, and businesses.

It was also facilitated by the liberal complicity in structural Islamophobia and securitisation.

In the process, we saw whistleblowers and truth speakers being demonised and repressed.

However, the dialogue initiated in Doha, as well as President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan after facing military and moral defeat, represent a historic moment which deserves much reflection.

More than a contemplative exercise over past events, this campaign seeks to respond to the globalisation of the War on Terror. Unfortunately, most countries in the world have adopted the pervasive 20-year-old rhetoric, laws, and policies to suppress their Muslim populations and dissidents. Thus, it is important for civil society actors to rise to these new challenges and produce a response centred around the empowerment of Muslim communities and changing the status quo.

The International Witness Campaign gathers international partners to commemorate this anniversary and remember the millions of people affected across the globe.

It explores two decades of the War on Terror: its impact, its failures, and its future, while promoting solidarity, justice, and dialogue.

Why Should You Support The International Witness Campaign?

Key Facts

  • – At least 801,000 people have been directly killed in major wars since 2001.
  • – 37 million people have been displaced as a result of America’s War on Terror.
  • – Over 6.4 trillion dollars have been spent on wars by the US alone.
  • – Over 134 countries have been involved in some way with these conflicts.
  • – Dozens of laws eroding civil liberties of all citizens have been passed and implemented.
  • – Private security corporations have been profiting from taxpayers’ funded national security systems.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

For futher reading, click here

[1] Al-Qur’an, 3:102

[2] Al-Qur’an, 4:1

[3] Al-Qur’an, 2:205

[4] https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1001020294332922160

[5] https://www.brown.edu/news/2019-11-13/costsofwar

[6] https://mackdegeurin.medium.com/is-the-price-worth-it-the-crippling-effects-of-u-n-sanctions-in-iraq-481d4a89bdd2

[7] https://5pillarsuk.com/2020/01/09/which-muslim-countries-host-u-s-military-bases/

[8] Al-Qur’an, 28:5-6

[9] Al-Qur’an, 8:36

Open Letter: Supporting Aafia Siddiqui

Open Letter: Supporting Aafia Siddiqui

Open Letter: Supporting Aafia Siddiqui

It is well known that the War on Terror waged by the United States and its allies led to aggression and injustice against countries, organizations, groups and individuals. Perhaps the worst example of this brutality against individuals was that meted out to our Muslim sister in Islam, Aafia Siddiqui and her three small children.

Aafia is a hafidhah of the Qur’an, a devoted mother and practising Muslim, who dedicated her life to spreading the religion of God and assisting fellow Muslims. It is believed that she was abducted at the behest of American intelligence from Pakistan, her home country along with her children in 2003, the youngest of whom was just six months old at that time. Aafia Siddiqui and her lawyers maintain that she was held in secret US detention and tortured and abused in this time, along with her children – a claim that is corroborated by former prisoners at Bagram. After five years of denying knowledge of her whereabouts, the US claims that she allegedly emerged in Afghanistan. She was shot by US soldiers and then tried and convicted despite the absence of any physical evidence against her and the conflicting testimonies presented during the trial. She now faces life in prison. Only one of her children has been released, while the whereabouts of the two youngest remain unknown. From the time she was transferred to the US to date she has been subject to humiliating and degrading strip and cavity searches in prison and is now being denied jail visits and communication with the outside world, including her immediate family.

Allah has enjoined upon the believers, in innumerable commandments, to support the believers who are being oppressed, irrespective of where they may be. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“The believers, men and women, are auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin good and forbid from evil; they establish prayers, and give the zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”[1]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection.”[2]
He (peace be upon him) also said,
“Whoever is present while a Muslim is humiliated before him, and is able to assist him [and yet does not], Allah will humiliate him before all of creation on the Day of Judgment.” And in another narration, “No man forsakes a Muslim when his rights are being violated or his honour is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a Muslim at a time when his honour is being belittled or his rights violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help.”

When we merely hear the plight of our sister, we should feel restless and tormented as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love and affection is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.”

In spite of this, the Muslim ummah, whose followers surpass that of any other world religion, have shamefully failed in our duty to defend this Muslim woman.

 

Obligation to aid in the emancipation of Muslim captives

 

Allah has admonished and reproached the believers for allowing the weak to remain under the clutches of the enemy and their torture. Allah says,
“And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.””[3]

Explaining this verse, Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “Freeing the prisoners is obligatory on the Muslim, whether by war or wealth.” Imam Malik said, “It is obligatory on (Muslim) people to ransom the prisoners with all their wealth.” There is no difference of opinion among the scholars over this, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Free the prisoners.”[4] Our scholars say that ransoming prisoners is obligatory, even if not a single penny is left. Ibn Khuwaizimandad said, “This verse contains the obligations to free prisoners. There are reports from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to this effect: he freed prisoners and ordered them to be freed. This was practiced by Muslims throughout the ages and the scholars are unanimous about it. It is obligatory to free (Muslim) prisoners from the state’s treasury, and if the amount does not suffice, then it is obligatory upon all the Muslims to contribute. If one Muslim frees him, the others are absolved of this duty.”

An incident that shows the great concern for freeing Muslim captives is when the Caliph ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) sent ‘Abdul Rahman bin ‘Amrah to free some Muslim captives. He said, “Give them whatever they ask for every Muslim! By Allah, a Muslim is dearer to me than all the polytheists in my state! Indeed, you win any Muslim you pay the ransom for. Indeed you are buying Islam (by ensuring their release from prison and torture).”[5]
Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Freeing Muslim prisoners is one of the greatest obligations. Spending money from endowments (waqf) and other sources is one of the best deeds.”
Ibn Qudamah, may Allah have Mercy on him, said: “It is permissible for a Muslim to use his zakat to buy back a Muslim prisoner from the captivity of polytheists. This is because the emancipation of a Muslim captive is similar to emancipating someone from slavery, as well as it bringing glory to Islam. Spending zakah in this cause is like spending it to soften people’s hearts towards Islam, and since it is given to the prisoner to free himself from captivity it is like giving money to an indebted person for ridding himself of the debt.”

Our Obligation

Therefore, it is obligatory upon every single Muslim, wherever they reside, to work, directly or indirectly, towards the release of the Muslim captives irrespective of wherever they may be. Any Muslim with the capability to aid others yet fails to do so will be sinful. Everyone is responsible according to their ability; the greatest responsibility lies with those in authority, followed by the scholars, and so on – although the failure of those who bear greater responsibility to act does not absolve individuals of their own individual responsibilities.If the captive is a Muslim woman, like our sister Aafia, the obligation becomes even greater, given the elevated status of women in Islam. The scholars of Islam are unanimous that a Muslim woman cannot be handed over to non-Muslims in any case. This Ummah has a glorious heritage of protecting Muslim women that we must endeavour to restore. Amongst the incidents narrated to this effect, is that of the honour of a believing woman attacked by members of the tribe of Quraydhah, and so, a believer fought to defend her until he was killed and an army was dispatched against the perpetrators.

As a nation, we have not fulfilled our obligation towards our sister, Aafia Siddiqui, as well as her children. We must exhaust every lawful means for her release and for the recovery of her children without fearing anyone but Allah. This may include, but is not limited to, direct involvement with organisations that work for this cause, donating money for it, raising awareness and actively speaking about her plight, writing in support of her and her family, and pressuring those governments complicit in her ordeal to end this injustice.

The least that is enjoined upon us is to supplicate to Allah for her as well other Muslim prisoners, as supplication is the weapon of a Muslim; it is incumbent upon every believer to supplicate for them as if we were supplicating on behalf of ourselves and our families.
“O Allah, deliver our sister and her children from this humiliation and torture at the hands of those who do not believe in You.”
May Allah ease the affairs of our sister Aafia and hasten her release from captivity. May He break free her shackles and the shackles of all of our oppressed prisoners. May Allah give them the strength to deal with their ordeal. May Allah punish those who have oppressed our sister Aafia and continue to oppress her, may He defeat them and smite them, and may Allah forgive us for being negligent towards our Muslim brothers and sisters. May Allah unite the hearts of the Muslims and grant us victory over our oppressors.

Notes:
Source: http://www.islam21c.com

[1] Surah Taubah 9:71
[2] Sahih Al-Bukhari
[3] Surah Al-Nisa’ 4:75
[4] Sahih Al-Bukhari
[5] Narrated by Sa’eed Bin Mansur in his Sunan