A Reformed Suicide Bomber in the 77th St. Subway Station, Manhattan

By Yiannis Petrohilos in the voice of his alter ego, Mahmoud Aziz, 12/01

Brothers, last night when I went to bed I couldn't sleep because of the excitement of the day that would follow. So as I was lying in my bed I was thinking of everything that we have accomplished the past few years. Suddenly a dark cloud came over me. I remembered that the initial goal of this brotherhood was to spread "True Islam", a religion of love peace and friendship. It seems to me though, that the only thing we have accomplished is to spread terror and a distorted image about our religion. The West have coined expressions like "Islamic terror" and are comparing the Islamic movement with the crusades, which were expeditions in the late 11th century to recover the holy land from the Muslims. They too had a religious goal, but the only thing they accomplished was to reign fear and terror by killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Jews. The crusaders went as far as to plunder Constantinople, which was a Christian city and to steal golden objects from the churches.

I started thinking that according to Islam law terrorism is considered cowardly, predatory and a grand sin punishable by death. It prohibits indiscriminate attacks against enemies, Muslims or non-Muslims. In the Quran Allah tells us: "fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits, for Allah loves not transgressors."

It is well known and deeply regrettable that the government of the United States is often an instrument for the oppression of Muslims, and indeed for the subjection of many other of the world's people.The Iraq sanction has caused 1.5 million people to die because of malnutrition and a lack of medicine. And although the oil-for-food program has allowed to export 2 billion dollars worth of oil every six months, only $1.3 billion can be spent on food and medicine since $700 million have to be given to a compensation fund and toward U.N. expenses. But the U.N. estimates that Iraq needs to spend $2.1 billion every six months just to stop conditions from getting worse.Furthermore during the Yugoslavia bombing the concentration of the bombs were falling in Kosovo when everyone knew that Milosevic was in Belgrade. This caused thousands of Muslim Albanians to become refugees, an addition to previous thousands which had left Kosovo because of the ethnic cleansing performed by the Serbs.

Finally the embargo and attacks on Afghanistan forced 150.000 of our brothers to seek refugee in Pakistan, 100.000 of which were evicted. Having suffered from injustice though does not license anyone to commit injustice. Allah has told us: "My servants, I have made injustice unlawful for Me and unlawful for you, so do not commit injustice against one another." We all know that there is a special place for those who die in the service of God as martyrs. But we must also remember that the first people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the say of Resurrection will be a man who died as a martyr. If someone shoots me because of what I'm saying about God, the Qu'ran says I'm not really dead because I'm with Him. If I'm feeding the poor and calling for justice, I can't be called dead. My soul is alive and God sustains me. But to kill innocent people because their government oppresses my people is unacceptable. It is said in the Qu'ran that whoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all of mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Moreover Allah tells us: "And if you do respond to an attack, respond no worse than they did. But if you show patience, that is indeed the best course, for your patience is from God." The people who were killed in Washington and New York and the ones that we are about to kill today are people who loves Jesus, prophet Moses, or even Muslims. This according to the Qu'ran is a sin that, unless forgiven by God brings torment in Hell. On the other hand, we as Muslims cannot afford to ever forget that Jihad means struggle, not holy war. It is about risk, sacrifice and strategy for the common good. It is not about violence. Yes, it has sometimes meant warfare, but only when that could be undertaken with the Prophet's nobility and honor and only when no alternative could exist. With Jihad, violence is not the point. Ours is a struggle of love against hate, of justice against injustice. Nowhere in the Qu'ran or the Hadith do we read that the end justifies the means. In no part of the Qu'ran does God command us to respond to violence with violence. On the contrary, Allah commands us to respond to evil with goodness.

In the Qu'ran we are taught that: "A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else he will become a friend." After that my brothers I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. Today I woke up reborn. And I feel reborn because I realized the error of my ways. It occurred to me that I'm not spreading the word of Allah by killing innocent people. Because Allah speaks of love peace, friendship. My religion is talks of patience and submission. I realized that the only way we can get people to discover the beauty of "True Islam" is to speak to them and educate them about what it is all about. Today is a great day for me, because from today I no longer believe in the power of guns but in the power of my words and my faith. I hope and pray that the Almighty will enlighten you as he did me and that you will join me in my quest to spread His word.

Mahmoud Aziz
The word Jihad literally means, to struggle or strive, to work for something with determination. It does not mean holy war. The Arabic word for war is "Harb" and the word for fighting is "Qital". In the West the word is generally used as "Holy war" a usage that the media have popularized. According to Islam teachings it is unholy to instigate or start war. However, some wars are inevitable and justifiable. One of the highest levels of Jihad is to stand up to a tyrant and speak a word of truth. The goal of physical Jihad is not to have a big war, gain riches or kill people, it is to further the cause of Allah and to create justice on Earth.