This article in The Conversation strikes an appropriate tone: Terror on the Streets of London, but don't jump to conclusions yet.
If you haven't heard yet, there has been a random and vicious attack in broad daylight on the streets of London, where a man (believed to be a soldier) has been hacked to death in a busy street.
Aljazeera has more details here: 'Soldier hacked to in London'.
The incident is being called a 'terrorist attack', the likes of which 'we have seen before' by news and politicians in the UK (that quote by London Mayer, Boris Johnson).
This is a sickening, terrible attack and one that is sure to garner much media attention, speculation and a strong backlash in London itself due to the demographics of the super-metropolis. It is interesting that even though atrocities are being committed in Syria daily, we become desensitised...
...but the streets of London are not a warzone, and the attack happened near the gates of a primary school.
For those who will premetively speculate or link the attack to Islam, stop.
We (as a society in general) must not let sick violence hijack our peace and work towards harmony. We (as Muslims) must not let people commit terror in the name of the religion that we believe in and stay silent.
Islam explicitly forbids killing innocents.
"Nor take life -- which Allah has made sacred -- except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law)." [Quran 17:33]
Thus the term 'Muslim Terrorist' is an oxy moron (see more on this here).
It is a shame that every time there is attack we (as Muslims) must go on the offensive, denying any link, defending our religion. It is frustrating that we must constantly justify our way of life and our beliefs.
Unfortunately though, this seems to be the status quo.
In a world where Islam and the cultures of the East are 'Othered' and misunderstood, is it the responsibility of Muslims living in the West to educate on the true values underpinning the religion? Perhaps. But it can also be exhausting.
In the Aljazeera article, a Muslim resident of the area echoed similar sentiments:
"This has nothing to do with Islam, this has nothing to do with our religion. This has nothing to do with Allah," he said. It's heartbreaking, it's heartbreaking."
Defenses aside though, the purpose of the attack is still unconfirmed.
I think a harder question that must be asked though is why.
Why do young men feel the need to commit such acts of terror??
What sickness is in our society, what are we missing, that allows such motivations to exist and fester into action? Be it the numerous shootings in the United States or even Norway, to the hacking attack in London; these are not the results of well balanced and harmonious communities.
Is it foreign policy stances? Is it family structures and issues growing up? Is it lack of support and understanding as a society as to what young men are experiencing? Is it mental health or the lack thereof? Is it misunderstanding? A combination of all the above?
These are the hard questions that need to be asked if we truly want to work towards preventing and eliminating sickness and violence in our socities.
*Featured photo from Twitter (@BietLe_)