Muslim Groups Divided Over Upcoming Anti-Terrorism March

by
Alice Salles
At least one of the largest Muslim organizations in Germany says that this march will be counterproductive. They plan to hold prayers for peace instead.

Girls wearing hijabs join others in protest.After the latest series of terrorist attacks taking place across the globe, Islamic scholar Lamya Kaddor and Muslim peace activist Tarek Mohamad have organized a peace march in Germany. Still, not all major groups of Muslim activists are willing to participate.

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The Not With Us march, which is scheduled to take place this Saturday, is a protest against terrorism. But Germany's largest Muslim organization, DITIB, says it isn't getting involved, as this march only amounts to an “assignment of guilt,” The Guardian reports.

Saying that the march would only lead to further “stigmatization” of Muslims, a DITIB spokesman said that “[d]emands for ‘Muslim’ anti-terrorism demonstrations fall short.”

Instead of helping the rest of society understand that followers of the Islamic faith are just as anti-terrorism as anyone else, these events simply “stigmatize Muslims and give the impression that international terrorism leads back to their communities and mosques.”

On top of that, DITIB added, “[f]asting Muslims cannot be expected to demonstrate for hours in the midday sun.” As organizers scheduled the event on the 22nd day of Ramadan, those observing the tradition won't be eating or drinking from 3:47 a.m. to 9:55 p.m. that day.

But to organizers, choosing to hold this event during Ramadan made sense because of the large number of attacks happening precisely during this period.

“In a perverse manner, terrorists have repeatedly chosen this time in particular to carry out an especially large number of their atrocious deeds,” organizers said.

Still, DITIB is telling its members to forego this demonstration. Instead, they say, they will be holding “prayers for peace and against terrorism” at their mosques.

Kaddor, who serves as the chair of the Liberal-Islamic Association and who's one of the organizers of this event, is from Syria. She came to Germany as a child with her parents in 1978. After weeks of extreme violence, she said, the time felt right for a peace march.

“We Muslims want to come together and form a broad coalition against everyone who uses violence, particularly when they speak in our name,” she stated.

While we agree and see this coalition as a great way to show the world what Muslims stand for, we also believe that both groups have made strong cases. What's important is that individual Muslims are free to choose whether they want to demonstrate in the march or join others in prayer at mosques instead. After all, asking people who only appear to be similar because they share similar characteristics to condemn the actions of a few isn't fair.

If that is the case, then why are only Muslims pressured to condemn violence?

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