Since 9/11 attacks, the West has believed that terrorism emanates from Islam and Muslims fight the West, its lifestyle and thought. The editor of the French newspaper Le Monde French newspaper “Jean Marie Colombani” has expressed it in his writing, “The Muslims’ hatred of the West is caused by their jealousy of the success and wealth that the West enjoys and represents”.
Many of them, including the American-British historian Bernard Lewis, have justified the existence of violence among Muslims—the violence that leads to their backwardness. There are many such views that confer the status of “terrorist” on Muslims only. Some of them describe Muslims as savages aiming at purifying mankind from the world of disbelief. Some of them have covered Islam with what it has nothing to do, by defaming its form and considering it a religion based on supremacy and oppression. They consider that Islam has no relation with respect to ensuring freedom and tolerance, protecting any covenant or maintaining any treaty. They think Islam is “exploiter” in regard to negotiating and breaking the treaties, that is, if it finds any profit in negotiating treaty it does, and when that profit is achieved, it breaks the treaty.
The Muslims in the era of the Prophet [peace be upon him] and after him in the era of the companions were threatened with the sudden violent attack by the forces who used to see Islam with contempt and hostility. So the “defensive war” was immensely necessary at that time. The fight of Islam was defensive and not offensive. It is necessary to understand that sometimes defence wears the dress of offence merely for reasons such as, preventing the obstacles in the preaching of Islam, applying and propagating the principles of humanity, brotherhood, equality among the servants of Allah and social security and deterring the strong from oppressing the weak. So in order to prevent oppression, the Muslims used to lie in ambush. This was the time when the king of Persia was planning to kill the prophet (peace be upon him), when Hercules killed everyone who converted to Islam in Syria, Islam was badly treated and when the expectants were looking for an opportunity to wage sudden violent attack on Muslims. At that time, it was not wise waiting for the enemy to invade the homes of Muslims, and hence the defence wore the dress of offence. This kind of war in the modern term is called the “preventive war”.
In the state of fighting and war, the right to life is protected for non-combatants such as old men, children and women, with special care of the injured, and this happens without breaking the covenant if the other party respects its provisions, as mentioned in the divine speech “Excepted are those with whom you made a treaty among the polytheists and then they have not been deficient toward you in anything or supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until their term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].” (9:6). Islam categorically prohibits sudden violent attack prior to announcing the notice and explicit information.
Islam made this prohibition 1400 years ago, that is, much before than the contemporary laws, which included this prohibition during the Hague Convention of 1907, stipulating the condition that “The contracting Powers recognize that hostilities between themselves must not commence without previous and explicit warning, in the form either of a declaration of war, giving reasons, or of an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war”. The Muslims committed themselves to this prohibition and did not fight but to defend their rights and lives when they were attacked by the enemy or when it appeared that the enemies are preparing for attack. The history is the best witness to that.
Islam urges peaceful co-existence among Muslims and all non-Muslims. It calls for establishing goodness and benevolence as long as these non-Muslims are in peace. “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (60:8)
No matter whether the people of other religions i.e. non-Muslims are expatriates or part of the Islamic community, Islam guarantees for them all rights and privileges as equally as for Muslims, such as freedom, justice, care and protection with regard to opinion, religion, practice of economic and commercial activities, and establishment of religious rituals, even if they are from a country hostile to the people of Islam as long as they have been allowed to enter their homes.