By Mehdi Hasan –
“Whosoever killeth a human being… ” says the Qur’an, in the 32nd verse of its fifth chapter, “it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.”
Thus, the two supposedly Muslim men suspected of ambushing, murdering and mutilating an unarmed, off-duty soldier in the middle of a London street, while shouting “Allaho Akbar” (or “God is Great”), were brazenly violating the injunction of their own holy book. Perversely, it was the non-Muslim cub scout leader who, in trying to save the soldier’s life and standing up to his alleged attackers, was acting in accordance with Qur’anic principles. Let’s be clear: Islam, like every other faith, doesn’t permit the killing of innocents. Armed jihad is permissible only in self-defence and if sanctioned by a legitimate government. To quote from our prime minister’s pitch-perfect statement outside No 10, Wednesday’s broad-daylight barbarism was “a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country”.
*Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman’s senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.