In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful.

13 March, 2004


For Immediate Release

Nigeria MPAC Strongly Condemns Terrorist Atrocities in Madrid

Nigeria Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC, denounces totally and unequivocally the coordinated blasts at the Atocha rail station in the centre of the Spanish capital and at other stations. These terrible crimes were deliberate and pre-meditated atrocities that were designed to inflict death and maximum destruction and the indecent acts should be condemned by all who believe in God, the sanctity of life and human decency.

It adds to the outrage that those misguided individuals, groups or States responsible for such crimes violate the sanctity of human life that God made sacred, and show no regard whatsoever for common human values. In this particular case, confusion still reigns over whether to blame the Basque separatist group ETA or al-Qaeda network to which a discernible group acclaimed the responsibility in an unverifiable e-mail. It is very disgusting to see some people launching aggression against innocent people and taking them as scapegoats for any disagreement they have with the state’s authority! Violence against civilians is deplorable and wrong, and especially distressing when it is directed against people specifically because of any disagreement with the state’s authority. What is the crime of the common people who themselves may disagree with the state authority on similar issues as much as the perpetrators of these crimes? Murder is one of heinous crimes completely abhorred in Islam, to the extent that some Muslim scholars hold the opinion that the repentance of the murderer will not be accepted by Allah, Most High. Islam does not permit aggression against innocent people, whether the aggression is against life, property, or honour, and this ruling applies to everyone, regardless of position, status, cause and prestige.

In his Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, declared the principle that people’s lives, property, and honor are inviolable until the Day of Judgment. This ruling is not restricted to Muslims; rather, it includes non-Muslims who are not fighting Muslims. Even in case of war, Islam does not permit killing those who are not involved in fighting, such as women, children, the aged, and the monks who confine themselves to worship only. This shouldn’t raise any wonder, for Islam is a religion that prohibits aggression even against animals. This prohibition equally extends to vegetation; like trees, crops, etc. These terrible crimes illustrate the depth of misunderstanding and confusion that has darkened those who claim to defend just causes. Beyond mere condemnation, MPAC is urgently calling on all conscious and educated Muslims to expose the root of the malignant ideas that would lead Muslims to undertake such terrible acts of blind rage and violence. These ideas and subsequent actions endanger and offend the basic principles of Islam, which are mercy, justice, freedom, and human dignity.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught that whoever is silent regarding the truth is equal to a devil. This hadith (saying of the Prophet) is echoed in a well-known modern saying, “all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to remain silent.” In Islam, the notion “End justifies the means” has no place at all. It is not allowed to attain good aims through evil means. Here, the cause, intent, beginning, means and end should represent all that is good and acceptable under the Islamic Shariah. In this context, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Surely, Allah is Good and never accepts but what is good.” Thereby, in Shariah, with all its sources- the Glorious Qur’an, the Sunnah, consensus of Muslim jurists- aggression and violation of human rights are completely forbidden.

This Madrid incident is not one crime, but several crimes (according to Islam) at once, including mass murder, spreading corruption and destruction on earth and compromising the peace (in a country that was a sanctuary for Muslims) and further tarnishing the peaceful religion of Islam.

The Nigeria Muslim Public Affairs Centre also wishes to echo the sentiments voiced throughout the world Muslim community, expressing our deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims’ relatives and loved ones and our wishes to all those injured for a speedy and full recovery. We urge all concerned to exercise the greatest circumspection in dealing with such crimes against humanity which affect everyone in our world community. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Spanish people at this time of shock and grief.

Also, Nigeria MPAC condemns totally and unequivocally the use of the term ‘Islamic terrorists’ to describe the people who might have carried out these heinous crimes. To attempt to link these inhuman and barbaric atrocities to the teachings of Islam and the Qur’an is also a terrible crime that is feeding into the massive demonization of Islam and Muslims. By focusing all the time on the “pet” demons it is possible that we will allow the real perpetrators to go free, to return again. It is the fervent hope of the MPAC that the real organizers and perpetrators of these monumental crimes against humanity will soon be identified and held to account.

On a separate but related point, MPAC abhors the recent spate of Muslim-Christian violence in many parts of Nigeria resulting in huge loss of human lives and desecration of the sanctity of places of worship. Regardless of the history (sometimes deep) of sectarian strife in certain places or cultures in the country there is no escaping the fact that the mentality that can lead to the level of fanaticism witnessed in the repeat violent clashes is taught, not inherent to the two great religions. The culprits have mostly committed a crime discussed for centuries by Islamic scholars, known as “crimes of the heart”. These crimes include hatred, cruelty, and sectarian fanaticism. The fact that no serious interfaith dialogue has been brought forward to tackle the roots of this problem only intensifies the horror of the terrible acts. Muslim and Christian leaders and intellectuals have been relatively reluctant to exert the efforts needed to expose and isolate the poisonous teachings and actions that produce the ugly incidents in detailed, specific terms complete with analysis, recommendations and faithful implementation. This process will send a clear message to hate mongers that religious leaders, community members, organizations and law enforcement stand side by side to denounce hate, fanaticism and extremism in religion.

It is MPAC’s sincere wish that the enlightened, brave and responsible leadership of the two faith communities through effective dialoguing, will engender a socio-religious environment that would constitute lamp posts to provide guidance and inspiration for members of our society, both Muslims and Christians, on the path towards better understanding of each other and closer cooperation in seeking to embody the sublime values enshrined in both faiths.


Disu Kamor
Director of Media & Communications
Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC

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