The horrifying attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and 59 injured has the U.K. on edge.
While parents mourn the deaths of their children and the authorities continue to investigative, Hamid Jan Kakar, a 29-year-old Afghan who resides in London, is sick of people saying “terrorism doesn’t have anything to do with Islam.”
Kakar lived under the Taliban until he was five. He still visits Afghanistan from time to time, and his relatives deal with terrorism every day.
These days, Kakar is an activist who raises awareness about issues in Afghanistan.Hamid Jan Kakar
During an interview with Independent Journal Review, Kakar talked about what he feels Muslims are too afraid to address. First, he offered some background into the kind of life he has lived.
“Even though I was only five, living under the Taliban is something I will always remember. They turned sports stadiums into slaughterhouses. Pregnant women were dying during delivery because there were no nurses or doctors to look after them and provide the adequate medical care. The only education you could get was about the history of Islam, and it was a fabricated history,” Kakar said.Roger Lemoyne/Liaison/Getty Images
Kakar addressed the bombing in Manchester:
“Muslims don’t want to talk about it because they feel like they are betraying their religion. So they say things like ‘but Hitler killed people and the KKK killed people.’ This creates a distraction and doesn’t focus on the real problem.
We have an issue, and we have to address it, and we have to find a solution for the matter. We have to acknowledge we have a problem. To go to an extent to kill yourself you have to believe in something. It’s about time that Muslims speak up. We need to acknowledge it and completely denounce the jihad.”
He called out fellow Muslims for defending Islam as a “religion of peace.” “As much as it upsets me that 22 innocent people were killed in Manchester, in Afghanistan people are killed every single day. Muslims always indirectly or directly defend Islam as a religion of peace. The Koran is in Old Arabic, so nobody fully understands it. If Muslims knew the Koran, why are there 72 different sects and sub-sects of Islam?”
Kakar brought up a rebuttal for a popular argument — that the West is the cause of all the violence in the Middle East. “People say these things just started when the Jews occupied Israel and the Americans began to invade Middle Eastern lands. But at the beginning of Islam, after Mohammad died, there were four leaders. Only one of them died his own death.
“But Ali [Mohammad’s son-in-law] was killed by fellow Muslims when he was reciting the Koran in a mosque,” Kakar continued. “Muslims killed his sons. Muslims have been fighting each other for an extended period, much longer than U.S. troops have been fighting in the Middle East or the state of Israel has been around.”Hamid Jan Kakar
Kakar called the rule of the Taliban the darkest time in Afghanistan’s history and then shared a message for people who refuse to accept that Islam has something to do with the reason terrorists are killing people:
“We have suffered so much. Everyone saying Islam is a peaceful religion is wrong. These terrorists are following a religion — they are following Islam. They are driven by the same ideology as the Crusaders who were given a green light to kill for God and the members of the church that tortured and imprisoned people for minor offenses. But Europe had an Enlightenment area, and Europe has never looked back.
But Islam has never had an Enlightenment area [sic]. It needs one. And Muslims need to acknowledge what the problem is. They don’t read the history of what has happened, so some are not well-read on the issue. And some are well-read and choose not to acknowledge it, they are cowards.”
Kakar then doubled down on his thoughts regarding Islam and terrorism. “Muslims will have to acknowledge that it’s them that are the victims of terrorism, and it is their responsibility to recognize the fact that these terrorists are followers of Islam. Saying terrorism has no religion and Islam is a peaceful religion will not help.”
Kakar became a British citizen in 2005, but he hopes he might be able to go back to Afghanistan someday. “Afghanistan is where my heart is, it’s where my mother is buried, but in the U.K., I feel like a human being. If Afghanistan becomes a secular country one day, I would return,” he said.