Muslims cannot kill Muslim is a statement that anyone living in this part of the world would be very familiar with. Every time bomb goes off at some public place and Muslims get killed, this argument is overwhelmingly repeated that this or that carnage cannot be committed by Muslims because Muslims are brothers, they can’t kill each other. Why is it so? Can’t Muslim kill Muslim? All those cases of homicides which are reported daily on the media, is not that Muslim killing Muslim? Which it surely is, then what kind of imagination on the face of brutal facts can lead to the formulation of this statement; that no Muslim can kill other Muslim?
In my view, it may be totally acceptable for majority of Muslims to believe that Muslim can kill Muslim for other kind of worldly gains, for example while during theft or robbery, but what Muslims are not willing to admit is the killing perpetrated due to political motivations. The following case that I make is not for the tiny secular and Westernized Muslims but of the masses and are based on my own reflections. Muslim political imagination has still not be able to come to terms with the forces that shapes the politics of today. The discourse has not modernized at per with the modernization of institutional framework which governs their societies. The conceptual framework within which, despite all the territorial and cultural divisions among themselves, they tend to locate their political ideals is still very much of the religious nature; EVENTUALLY Ummah, all Muslims are brothers, religious supremacy is the destined fact etc etc.
But how does one reconcile such brutal facts as Muslims going to war with Muslims as had happened in past 30-40 years, which are purely politically motivated killings, with this kind of imagination. Its very simple! When Iraq attacks Kuwait, or attacks Iran, it’s the deviant Saddam who does it, Saddam can count on the appeals of Iraqiyya with Sunni undertones against Shiite regime; the bad Muslims, the Iran in turn can appeal to Saddam as a despotic Sunni bad Muslim, when Pakistan does it dirty game or Afghan government blew up Pakistan’s market places back in 1980’s, it’s the deviant regime, and interestingly in all these cases, the deviant Saddam, or the regime in Pakistan, or Afghan, all of these actors can be traced to have some foreign support, so in actual they are foreign stooges doing it; it’s the foreign hand, not Muslims in total isolation conspiring and killing other Muslim out; it’s the foreign power making some Muslims go insane and do all carnage on their behalf. In a nutshell brutal facts of Muslim killing Muslims would either not change the discourse (that Muslims are brothers all over) or they can simply be twisted, reduced and reinterpreted to support the discourse. Saddam was deviant American stooge who did all killing in 80’s and 90’s, but then he became a good guy, don’t you see how bravely he died, only true Muslim could give up life that way, it was American the devil who was using him, who was behind all his killing. To understand and believe that Muslim kill Muslim in its entirety will lead to the dismantling of a cherished belief of religious supremacy; a supremacy of purely political nature; (the idea which Christians in the West espoused too but were eventually force to forsake due to the secularization of their societies) for the idea of Muslims being enemy of each other is totally antithetical to the idea of such supremacy. It is also my belief that this kind of mentality would be more widespread in the more developed centers of Muslim State, thus more closer to the State apparatus and its propaganda, then among the peripheral communities who due to various kind of deprivations have found it more expedient to agitate against the center on secular lines.
Muslim brotherhood and related concepts are as old as Muslim history itself. Muslim history has not been devoid of its share of bloodshed and from first century onward down to now Muslims have repeatedly killed each other. But what distinguishes Muslim internal fighting from the West post enlightenment time period warfare is the fact that Muslim rulers exploit that discourse of good Muslim bad Muslim in their warfare even in modern times. Muslims rulers who need support of their population, which they find easily to instrumentalize religion for, repeatedly use the religious discourse in varying degree to justify the killings. Wars are not depicted as secular worldly enterprise, rather the fight between the good and evil, the evil being the deviant Muslim ruler or his party, not the population that particular regime rules, for they are good Muslims and our brothers.
This particular failure to see the nakedness of the conflict, to unravel true forces behind them, to understand them as phenomenon totally driven by the secular forces, I think is the one of the main reasons that majority of Muslims are not willing to accept other Muslims perpetrating killing against them. If facts become too brutal to ignore, it’s the deviant Muslims, but who eventually are sponsored by some foreign power, but they are readily excommunicated, it is readily exclaimed, they are not true Muslims, Muslims cannot do that; ISIS, Taliban, Al Qaeda are all the kharijte they are not Muslims.
And eventually it just boils down to the incongruity between the mentality and the superstructure. Muslims political discourse has not modernize as per with the modernization in institutional framework which governs them, modern States etc. While the modern forces instigate conflict; for example Pakistani State interest are behind the conflict of the region; the discourse which is used to interpret it is not modern. The superstructure is modern which breeds conflict whereas the discourse, the mentality has not modernized. This is the dilemma of the people here. And that’s why you hear it Muslim can not kill Muslim .