By Brigitte L. Nacos
In his speech to commemorate the Birth of the Prophet Mohammad on January 9, 2015, Hamas leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah condemned categorically those terrorist groups that align themselves with the Prophet and Allah but in reality offend the Messenger of Allah with their “barbaric” and “animalistic” behavior. He singled out beheadings and massacres carried out around the world saying that those responsible for those murderous deeds were worse than those who publish offending books and movies. He called those terrorist groups “one of the biggest challenges of our religion.”
While he did not mention the names of groups, it was clear that he talked about ISIS, AQAP, Boko Haram, and the likes. He also criticized the media for broadcasting the deeds of these groups.
To my knowledge, no other well-known Muslim has issued such a sharp condemnation of the practitioners of the most brutal, most lethal form of modern-day terrorism.
To be sure, Hezbollah has a history of carrying out terrorist acts, many of them in the 1980s against Americans. While greeting Christians and Muslims at the beginning of his speech, Nasrallah did not include Jews in his New Year’s greetings. And, unfortunately, he did not signal a retreat from hostility towards Israel.
Nevertheless, if high profile Muslims everywhere were to issue similar condemnations and take on the challenge within their religion, this would be the beginning of a most effective counterterrorism campaign.