Contemporary and Social Issues

A French Imam’s Response to Barbaric Terrorist Attack in France


Nabil Mirza, Canada

Nabil Mirza originally hails from France and currently serves as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the city of Montréal, located in the French-Canadian province of Quebec.

I was deeply saddened to learn about the decapitation of a French History teacher in France. As an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I strongly and unreservedly condemn the barbaric assassination of this teacher in the Yvelines, who was killed due to a presentation of caricatures of the Prophet of Islam (sa) to his class.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family; I am grieved on two fronts; firstly, because this horrific act was committed in my home country, and secondly because this act has been falsely attributed to my religion of Islam.

The topic of Islam is often, as we say in French à la une, i.e. on the front page. This heinous act will certainly serve as fuel for the conversation in the coming days.

Islamophobia in France

In the recent past, there has been a rise in hate comments about Islam in France. Of course, there is the topic of the Hijab (veil) which remains a hotly contested subject throughout the year.

Then there was the Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, who in October 2019 gave his view on the signs of radicalization. He said that if a person is rigorous in their religious practice, especially in the month of Ramadan, a person has a beard, regularly prays or does not kiss the opposite gender, then these are some of the signs that should trigger an alert that they have become radicalised. [1] In other words, his view was that Muslims should stop practising their religion.

We then have Charlie Hebdo reprinting the offensive caricatures of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (sa) hurting the sentiments of millions of Muslims in France and billions across the world.

And let’s not forget the recent comments of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, who said ‘Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today’. [2]

Thus, the topic of Islam is heavily debated in France. Nevertheless, this can never warrant or justify taking the life of another human.

How Should Muslims Respond? 

Even when faced with opposition, attacks or disrespect of any kind, such as being faced with something as heinous as caricatures of their beloved Holy Prophet (sa), Muslims are taught to respond in a manner of dignity and wisdom; never with violence.

For example, the Holy Qur’an teaches us to avoid such gatherings where signs of God are being mocked, as God states:

‘…when you hear the Signs of Allah being denied and mocked at, sit not with them until they engage in a talk other than that; for in that case you would be like them…’. [3]

At another instance, God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:

‘And follow not the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and leave alone their annoyance, and put thy trust in Allah; for Allah is sufficient as a Guardian.’ [4]

Hence, Islam teaches that in such instances, one should turn away from such people and place their trust in God Almighty.

Furthermore, Islam teaches us to show patience and self-control when faced with hurtful comments, as God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:

You shall surely hear many hurtful things from those who were given the Book before you and from those who set up equals to God. But if you show fortitude and act righteously, that indeed is a matter of strong determination.’ [5]

In another verse of the Holy Qur’an, whilst addressing the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Muslims, God Almighty states:

And bear patiently all that they say; and part with them in a decent manner.’ [6]

The third solution which the Holy Qur’an teaches us is to forgive such people as they may offend or carry out such things due to their lack of understanding, as God Almighty states:

Many of the People of the Book wish out of sheer envy from their own selves that, after you have believed, they could turn you again into disbelievers after the truth has become manifest to them. But forgive and turn away from them, till Allah brings about His decree. Surely, Allah has the power to do all that He wills.’ [7]

So it is clear, that in no way does Islam deem it acceptable to physically injure anyone, rather it teaches to avoid such people, to trust in Allah and to forgive them.

Practical Example of the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (sa) was also ridiculed and mocked during his own lifetime, yet he never resorted to violence.

The Holy Qur’an mentions a particular incident in the following words:

 ‘If we return to Medina, the one most honourable will surely drive out there from the one most mean’ .[8]

These words were uttered by the hypocrite Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul, when he publicly insulted the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). What was the reaction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)? Not only did he forgive him, but he also went on to lead his funeral prayer when he passed away a few years later.

Islam is strongly against hurting the feeling of others, but even in the case of one’s sentiments being injured, by no means does Islam condone resorting to violence in any way.

So, the Holy Qur’an very beautifully teaches Muslims how to react to such heinous actions. In fact, Islam teaches one to avoid replying to such mockeries even verbally let alone violently.

Guidance and Leadership of His Holiness, the Caliph (aba)

It is unfortunate that in such instances, a small fraction of so-called ‘Muslims’ resort to violent means which completely contradict the core teachings of Islam.

However, the world has been blessed with a Muslim leader, who is at the forefront of elucidating the true, peaceful message of Islam to the world. This leader is none other than the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslims Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masoor Ahmad (aba). Not only does he condemn such acts of violence, but he guides as to how such situations should be dealt with. On one occasion, His Holiness (aba) said,

Materialistic people are blind to faith and do not even refrain from mocking God Almighty, let alone the prophets. If we respond to the actions of the ignorant with ignorance also, it will only lead them to persist further in their actions. Therefore, God Almighty states that instead of responding to them you should pass by and distance yourself from such people who commit vain acts. Not only does socialising with such people or concurring with them make us sinful’. [9]

Whilst condemning the Westminster Terrorist Attacks in 2017, His Holiness (aba) said that it was an ‘affront to the teachings of Islam.’ His Holiness (aba) further stated:

It is up to Muslims to stand up and reject all forms of extremism and terrorism. Wherever and whenever such attacks take place they must be condemned in the strongest possible terms… It is the task of Ahmadi Muslims to show the true teachings of Islam which are of peace love, mercy and compassion.’ [10]

Only recently, there was another incident in Sweden where the Holy Qur’an was defiled and dishonoured by an anti-Islamic group. Unfortunately, some ‘Muslims’ took to the streets in violent fashion. Not only did His Holiness (aba) condemn this reaction, but he also said that rather than responding in such an un-Islamic manner, such opportunities should be taken advantage of in order to show the world the true, peaceful message of Islam. His Holiness (aba) said:

‘It is the duty of Ahmadi Muslims to introduce and exemplify the true and peaceful teachings of Islam in each and every city and town so that people understand the reality of our religion.’ [11]

This, in fact, is the reaction of the true Muslim. In today’s world, there is no one other than His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) who embodies and spreads the true message of Islam, in light of Qur’anic teachings, and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (sa). Thus, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community strives to spread this message, of peace, love, harmony, tolerance, patience and forbearance to the entire world.




[3] The Holy Qur’an 4:141

[4] The Holy Qur’an 33:49

[5] The Holy Qur’an 3:187

[6] The Holy Qur’an 73:11

[7] The Holy Qur’an 2:110

[8] The Holy Qur’an 63:9

[9] Friday Sermon 16th January 2015

[10] Friday Sermon 24th March 2017