Fr. Samir: This too is Islam. The video of the beheading of a young Tunisian convert
Beirut (AsiaNews) - In recent days, AsiaNews received a chilling video which shows the beheading of a young Tunisian accused of apostasy because he was a Muslim convert to Christianity. In the video posted on Youtube, some masked people brandish a knife ready to kill a young man lying on the ground, his face held motionless. After the cry of some ritual prayers, and whisper a few words of the young man held on the ground (a prayer), one of the men with their faces hidden slits his throat while blood flows relentlessly, in a long and horrible scene. Finally his head is presented as a trophy.
Originally the video was shown on television of "Egypt Today" (Misr
al-Yawm). "Egypt Today" is a well known and respected newspaper, even
with on-line edition in Arabic.
The person that posted and commented on this video, Tawfik 'Okasha, is a well known and serious journalist. Currently he is subject to attacks and condemnations from various Islamic groups (the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi) because he is publically critical of fanatic Islam.
The video of the beheading is preceded by a warning from Okasha, who advises against ots viewing if people are sensitive, especially for children, girls, women.
Eventually, Okasha says: My brothers, you think that this is Islam? You are giving bad publicity to our religion. This film is seen in Europe and America, Germany, France, England and elsewhere. This is the image that we are giving of ourselves.
Is the video authentic?
One wonders about the authenticity of the images.
The prayers that you hear in the background while the act is being carried out are authentic, well-known formulas of insults against anyone who leaves Islam; oaths made to God against apostates, against unbelievers, and all those who are held to be enemies of Islam.
Tawfik Oshaka is certainly authentic and confirms his line to defend Islam against the extremists. Precisely for this reason he is being targeted by extremists. Okasha believes in the veracity of the video and released it.
I do not have the skills to accurately verify the authenticity. The sequence in which the young apostate is slain and beheaded, to the point where his head is brandished in triumph seems to have no breaks. But it is striking that man about to be killed remains so quiet, without any reaction, whispering a few words, without moving.
Cruelty is inherent to terrorism
What is surprising, however, is that a simple knife is used for the beheading which lasts for almost a full two minutes, increasing the spectators horror. Usually, the execution of apostates is handled by specialized executioners with a sharp sword, in a clean blow.
The video is definitely made to terrorize anyone who wants to become a Christian.
It is important to note that the video was released not by anti-Islamic groups and individuals, but by people who want to defend Islam, accusing the fundamentalists.
Okasha's comment is "What you see is not Islam and is not acceptable." His comment is thus pro-Muslim and anti-terrorist.
The savage brutality of Islamic terrorists shown in the video is not surprising: we have sometimes seen similar executions with videos from Iraq. Even the prayers that you hear recited by the Imam are real, which they know by heart, not a literary or theatrical declamation.
The surprise attribution to Tunisia
There are no data to accurately determine that the video is from Tunisia. Especially since this country is one of the most liberal in terms of Islam and the same Ennhada, the Muslim Brotherhood party now in power, wants to promote a very tolerant image.
On the other hand, the Islamists have now become an international group capable of infiltrating anywhere. They are also in Syria, mingled among the opposition that has declared a "holy war" against Assad. Just as we saw them in Libya, mixed with the opposition against Gaddafi. Islamic radicalism and terrorism have become an international movement.
Radical and fanatical Islam has always done these things. In Algeria, in the 90s they did terrible things, killing more than 100 thousand people. They ripped open pregnant women to kill the child!
A Muslim minority that ruins the image of Islam
We decided to publish the link to the video - experiencing the cruelty of the sequences - because these acts give the image of a Muslim minority that ruins the whole Islamic community. The Islamophobia of which the Muslims often complain, is caused by such things. As long as moderate Muslims fail to protest against these acts, Islam will always be associated with violence.
Of course, there are many Muslims who reject these inhumane acts, and most likely the majority rejects them. But words of protest are not enough! It takes visible action to counter these spectacular and dramatic episodes. Mass, well-organized demonstrations, are needed. Islam and authentic humanists must clearly demonstrate to everyone that Islam has nothing to do with this gratuitous and unheard of violence!
But we must also reflect on the relationship between Islam and violence
This violence does not represent the majority of Islam. Far from it! But it's also true that violence has its seed in the Koran, and finds life of Muhammad and his depredations ... which are sometimes very violent.
Muslims must condemn this violence, not just by saying "but this is not Islam." Unfortunately, even that is Islam and found in the Koran. There is actually a seed of violence within Islam and the Koran, which today is taken up by the radical tendencies. Every radical group has its imam, issuing fatwas authorizing such violence, fatwas based on Islamic tradition. And the terrorists act believing that they are worshiping God!
Islam needs, like all religions, to be rethought!
Perhaps in the seventh century, such violence was understandable, among people who lived in the desert. But now it must be condemned and the religious center of Islam saved.
Even the Bible has violent passages in the Old Testament. And I remember the great biblical scholar, the current Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, had written to denounce the violence done in the name of God and the Bible.
But none of us Christians, although we recognize the Old Testament as a revealed text, would dream of applying what is written in some of those books to the letter. It would be unacceptable.
If no one says anything, let alone Muslims, the seed of violence will grow. The rejection of violence must be absolute and radical, for all those who believe in God, for all those who believe in man, in the name of God and in the name of humanism!
Warning: The images of the video referenced above may offend your sensibilities.
Here is a link with video from "Egypt Today":