Boston Marathon, Terrorism, and President Obama

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In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon, President Obama stated: "Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror."
Mr. President, I wonder if you realize how right you are.
Mr. President, I wonder if you realize what that means when we are the ones dropping bombs on civilians in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan.

  • Pingback: “Boston Marathon, Terrorism, and President Obama” – by Dr. Safi | adventuresofsufigirl()

  • Mehdi Emamian

    Thank you Omid! This is very powerful.


  • Karl Kuekes

    First let me say that I agree with you, on so many things you’ve written above. As we in the USA look towards Boston we should not forget the turmoil that occurs overseas every day. I agree that US bombs and drone strikes are just as terrible and life changing to those they effect as the bombs in Boston are to us. However that being said, I hope, with all my heart, that the US is not “targeting” civilians, especially children. The keyword in his phrasing is “targeting.” The bombs set off in Boston were set to kill or injure no one but innocent civilians. The bombs the USA sends overseas, hopefully, are not meant for civilians, but for the terrorists that plan attacks against the United States. Hopefully the world can just learn to get along, and the evil people who plan and execute these attacks will be brought to justice, before more innocent lives are lost, in Boston, Yemen, Pakistan, or anywhere in the world.

  • Susan

    Powerful piece and speaking for myself, it is not that I am comparing tragedies or keeping score on a table of suffering. It is when Bostons happen, I keep thinking of a dear friend of mine. Who mentioned in passing and not explicitly because he wanted to forget, seeing the aftermath of drone attacks. And I keep thinking, with all the saturation media on this terrible event, how he and others feel… their daily occurance passes by without fanfare.
    Bless you Dr Safi for posting the names; our little souls to be mourned and to be honoured.

  • Pari

    Thank you for speaking from Many of our hearts, hope and pray for more vocals and literary strengths like yours to come through inshallah, my prayers to All children of god who have been through, violence,suffering,and pain

  • President Obama,
    We gave you hospitality when you were a student and our mothers enabled you to cook Keema and Daal! What a shame your drones are killing our children. you have lost the war in Afghanistan. You should admit it. Instead, you have transformed millions of innocent, lovable Americans into Pauper. Have you read writings of General Giap? Do you know Stalin? No, it seems you don’t know how war is fought.

  • Marwah Jantjies

    Shukran for being the voice of all us muslims around the globe!

  • jim dene

    There is a huge difference – the cause of the deaths in the ME is as a result of taliban etc using civilians as shields – thereby point your fingers at the cowardice of your own people – they are the ones that hide out like vermin amoungst the civilians seeking protection – cowards

  • Anna

    ” the US is not “targeting” civilians, especially children. The keyword in his phrasing is “targeting.” The bombs set off in Boston were set to kill or injure no one but innocent civilians.”

  • Sharaaz Khan

    Dear Prof. Safi,

    Thank you for describing the meaning of empathy to our President.

  • Farid Benfeghoul

    Dear Omid,

    Parents have children, these children are brothers and sisters, and (normally) feel each other‘s pain. If this positive syllogism is true for real kinship, it turns, however, into a tragically negative one, when it comes to God’s children: They are NOT brothers and sisters, and do NOT behave like they were. They are crowds behaving according to what the ego recognizes – on a microlevel or a macrolevel – as “Me” and “Mine”. This is the sad human condition that we all share, the exception(s) confirming the rule. The crucial question is when are we going to stop playing on this primitive level, and start to respond to that Love pulsating – unrecognized – with every breath, and every heart beat, in everyone.

    It seems that your article hat put the finger on an eternally sore spot. We are still far away from the critical mass needed for a collective spiritual awakening that promises to bring us real compassion for the suffering.

    All the best,


  • Qasim

    About targeting civilians or not, isn’t there overwhelming evidence available to decision makers in White House and Pentagon that their attacks from drones and their forces in Afghanistan are killing a large number of innocent people of all ages.

  • afroz rasheed

    The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.

  • John

    That bomb was not meant for civilians it just exploded thinking all Americans are in army. Bombs don’t have brains regardless what they were targeted at. I am not happy with the innocent killed anywhere but just I lost sympathy for Yanks.

  • Faiza

    Just because USA is not “targeting” the kids, women and elderly in these countries, does it make the act of bombing ok? Or a lesser tragedy? Or perhaps it is ok to have the “casualties of war” as long as “we” are safe? No!! My brother in humanity. It is not a good enough excuse. No amount of excuse or explanation could make it “ok”.

  • Faiza

    Just because USA is not “targeting” the kids, women and elderly in these countries, does it make the act of bombing ok? Or a lesser tragedy? Or perhaps it is ok to have the “casualties of war” as long as “we” are safe? No!! My brother in humanity. It is not a good enough excuse. No amount of excuse or explanation could make it “ok”.

  • Faiza

    Jim Dene:
    Not true. ” the targets” might be living among the civilians/innocents just like the bombers of boston marathon were living among USA citizens. Did Obama sent an air missile in the area to “clear” it off? No!! They are keeping the innocents safe and going on a major human hunt not killing even an Animal in the act. So how so you justify their act of random or lets say ” not so random” bombing in the HEAVILY poplulated areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. please think about it. All humans are EQUAL, that’s what America was built on. We live and breathe just like anyone else in the world. We have emotions, we hurt and bleed just like an American. Our mothers and family feel the same loss and unbearable pain, just like a human being in USA.

  • Buzz

    American and coalition forces do not target civilians and especially children. What several of you fail to mention is that Taliban and other islamist combatants use villages and mosque as cover after an attack against American and coalition forces expecting “Rules of engagement” to save them. The message should be for the islamist combatants to stop using women and children as shields.

  • Sam

    A very well written piece. Just imagine the amount of pain, anger, sorrow, and hatred the death of these children builds in the hearts of their parents and relatives. Once I was warned that your child is like your heart walking outside your body, so be ready for the pain that comes with any harm to them. In the last couple years several people in the States have come out and harmed a large number of people…including universities and cinemas…and most of them were declared to be mentally unstable. But imagine…if your mother, father, child, sibling became a part of collateral damage due to drone attacks..will you accept it and sit at home? You do not have to be mentally unstable to retaliate by committing the same horrendous acts. May it be a life in the US, Pakistan, Afghanistan…each life is worth the same and we will have to answer to God one day for each life we took in the name of religion and war. I hope people learn how to forgive..and maybe one day we will live in peace!

  • luqman

    they are dead…and we all will be one day…

  • Covkid

    Do you think the US Gov actually targets civilians, in the same way these people targeted women and children ? If you do, then you really ought to act with your principles and leave this rotten country. Can I suggest a country that acts on Islamic principles like Saudi or Iran.
    It is not only the Christian West that Islam finds itself in conflict with. As mentioned above it is African Christianity, Hinduism in India and Buddhism in Burma. Perhaps Muslims need to take a look at themselves, ask themselves about Mo’ and Aisha (how old was she ?), Ali (maybe the Shi’ites are right ?), apostates (can you not engage in a competition of ideas without killing people who disagree with you ?) and whether the Kaaba is a meteorite that was worshiped pre Islam ?

  • Chris

    “My hope and prayer is that the cry of my own heart is not read as an attempt to engage in a calculus of suffering (“my people have suffered more than your people”, etc.) but rather a passionate plea to realize that we are all children of the same God, that each of our lives all over this small planet is sacred and sacrosanct.”

    Omid, by listing all the names at the end of your article I think you clearly do what you say you intended not to do. Ramesh’s reply begins this diversion. I also feel the differences in intent, time, manner and place between the Boston and Afghanistan tragedies are too evident for you to attempt to ignore so easily.

  • Jeff

    I detest that this president has chosen the coward’s way of dealing with the insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. However, here is the fundamental difference between what the U.S. does and what cowardly terrorists do. The terrorists DELIBERATELY target innocent civilians. The U.S. targets guilty terrorists who hide among women and children. We remove, whenever possible, women and children from war zones. Islamic terrorists purposefully target them. We put our military installations away from civilian areas. We saw in Iraq where Sadaam Hussein put his military installations in heavily populated civilian areas. We weep when we kill innocents with the guilty. Terrorists and their supporters rejoice when innocents are killed. BIG DIFFERENCE!

  • Chris

    Check out: Feiz Mohammad…….!

  • Rossco

    The author of this piece doesn’t answer the question that he poses: What would Muhammad do?

    I am no scholar but isn’t Muhammad responsible for saying or teaching that that all non muslims are infadels and must be conquered? Haven’t there been many wars in the past where muslims did just that?

    Other religions believe that they are preaching the truth also but they are not doing it at the point of a gun. At least not now.

    Is it not true that muslim societies treat women badly? They do not give them the same rights as men. They can’t do many of the things that men get to do. They are not allowed to be educated, can’t vote and must be almost totally covered up when they are in public. Why are they treated this way?

    Does God want this?

    Did Muhammad teach this?

    Seems to me that Muslim society is the one that needs to change.

    Yah, we have our share of problems in the west but we believe that all men are created equal and that everyone should have the right to the pursuit of happiness.

    Ok so muslims support other muslims, like Jews support other jews, and christians support christians etc. They have the right to believe whatever Muhammad teaches, but they have no right to try and over throw all religions and make everyone in the world a muslim by force.

    Isn’t that what they believe? Isn’t that why there is terorism?

    What would Muhammad do?

    I am not sure but it feels to me that he is the one responsible because the extreme actions taken by some of his followers. They do it in his name.

    Christians may think that they are ight and they may hope and pray that the whole world will some day be christian. But I don’t believe that Jesus would want that to happen if the only way it could be achieved was through TARGETING innocent people and maiming and killing them.

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  • Nouman Qureshi

    What’s the point of explaining it to those humans who are too ignorant and arrogant in their ways. I’m a peace loving person but I won’t bend over for the acceptance of the original cowards. Pathetic pathological lairs these American cowards (the decision makers).

  • Nouman Qureshi

    There are no Christians hated or bombed in Pakistan. Different the case with Jews. But still not as worse as the Americans do with the Muslims and Vietnamese, Burmans, Natives, Africans from the beginning of the century. You guys are cowards and need to attack a people for national unity. Face the facts and become humans already. cheers