Why do individual atrocities prompt some Muslims’ collective guilt?
Swaleh Ahmed, the Imam of Woolwich Mosque, speaks to the media after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in South London, Britain 24 May 2013. EPA/STR
“Please don’t let it be a Muslim!” This thought races through the minds of many Muslims as soon as they hear about attacks like the Boston bombing and most recently the Woolwich machete killing. It is often followed by a sense of collective guilt and official condemnation by leaders within the Muslim community. But why is this not the case with any other religion, group or race? And why do some Muslims feel it necessary to apologise for atrocities committed by individuals who happen to be of the same faith?