God's Plan Includes All Faiths
Could we all just take a big, deep breath before we resume screaming at each other?
It was a particularly gruesome discovery last month: an entire family of Coptic Christians from Egypt was found murdered in their home in Jersey City.
The rumors began to fly: all had been tied up, gagged, and their throats were slit. According to some reports, Sylvia Armanious, 15, had her throat slit "in line with Qur'an 47:4." Prior to the murders, Hossam Amranious, the father, was apparently warned by Muslim members of an internet chat room: "You'd better stop this bull-- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you." Authorities, they say, are trying to play down the apparent evidence that this was an "Islamic" killing because they are worried about inciting further violence between Muslims and Christians.
What's more, bloggers on the website www.jihadwatch.org stated: "The Armanious family had inspired several Muslims to convert to Christianity--or thought they had. These converts were actually practicing taqiyya, or religious deception, pretending to be friends of these Christians in order to strengthen themselves against them." I even received an email from a friend who told me, "The police and prosecutor are 'very scared' of this case. The Muslim community in Jersey City is putting enormous pressure on City Hall to soft-pedal the case."
Could we all please take a big, deep breath? This most unfortunate case highlights several important points. First, this is a horrible event; it was a particularly sad day for me as a Muslim and an American of Egyptian ancestry. No family should be murdered in the manner of the Armanious family.
Second, the authorities should exhaust every effort at finding the monsters who did this. No one should be "afraid" if the perpetrators turn out to be Muslim. This sort of brutality does not belong in America, let alone the American Muslim community.
Nevertheless, we must also not jump to conclusions about those responsible for the murder. We must be patient and wait for the authorities to sort out the facts. And some of these facts have already been explained: autopsy results revealed that the family's throats had not been slit; Sylvia's cross tattoo was not mutilated, as was first claimed. I am not saying that being stabbed in the neck is any better. I'm simply saying we must wait for the facts.
Remember Hesham Mohamed Hedayet, the LAX shooter of July 2002? Many claimed it was a "terror attack," especially since the victims were working at the ticket counter of El Al, the Israeli airline. Eventually we learned that the shooting was motivated by his personal financial problems--not terrorism.