City of Brass

City of Brass


muslims condemn terror… again and again

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s a shame that for many muslims, the anniversary of 9/11 is an occasion to retreat into a defensive posture, rather than stand proudly alongside our fellow Americans with head unbowed to the threat that faces us all. One of the reasons for this is the refrain often heard that muslims do not condemn terrorism, even though it’s easily refuted and utterly wrong. I call this the “silence libel”.

The evidence is clear that muslim-americans as a group are loyal, patriotic citizens who disavow extremism.  Certainly there are individual exceptions, just as with any ethnic or religious subgroup in the US you will find whack-jobs and nutcases. But for the average muslim american, it’s insulting to be asked whether they support terror – it’s an impolite question because we deserve as much benefit of the doubt as anyone else.

Right here at Beliefnet, there’s a profile of ordinary muslim Americans who eloquently condemn terrorism in their own words. There’s also this exhaustive list of condemnations by individuals and muslim organizations compiled by Al-Muhajabah, one of the earliest muslim female bloggers. A similarly thorough list of condemnations has been compiled by The American Muslim magazine, as has another by Islam for Today. Numerous muslim organizations have also sprung up, including the Free Muslim Coalition and Muslims Against Terrorism.

And yet, muslims are still taken to task for “silence”.

Another variant of the silence libel is to ask, why don’t muslims march on Washington to demonstrate their opposition to terrorism in the name of their faith? Surely, the argument goes, muslim claims to be incensed over the supposed “hijacking” of their holy and sacred faith, should be backed by actions, not words. But this is nothing more than a loyalty test in disguise – no other subgroup in American culture is held to such a standard of expectation. My friend Shahed Amanullah addressed the question directly in his essay, “What would marches against extremism achieve?” Excerpt:

Muslims are understandably wary of any public displays of our anger
toward extremism. For one, such a display would reinforce a tired
stereotype: the “Rage Boy” Muslim who can find expression only by
pouring into the streets.

But the biggest reason behind a reluctance to march is that many
Muslims see it as a setup for failure. Even if a march drew tens of
thousands, would that mean that only those marching oppose terrorism?
In the current climate of suspicion, the rest of the 2 million to 3
million Muslim-Americans would be portrayed as pro-terror.

Take the demoralizing effect of years of suspicion, alienation and
hostility that have been absorbed by Muslims in our role as a proxy for
those “over there”; work in the geographic spread of Muslims in the
U.S.-we have no Muslim ghettos like the ones in Europe; and combine
that with a lack of the organizing skills needed to pull off a
demonstration, and you can easily see why such an event is doomed.

A weak turnout would confirm for some the presence of a Muslim “fifth
column” in the United States. The cycle of mistrust and fear would
worsen.

But if one still wishes to see mass protests against extremism by
Muslims-well, they have already happened, usually in response to tragic
attacks. After all, Muslims themselves are still the most likely to be
terror victims, whether it is in Bali or Baghdad.

So, too, have authoritative scholars issued rulings against the use of
political violence. But these actions have occurred in Muslim-majority
countries such as Morocco, Turkey and Pakistan. And yet the violence
continues.

The sad truth is that hardened extremists are immune to this kind of pressure, and deep down, we all know it.

The muslim-American community is in fact fighting extremism every day, in a far more meaningful way than any march or endless condemnations upon demand. Instead, we are being good citizens, running businesses, working in professional fields, and raising our children to be loyal and patriotic citizens of this country we all love, to which we arrived as immigrants, lured by the promise unique to America that anyone can come here and succeed. We are the American dream, and we don’t need to prove it to anyone.



  • Susan

    Yes, but polls show that most Muslims beleive that the Israel was behind the WTC attack. This is the sort of antisemitism that originally came from Christian Europe, but it now pervades the Muslim and Arab world. Irshad Manji was thrown out of her Muslim school not because of her views on Islam, but because she didn’t believe that The Protocols of the Elders of Zions were true. The Arab News printed an editorial written by David Duke. I could fill pages with examples like this.

  • David

    [Dave, your comment is a slander and an attack and is not appropriate.]

  • Rebecca

    [Rebecca, I appreciate what you are trying to do but this is a topic that is divisive and can lead only to further ill-will. I apologize but since I deleted Dav'e comment its only fair to remove yours as well.]

  • Aziz

    Susan, as it happens I have a post coming up about that. Its not true that most muslims worldwide blame Israel, though a significant fraction do. See here for details:
    http://talkislam.info/2008/09/11/world-opinion-about-911/
    (read that graph carefully)

  • Wakas Mir

    Very nice entry.. I do feel as a Muslim living in Norway as well we are kind of put in a position that we really HAVE to prove that we condemn the attacks. And strangely enough my brother I just put up a petition just today and here I am on your entry :) http://ireallydontcareanymore.com/

  • taka

    It’s not entirely suprising that a lot of Muslisms don’t understand the reallty behind 9/11. Most of them get their news from state controlled media in dictatorial countries which, ironically we support for a variety of short sighted reasons.
    Bad governments around the world love to use the media to distract from their own corruption ineptness (the US (Republicans and Democrats) included). Take the protests over the infamous cartoons. In the grand scheme, individual governments do far more aggregious things that are equally if not more offensive. Yet those events are not covered by local media since that we bring pressure against the government. Up pops a convenient controversy overseas, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a nice distraction.
    Anyway, back to the main point of expecting Muslims to condemn all acts of terrorism (or by ommission of condemnation, endorsement of said acts).
    Do we expect all white males to condemn every act of rape committed by a white male? Should all condemn all acts committed by one (or several) members of that same minority group? It’s an absurd expectation.
    My two cents…

  • Abdullah Mujahid

    As Salaamu Alaikum Ramadan Khareem. I agree, we should make our voices heard in protest against extremist. Were as much victim as everyone else,not every muslim believes hurting innocent people does any good,in fact it contridict our faith. No war is good for anyone unless your attack and even then to defend yourself against an enemy must be done under strict code of honor and diginity. So we must defend the weak against the strong, even those who are not muslims deserve protect agains anyone who attack them. We muslims here in America native born or migrated would defend America against any enemy as America has provided us with freedom of religion and speech. So America deserves our support in defence against terrorism. Many people disguise themselves as muslims and take our faith as a means to do their will. So we are as much as victim as this good country.

  • agnes

    Maybe if you denounced Islamic inspired terrorism as loudly and vociferously has you denounce Zionism, Jews or whatever, we would believe you.

  • Mr.Fitnah

    Many muslims like to say “Islam forbids the killing of innocent people”, The fact remains upon thorough examination of the Quran and ahadith Only muslims can be considered innocent.
    it is absurd for muslims to renounce terror when Mohammad proclaimed he had been “made victorious with terror”, and he is the example for muslims to follow if they wish to see allah in the after life.
    The concocted defenses muslims like to use ,only work with those who are ignorant of what specifically Islamic scripture says.

  • Muslim

    Mr.Fitna, do a bit more reading and ask an Imam. Islam would not have been followed by us all if it was even a tiny bit violent ok. Don’t underestimate others and feel that what you are following is peaceful while others are all terrorists..

  • MymnEmemank

    57079…..9483

  • http://www.idealplus.com/cabbage-soup-diet CaritaPluemerx

    Excellent learn, I simply passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on that.

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  • TiefTypeRef

    ? ??? ????? ??????? :)

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