City of Brass

City of Brass

the silence libel: Muslims do not need to condemn

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Patheos blogger Dan Peterson has a moving and well-intentioned post in which he exhorts the Muslim American community to speak more loudly and denounce terrorism:

But you have to speak up more loudly. Others — I promise you this, from innumerable conversations and questions after lectures, over years — are not hearing your denunciations of the extremists. They aren’t aware of your efforts to distance yourselves from these terrible acts of bloodshed and oppression. Your message isn’t getting out. You need to speak louder and more clearly, until it’s heard.

I implore you, as a community, to rise up and denounce these acts. If you’ve already done it, do it again. Louder. Make your disgust at these abuses of your faith unmistakably clear, unavoidably heard. Not only by non-Muslims but by that minority of extremists within the Muslim community who have made Islam a term of horror and revulsion to far too many people worldwide.

Reading his post in full it is clear that his heart is in the right place, but he has unwittingly recycled what I call “the silence libel”, which has 3 parts:

  1. the assertion that Muslims do not sufficiently condemn the abuses of terrorism in the name of Islam,
  2. the implication that Muslims have a greater responsibility for the acts of their co-religionists than do members of other religions,
  3. the idea that Islam is particularly unique in history as a faith which drives people to commit acts of evil.

All three of these are false.

I am not inclined to begin a debate on points 2 and 3 as I think that they are outside the scope of the conversation that Dan is trying to begin, though I do think that anyone invoking the silence libel needs to be aware of the context they are (willingly or unwittingly) imposing by their assertion of point 1.

As for point 1, I have addressed this before as have many other muslim bloggers, but it seems we must address it once again. The evidence is tremendous and exhaustive that muslims have indeed condemned. For example, 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. Numerous muslim organizations have also sprung up, including the Free Muslim Coalition and Muslims Against Terrorism.

To be blunt, these repeated calls for Muslims to make a grand showing against terror amounts to a loyalty test, with all the disquieting implications that they represent.

The truth is that Muslims do much better than condemn – we are model citizens who live our lives and contribute to our communities like everyone else. That’s not “doing nothing” as the silence libel implies:

What looks on the face of things to be doing nothing – living our lives as loyal citizens, teaching our kids the true universal values of peace and tolerance of Islam, striving to contribute in a civic sense to our communities, muslim and non-muslim alike – is actually doing Something, a great deal of something.

When a muslim American calls themselves a moderate muslim, that is doing something – its emphasizing the extremism of the jihadists’ claim to faith. When we argue against the term Islamofascism, it’s doing something – it’s objecting to giving the fascists the use f the term Islamic to cloak their actions. When we object to racial profiling and the increased curtailing of our rights and civil liberties, that is doing something – it is fighting for the very ideals of freedom that the terrorists would deny all of us.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass/2008/09/lets-do-something.html

Even more important, the Muslim American community has been an integral part of the domestic law enforcement and vigilance effort against home-grown terror. Again, there is tremendous data to support the fact that Muslims have repeatedly acted to prevent terror:

Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials to prevent nearly 2 out of every 5 Al-Qaeda plots threatening the United States since 9/11. Muslim communities helped law enforcement prevent 1 out of every 2 of all Al-Qaeda related plots threatening the U.S. since the December 2009 “underwear bomber” plot. This is an important parallel trend to the recent spike of arrests. It also highlights the importance of partnering with society through good relations and community oriented policing.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass/2012/02/muslim-informants-prevent-domestic-terror-the-data.html

(See my original post for a detailed list of all the terror plots in which muslim communities acted to disrupt and defeat).

The bottom line is that instead of recycling the silence libel and putting the onus on Muslims to condemn, non-Muslims would be better served by helping to publicize the many ways in which Muslim Americans combat terror, by condemnation as well as by cooperation with authorities and just living their lives as law-abiding citizens and members of our civic communities.

Related: my post Muslims condemn terror, again and again, Let’s Do Something, lanat upon the hirabists, and Muslim informants prevent terror: the data

Vote now in the 10th Annual Brass Crescent Awards!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What are the Brass Crescent Awards?

Founded in 2004 by myself and Shahed Amanullah, the Brass Crescent Awards are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Islamsphere is forging a new synthesis of Islam and modernity, and is the intellectual heir to the traditions of philosophy and learning that was once the hallmark of Islamic civilization – a heritage scarcely recognizable today in the Islamic world after a century’s ravages of colonialism, tyrants, and religious fundamentalism. We believe that Islam transcends history, and we are forging history anew for tomorrow’s Islam. These awards are a means to honor ourselves and celebrate our nascent community, and promote its growth.

So how do I vote?

Just visit BrassCrescent.org and fill out the handy online form!

What are the categories?

BEST MUSLIM BLOG: This category honors the most indispensable, Muslim-authored (single-author) blog there is. Period.

BEST MEDIA STREAM: People are increasingly expressing themselves through social multimedia feeds like Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Flickr and more. Who is doing a good job of mastering this medium?

BEST FEMALE BLOGGER: The woman’s voice in Islam is equal to the man’s, and in the Islamsphere we seek to make sure the female perspective is highlighted and given its rightful due. Which (single-author) Muslim woman’s blog has done the most to explore the role that women play within Islam and society?

BEST GROUP BLOG: What multiple author blog in the Islamsphere has the best diversity of writers and the most interesting debate on Muslim issues?

FUNNIEST BLOGGER: Which blogger gets their point across by using humor in the most effective way?

BEST NEW BLOG: Which blog is a true diamond in the rough, one that everyone should be reading but who most just haven’t heard of (yet)?

BEST NON-MUSLIM BLOGGER: Which blog written by a non-Muslim is most respectful of Islam and seeks genuine dialogue with Muslims?

BEST POST OR SERIES: Which single post or group of posts in the Islamsphere was the most original and important, above all the others?

BEST REGIONAL BLOG: The Islamsphere is truly a global phenomenon. Different regions of the world all have unique perspectives on faith and politics that should be recognized and celebrated. What blogs or bloggers are the best voice of their people and their cultures?

BEST WRITER: Who is the most stimulating, insightful, and philosophically wise among us? This category is intended to highlight a blogger who may not post daily, but when they do post, they really make an impact.

BEST TWEETER: What Muslim voice on Twitter provides the most informative and entertaining retweets, links, and/or witticisms in 140 characters or less?

Hey, my blog is nominated! How do I promote the Awards and get votes?

Blog about it! Or follow us on Twitter! Like us on Facebook! Subscribe to our subreddit, /r/brasscrescent! and don’t forget to vote for yourself too!

beautiful crescent moon and evening star

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As Muslims, we are instructed in the Qur’an to contemplate the beauty of Creation…

To Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth; and Allah hath power over all things.

Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day,- there are indeed Signs for men of understanding,-

Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.

(Qur’an 3:189-191)

…and fittingly, nowhere is the majesty of Allah more apparent than in the heavens:

MoonVenusArg_2013_09_08_2169_16s950

(photo from Astronomy Photo of the Day, September 8th 2013)

Madonna is studying the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla
Madonna posted this photo to her Facebook page with the caption, "The Revolution of Love is on…Inshallah"

Madonna posted this photo to her Facebook page with the caption, “The Revolution of Love is on…Inshallah”

I am surprised no one else caught this – From an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit, pop queen Madonna let this interesting tidbit drop:

madonna-quran

This seems to be a natural progression for her. Her early music was heavily influenced by her Catholic upbringing, and in recent years she famously studied Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism, analogous to Islamic Sufism). Her life is indeed a mystery. The photo from her Facebook account above, where she wears a chain-mail niqab, suggests her motives and attitude towards Islam remain… veiled. Maybe we can start calling her the Immaterial Girl?

(Related: which celebrities have and have not converted to Islam?)

Previous Posts

Video: (muslim) Mehdi Hasan interviews (atheist) Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union
This is an excellent debate between the most emphatic atheist of our time, Richard Dawkins, and political journalist Mehdi Hasan. Hasan is brilliantly prepared for the debate and treats Dawkins with utmost respect, but methodically defends belief and religion as a force for good. https://www.you

posted 11:46:28am Apr. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Two Bohras come to aid of Frenchwoman attacked in Mumbai
In the past two months I've traveled to India three times, to attend the funeral and other events after the passing of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (ra). This quite shocking story happened in the Fort area of Mumbai, which is quite close to where I spent much of my time and is considered one of the b

posted 6:20:59pm Mar. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Amidst the grief, solace in the succession of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani The forty day period of mourning has now elapsed, but the profound sadness at the loss of the beloved head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a spiritual mo

posted 9:48:33am Mar. 16, 2014 | read full post »

NYPD's illegal spying on Muslims was legal, says legal system
This is profoundly disappointing but not entirely unexpected: In a decision filed Thursday in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismisse

posted 12:44:10pm Feb. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Valentine's Day and Islam - the virtues of mohabbat (love)
Happy Valentine's Day! I am biased towards appreciating Valentine's Day not just for it's Gujarati origins but also because it's my birthday. However, not all Muslims share my appreciation. Here's a typical example: In its official Friday sermon text distributed to mosques in the Muslim-major

posted 6:04:27am Feb. 14, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.