June 30, 2016

Where does this leave American Muslim leaders who oppose the oppression of the Muslim people and who want to fight terrorism? In the increasingly strident rhetoric of this war, we may be considered traitors by both sides.

Nevertheless, we must continue to speak. We have to speak against oppressive interpretations of Islam and against emotional, superficial, and violent apocalyptic depictions of a world divided. And in our desire to show ourselves to be patriotic Americans, we cannot suppress our criticisms of the United States when we have them.

We have to do this, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because if we do not, the Muslim world will remain deaf to our arguments that peaceful change is possible, and that revolt and ensuing lawlessness almost always cause the greatest harm to the people.

It is in the best interest of the United States that we be permitted to continue to speak. In many parts of the world, those who speak out against corruption and unfair government policies are jailed, tortured, and killed. In such circumstances, very few people--only those who are willing to risk losing their property, their families, their security, and their lives--will continue to speak out. Only the radicals will remain.