Skip to comments.Viewpoint: Many Muslims 'do' condemn terrorism
Posted on 12/13/2005 12:42:48 PM PST by nickcarraway
FLORIDA -- It's true. Many Muslims do condemn terrorism - we just don't hear about it in the American news media.
Yet Americans continue to ask: "Why don't Muslims condemn terrorism? We keep waiting for the so-called moderates to speak out against violence and yet no one comes forward." A man in the audience asked me this question recently when I was invited to speak at a Unitarian Fellowship about what Arabs think about the US and Americans. I had just finished saying that many of the Arab people I interviewed for my book a year ago in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait had condemned fanatics like Osama Bin Laden.
Perhaps the man wasn't listening. And honestly, what if many Muslims condemn terrorism day in and day out? Will this make terrorism go away? I speak to the public several times a month and at half these events the same question is repeated.
I asked the gentleman if he had heard about the Fiqh Council of North America that had recently issued a public fatwa (religious decree) against terrorism. I asked him if he had heard about other prominent Muslim scholars who have taken public stands against terrorism. As always happens with people who ask these questions, he did not know of my examples.
It seems strange that many Americans keep asking a question originating four years ago by a few conservative talking heads and so-called experts. Perhaps this question has been parroted by TV commentators and reporters so much that we have stopped thinking for ourselves. But I believe that we can still think and find the truth on our own. If we try, we might get more answers than questions.
Perhaps we should stop placing blind faith in American news media and look to other sources, perhaps even the Internet for alternative reporting and commentary.
So why does the question persist? The answer is simple. How often do you see Muslims interviewed on American TV? A few here and there. But how many times do you watch TV shows where non-Muslims and non-Arabs talk about Islam and Arabs as if they were experts? Most of the time.
If you really want to know why you're not hearing about Muslims publicly condemning terrorism - ask the US media this question. Ask them why the images of Bin Laden and Zarqawi are better known to the average American than the face and name of Hamza Youssef. Why do such fanatics get more airtime than Youssef and other moderate American Muslim scholars and thinkers?
Ask why two local newspapers in southwest Florida did not cover a three-lecture series on Islam given by a Muslim Palestinian American woman in a Jewish synagogue. Is it because the exchange was civil? Is it because we disagreed amicably? Should we have thrown stones at each other to make the event worthy of coverage?
A year ago I spoke to a group of humanists who complained that the media refused to cover the event. No wonder people still ask me why American Muslims do not participate in interfaith dialogue. We do participate, but we receive little or no news media coverage.
My recent talk was interesting in many ways. A man said, "I agree with only 80 percent of what you said." I replied. "Great! My husband agrees with only 20 percent of what I say."
I was asked if I thought that US troops in Iraq should be withdrawn. "Yes, they should," I replied. "I would especially think so if I were a mother or father of a soldier."
Another man said, "Islam makes people violent because it is like Christianity where followers believe that they must evangelize and convert people into their own faith to be saved. We never hear of Hindu terrorists."
I reminded him of the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and her son Rajeev, and the horrors of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. None of them were Muslim. Would it be fair to condemn their faiths because of the actions of a few?
I asked the man where Judaism and Christianity would be today if Muslims were truly required by their faith to convert Jews and Christians. What were Muslims doing over the past 1,400 years? Not converting others to their faith.
The questions were pointed, thoughtful and challenging. "Did the US attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah cause more terrorism?" "Are the recent bombings in Jordan related to the US Army presence in Iraq?" "What do you think of Ahmed Chalabi's visit to Washington?" "Is it true that Arabs teach hatred of Americans in schools?" One woman asked me what I thought of the statement made by the president of Iran about wiping Israel off the map. Another asked, "If there is an independent Palestinian state, will Gaza survive?"
So you see - there are vibrant, inquisitive American minds wanting to know more and understand better. Unfortunately, such dialogues are not sensational news, so they become missed opportunities. Next time you wonder why you don't hear of Muslims condemning terrorism - ask the American media.
Samar Dahmash Jarrah is an American Arab Muslim woman writer who lives in Florida, USA. She is the author of the book Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts, published in May 2005 by Olive Branch books
What rubbish. Where are the huge Muslim public demonstrations on the Washington Mall, condemning terrorists who attack non-Muslims?
When are these Muslims going to take responsibility for being the enablers they are?
Yeah, the media is against them. Right. Like the media wouldn't jump all over themselves to report sucha demonstration as a way of discreditng the war in Iraq.
An Islamist wants to kill you.
A Muslim merely wants you dead.
Umm. Worshipping openly and vibrantly in churches and temples throughout the Arab world, as they did before the brutal rise of Islam?
Ooops. That's where Jews and Christians would be today if Muslims were NOT truly required by their faith to convert (not to mention slaughter and enslave) Jews and Christians.
Many silent Muslims I guess, I see no indication of this being so, no organized march to and support their alleged country, the USA. I know this is BS outside our country.
There are over one BILLION Mooselimbs.
They can't control a few thousand "extremists" because they WON'T.
Where are the huge Muslim public demonstrations on the Washington Mall, condemning terrorists who attack non-Muslims?
Forget it -- you will NEVER see it. Muslims that come here, do not come here to be Americans. Throw them all out, IMHO. Nothing but pure trouble. Just look around the world...no contest.
We condemn terrorism the same way the Dems do: by attacking US military efforts to thwart them, send them money, make major Hollywood features showing their plight, etc...
Leave it to a journalist to think that condemning something is the same as acting to stop it.
I'm sorry modern journalists. But words no longer mean squat to me. Actions do. Until I see the muslim community take steps to stop these acts, I will consider them complicit in them.
What we consider terrorism, Muslims consider Allah's command to the faithful.
What about Princeton's University attempt to quash the former terrorists' speech.
Not, immediately, but it would be one helluva start that's long overdue.
As always happens with people who ask these questions, he did not know of my examples.
Gee, howz 'bout not using obscure examples then.
Well it's nice that these articles claim there are some condemning it. Too bad none of us seems to remember ever seeing them. I second the views of everyone else saying we should have been seeing demonstrations on the mall and such.
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