The NY Times is running a Room For Debate on how Muslims should respond to the threat of Muslim extremism entitled Do Muslims Need to Defend Their Faith Against Extremists? Many of the answers are interesting, no more than that of Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and the national advocacy director of the National Network for Arab American Communities.
I am a New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn. I am a civil rights activist. I am a mother. I also happen to be Muslim, a faith that represents a quarter of the world’s population. My faith unequivocally condemns groups like ISIS, and while I stand with every other American and 1.7 billion other Muslims in that condemnation, we must stop misrepresenting the problem with my faith.
I am horrified by these attacks, but not because I am Muslim. I am horrified because I am human. By constantly apologizing and denouncing these attacks, Muslims reinforce the misguided public perception that they are connected to ISIS through the same basic ideology, when in fact they have nothing in common at all.
We do not expect Buddhists to apologize as Buddhist extremists massacre Muslims in Burma or for their human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. I also don’t ask Christians to apologize for the genocide that Bosnian Muslims faced less than two decades ago at the hands of Christian Serbs, or for the Lord’s Resistance Army and Christian militias who have killed tens of thousands of civilians and ethnically cleansed Muslims throughout Uganda, the Congo and Central African Republic. Nor do I ask every white American to apologize for hate crimes committed by self-proclaimed White Christian supremacist groups like the Klu Klux Klan. All of us instead recognize that religious fanatics perpetuate violent acts for their own deranged reasons.
Why is an apology only expected of Muslims?
Well, now, those are very interesting comparisons. The problem is that this relies on a false premise, that Muslims who aren’t extremists need to provide an apology. Alas, no one is asking for an apology. What has been asked of the non-extremist Muslims is for them to repudiate the Muslims who practice an extremist form if Islam and stand up against the extremists, much like White Christians stood up against the KKK and repudiated them. How Buddhists stood up against those in Burma and Sri Lanka, saying “not in my Name”. Because, whether Muslims (and idiot Liberals with their diversity and multiculturalism) like it or not, extremism grows in the name of their religion, based on the writings within their holy book, the Koran, with passages such as
Quran (9:14) – “Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.” Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “healing” the hearts of Muslims.
One would think that so-called Moderate Muslims would be upset, since the extremists, who are known as “Islamists”, tend to kill more Muslims than people of other religions. And, let’s be clear: the extremists are not just those who practice violence in the name of Allah and Mohammed. They are those who push peacefully for Sharia law, for more hardcore Islam, who take advantage of the laws of nations to force their viewpoints and laws on citizens (such as the woman who is upset she wasn’t allowed to swim in a Muslim dress. The rules apparently shouldn’t apply to her). They do not use violence, but infiltration, lawsuits and threats of lawsuits, and our own rules of law and society against us.
So, no, Ms. Sarsour doesn’t have to apologize: if she had respect for her religion, she would, though, stand up against the hijacking of her religion. And it’s interesting that Ms. Sarsour would talk about “apologizing”. She herself has often downplayed Muslim extremist attacks. She claimed the underwear bomber was a CIA plant. She easily trots out the Islamophobe card to deflect from the doings of Islamists. She blows off “honor killings”, a practice of Islamists. She’s wondered if Osama Bin Laden ever did anything to deserve death. She was upset over Saddam Hussein’s death. And she attacks anyone concerned with the continued rise and threat from radical Islam, typically using ad hominum, personal, and non sequitur methods.
This is not to say she is an extremist. But, it is very interesting that her group receives quite a bit of funding from Qatar, a massive funder of radical Islam. She defends Islamic terrorism suspects. She has many anti-Israel statements. And likes to make hate crimes against Muslims up out of thin air.
There are many things done in the name of religion. There have been times when Christianity performed large scale terrible acts. This is discussed within the essay by Jonathan Wright, who notes
Every major religion has endured its share of violence and extremism. Christianity, for example, was intolerant of other faiths through most of its history and pursued dissent within its own ranks with indefatigable zeal. Wars were fought, heretics were burned and rival religions were pummeled in the name of the Christian God.
But such sorry episodes do not sum up Christianity any more than contemporary extremism within Islam encapsulates an ancient and beautiful faith. We deploy caricatures at our peril.
Christianity has mostly moved away from those sad episodes. Will Islam? One big difference is that the Koran pushes the extremism within its passages. The Bible has moved on to peace and love in the name of Jesus Christ.
Crossed at Right Wing News.