What can moderate Muslims do? (updated)

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  1. Pingback: The Moderate Voice
  2. Very little. I think a lot of people have invested a lot in creating an anti-Muslim hysteria in this country (paging Michelle Malkin…) and that cat is out of the bag. Other than speak out, I’m not sure what I’d recommend to American Muslims, other than to keep at it.

  3. Think of this along the lines of when something happens in the US that is not considered to be politically correct. Even if no one was harmed, or only ideas are being discussed, think of how the event is covered in a basic routine on cable news. Eventually one of a few standard spokespersons for the offended people comes on to CNN or Fox or MSNBC to talk about how they’re association is outraged and demands an apology. Blacks, Latinos, Gays, Republicans, Democrats, Environmentalists, etc. all have their own standard few people who go out immediately and speak on behalf of an offended group to speak their mind or defend someone’s actions.
    These are not government elected people, just representatives of different, sometimes political, organizations or lobbying groups. The major cable news channels all have people they seek out immediately when legislation is proposed somewhere that offends gay people, or when a border issue comes up. But they have not yet found a staple person or group to call up when the issue involves Muslims. For the public that cares, or for there to be broader understanding I think this is what it will take. When African-Americans are offended, I doubt that all of them call up Jesse Jackson to demand he go on Fox News and show outrage. But he does get on there and speak on behalf of them anyway. Lots of groups have these kinds of people, but Muslims do not yet, and in a battle of public image it is important that they do eventually, if anything just to calm the talking heads.

  4. Polimom, sorry I’ve been away for a while.
    Muslims having to prove loyalty by condemning terror is akin to one having to answer the question: “So, when was the last time you beat your wife?” I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago when another Muslim blogger (http://www.eteraz.org) demanded that Muslims, as their duty, must publcily condemn the violence in Iraq as anti-Islamic to prove that we in the West do not condone terrorism. I asked why?
    I think it is very dangerous for Muslims to fall into the trap of having to prove we are not a bunch of terrorists. The conventional wisdom that Muslims do not condemn terrorism is wrong. In all of these Muslim countries, the citizenry are the primary victims of terrorism. So, I would submit that quite a large number of Muslim families abhor terrorism because it is a threat to their very lives. Somehow, suggesting that these people, and we in the US, have to parade around day and night condemning something that all decent folks abhor is simply nonsense. It will not change the minds of any bigot who has already convinced him or herself that Islam means terrorism.
    I don’t particularly feel that I need to prove anything to the likes of Malkin and Glen Beck. Malkin, who is a big supporter of Japanese internment camps, would like nothing better than seeing all of us in similar camps. If it comes to that in America, the country that I love will have morphed into something very ugly indeed. But, I suspect the American people are a lot smarter and a lot less ignorant than Michelle Malkin and her merry band of bigots.
    My goal is to continue to write about Islam and try to demystify some of it to those who are looking to get a better understanding of our religion. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism have an enormous amount in common. It might help to expand on those similarities rather than popping up like a Jack-in-the-box with a token condemnation every time some nut decides to murder people.

  5. A few fragmented thoughts….
    -How would I feel if I had to prove that I do not have the heart of the Uni bomber?
    – We are a Nation made up of individuals. Not one of us is willing to take on the responsibility for the actions of others, yet we blame the whole of muslism for actions of a handful of fanatics on the fringe. Incongruent?
    – Have we forgotten that the majority of terrorism done in the United States is and has been done by non-Muslim people? Oklahoma? The white sheets in the south? (talk about terror). Not to mention the everyday terrors on the news. Those pig races are an action of terror of its own.
    Good, bad and ugly, comes in every color, shape and size under the sun. WE ARE ALL LIVING IN GLASS HOUSES, PEOPLE….STOP WITH THE STONES!

  6. For a start, moderate Muslims could tell their friends and relatives to stop listening to the fools who are ordering them to murder people. Their disapproval means nothing unless it’s voiced aloud.
    What the killers in Iraq are doing is not, I’m told, part of Islam. Yet it’s being done in the name of Islam. Who then should defend the true nature of the religion if not moderate Muslims?
    If moderates do not act, the terrorists’ guns will ensure that their interpretation becomes the mainstream Islamic view. Moderates should forget about Americans’ perceptions and concentrate on doing something tangible. like saving the meaning of their faith.

  7. I am afraid that Ruth is learning some of the hard facts of blogging, just as her co-blogger Chris Campbell over at chron.commons has been. There are folks who, despite anything you tell them or show them, are more comfortable with their own bigotry (“Muslims support terrorism” – “Christians are right-wing fanatics” – “white people can’t rap” – OK, maybe that last one is true 😉
    The fact is, most Muslims don’t support AQ, just as most Christians don’t support those who bomb abortion clinics, most Republicans don’t want to see your parents buy their drugs at PetMeds, and most Democrats don’t commit treason on a daily basis. And by most, I mean damb near 100.0000%!

  8. Not to worry, EdT. I know I can’t change everyone’s minds, but I can certainly put their questions and comments to good use. In fact, some of the more strident and bigoted comments inspire the best discussions for those of us with open minds 🙂

  9. There is an air of futility surrounding the question of what Muslims can do to condemn terrorism and let people know that Islam is not a violent religion, which is why your blogging is so important. Keep it up!

  10. Ruth — thank you for commenting here. I agree with Shaun; your blogging is important, but having watched you navigate the comments on the two posts on this subject, I think your contribution is larger than the blogging itself.
    Your responses to commenters on your blog (and elsewhere) demonstrate extraordinary tact and level-headedness, and having blogged in that venue, I have no doubt that the hostility in comments that haven’t cleared moderation have been very discouraging. Yet you’ve continued to dialogue and discuss while somehow staying welcoming and open-minded.
    Thanks, too, to everyone, for your thoughtful responses here. You continue to make me proud of this blog.

  11. I don’t have much confidence in moderate muslims. They will be threatened by their wacko cohorts and will have to back down. It’s not the criticism it’s that death threat part that makes people shut up.

  12. BTW, I read somewhere that “the misunderstanding” is now out in the open, but that Mr. Baker feels he has to go ahead with the pig races, since “it has gone too far to back down.” Idiot.
    What I would suggest is the following: let Mr. Baker hold his “pig races”, and invite the nice folks from the neighborhoods to participate – including his new neighbors in the Katy Islamic Association. The KIA could handle food for the gathering, they could hold it before their Friday evening service, and maybe some off-duty officers from the Katy PD and Sheriffs Depts could be the ‘pigs’ – and maybe they could arrange a flyover of police helecopters (“when pigs fly”.) Conduct the whole thing in a spirit of fun and self-deprecation (especially appropriate for Mr. Baker, who could show himself conspicuously eating a big helping of crow), and give the folks a chance to get to know one another.
    Who knows, maybe this could be an annual event?

  13. Hi all. Just an update – I put up a new post challenging people to prove Islam promotes violence using authentic religious sources. So far all I’ve gotten is two people telling me that media reports are proof that our religion is violent and that if we want to put an end to it we should march in the streets by the millions. My famous patience is beginning to wear very thin…

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