Democrats & Liberals Archives

Mad, Sad Muslims

There was an interesting op-ed in the Washington Post by a Muslim American, “Being Muslim in a Mad, Sad World”. The gist is, she’s totally against terrorism, but understands what drives Muslims to it. She brings up the usual motivators: US support for Israel, Iraqi civilian deaths, Gitmo, etc. Then she makes an off-hand remark that immediately crystallized my thought on this subject.

As a Pakistani relative in Australia said, mainstream Muslims "do not support bloodshed. What they do support is a representation of their concerns."

Ok, fine. I can totally understand that. So where the hell is the representation from moderate Muslim leaders? Why aren't they representing moderate Muslims in the fight against these "injustices"? Why are moderate Muslim leaders allowing radical extremists to usurp their authority? Why aren't moderate Muslims changing policy through political and legal efforts, and grassroots activism? Where is the Osama bin Laden of moderate Islam?

John Howard in Australia and Tony Blair in Britain are calling on their moderate Muslim citizens for cooperation, saying they have a civic responsibility to end terrorism in their midst. But viewed another way, this is a call for Muslim heroes to oppose violent extremists while peacefully and effectively addressing the issues moderate Muslims worry over.

They should run for office, start PACs, think tanks, and NGOs, and organize grassroots efforts to support a viable Palestinian state or get the troops out of Iraq or whatever, while actively working with authorities to counter the murderous terrorists they abhor. If moderate Muslims want to effectively fight for their causes while rejecting extremism, their leaders must step up and lead.

Merely dictating a press release denouncing terrorism doesn't cut it.

Whatever else happens as a consequence of the London bombings, it's clear that Muslim communities in Western countries can no longer hunker down in isolation and complain about persecution. Muslims in the US, Australia, Britain, and Europe must actively play a constructive role in their local and national communities - or forever be looked upon with suspicion and mistrust.

Posted by American Pundit at August 8, 2005 11:02 AM