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Do Muslims Need To Self-Police? Are Muslim-Americans Really Our "First Line Of Defense?"


DonRocks
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Many people (myself included) have, at some time, thought that the Muslim community needs to step up and denounce what's going on in the world. Here's a differing opinion - whether you agree with it or not, it's definitely thought-provoking and worth reading:

"Stop Asking Me To Condemn Terrorists Just Because I'm Muslim" by Rana Elmir on washingtonpost.com

The article starts out with a sub-title: "I have no reason to say sorry, and Islamophobes won't believe me anyway."

While Ms. Elmir makes a lot of good points (truly good, salient points) in the essay, I believe she's losing the big picture - she's also co-mingling two separate things.

I do not feel responsible in the least for slavery; yet, there is no denying that white people were largely responsible for the systematic, government-backed oppression of black people for centuries, and it has resulted in a disparity of wealth that continues to this very day. No, I don't personally "apologize" for slavery (I wasn't even born!), but I acknowledge that my forefathers were the ones that committed this crime against humanity, and I also acknowledge that I most likely have a disproportionate amount of wealth because of it - is it through hard work and smarts alone that I live in a decent little house in Arlington, while at the same time, a less-educated black man is living in a roach-infested apartment in a higher-crime neighborhood? Hell no - I had a head start. It is for this reason that I think the concept of "affirmative action" - while you may or may not agree with it - has merit, and should at least be discussed as a possibility, or at least a theory. Affirmative action can be as simple as going out of your way to hold a door open for someone of color; it doesn't mean you have to have job quotas - just do something *nice* for someone. It really can start with something as small as that.

People like me (WASPs) have virtually *no* inroads to the Muslim community, and without a community-wide condemnation of terrorism by Muslims, we (the WASPs) feel pretty damned powerless to stop it. Of *course* we're not asking Ms. Elmir to "apologize" (this is where she co-mingles things - I would *never* expect such a thing); but the Islamic community - as a whole - needs to stand up and rally against extremism, just as white people - as a whole - needed to stand up against slavery 150 years ago. Don't you see the difference between that, and demanding that Ms. Elmir says "she's sorry?" If the Spanish Inquisition took place in today's day-and-age, it would be up to all Christians - as a community - to speak out against it.

Nobody holds you responsible, Ms. Elmir. But you are part of a community that has some situational and positional power, and could greatly help the situation over time.

I don't think Muslim-Americans should be under any obligation to take an activist role against terrorism *as individuals*, but speaking to the Muslim-American community, especially the religious community: We're asking for your help. We *need* your help. *You* need your help. I believe that you *are* our first line of defense against terrorism, and without your support, the fight is going to be one hell of a lot harder, and one hell of a lot longer.

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She certainly chose her words very carefully and presented her argument in a very specific way to make her point, but there were quite a few flaws and some borderline ridiculous statements.

I like to check the comments section on articles like this to do a pulse check of the public and usually people on both sides of the argument sound off against each other and then it devolves into Republicans/Democrats being the antichrist. In this case it was pretty much universal condemnation of the author.

Here are some that I pulled out that take her and her logic to task:

Stop asking me to condemn rape just because I'm male

(Response:) You should certainly be asked to condemn rape if rape was allowed in the laws of your religion

The only thing every muslim should do is explicitly condemn the Shariah. Shariah by which not only Islamic State commits its crimes but especially also all islamic countries perform their atrocities. Beheading people, stoning women, cutting off of hands.... Not ever have I heard muslims officially condemning this criminal islamic law.

Wow. Somebody has a chip on her shoulder. The glaring flaw in her whining diatribe is that she explicitly conflates denouncing terrorism with "apologizing" for it. She also intentionally misrepresents the question as one asked "just because" she is Muslim.

denouncing terrorism is not an "apology" unless one is admitting to having committed a terrorist act. It's odd that you should have to be asked, and even more odd that resent doing so.

You're asked to condemn terrorism as an American and humanitarian....

Pathetic.

The author warns not to judge everyone by the acts of a few terrorist white men and then condemns basically every non-Muslim for the hate crimes of a few individuals.

Here's a classic Islamic half-truth from Rana: "The first Muslims in the United States were brought over bound as slaves, not immigrants. Muslims fought in every war starting with the American Revolution."

Conveniently ignoring the fact that when Thomas Jefferson was president, Muslim pirates seized American merchant ships and held the crews for ransom ... until U.S. Marines led a successful invasion on the "shores of Tripoli."

How about you condemn all types of murderers... And stop trying to make everything about racism!

Stop asking me to condemn racists just because I'm white

I have no reason to say sorry, and white hating bigots won't believe me anyway

"Sadly, as Muslims, we contribute to our own oppression by erroneously believing that if we just apologize, then the anti-Muslim rhetoric will end," she writes.

Ummm ... no, Rana, the anti-Muslim rhetoric will end when your fellow Muslims stop slaughtering Christians, Jews and Yazidis in the name of Allah, and when Islam is no longer the world's leading practitioner of terrorism.

Until that happens, you're about as sympathetic as a Klansman who just can't understand why African-Americans don't like you.

There are major differences between the Muslim terrorists and those mass murderers who happen to be Christians. The latter tend to be mentally ill. Also, they do not murder in the name of Christianity. And unlike this author and most of the Muslim leaders, Christian leaders almost unanimously condemn the killings no matter who commits them.

This is the same old, sad, "Muslims are victims" story. Ms. Elmir, those "psychopaths" are acting in the name of all Muslims. Only fellow Muslims - e.g. you - can take Islam back from them. If you cannot or will not appreciate that, you are part of the problem

Ms. Elmir, I had never heard of you before today. I believe that this article is an exercise on your part in "deflection." If there is such a thing as "Islamophobia" then why is that? It is *not* because of "a steady diet of repugnant rhetoric and equally misguided policies." I think that you know darn well why: dead bodies, lots of them.

Question: Why is there not Hindu- or Buddhist- or Shintoist- or Amish-phobia? Answer: They aren't engaging in terrorism (to any significant extent that I'm aware of).

Rana, I don't care if you condemn Islamic terrorism or not -- just stop trying to play the victim card for Muslims. You boo-hoo about hate crimes against Muslims, but FBI statistics indicate that hate crimes against Jews occur nearly 6 times as often in the U.S.

And the most mind-boggling claim in your story was this: "Muslims across the globe are not threats. They are threatened." Of course they are -- BY OTHER MUSLIMS!

Last year's Global Terrorism Index shows that two-thirds of the world's terrorism deaths were caused by four groups: ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban. And you seriously want us to feel sorry for Muslims?

If other members of my church were stoning women to death, suicide bombing public crowds, shooting up concert halls, bombing subways, publishing videos of people being burned to death, dropping homosexuals off buildings, and all of the rest I wouldn't just condemn them. I'd disassociate myself entirely.

This woman can't work up the disagreement to do either. She's 9/10 of the way to a terrorist herself and she ought to be deported.

The problem is not merely that Muslims don't vociferously denounce the terrorists, it's that they refuse to criticize the leaders and other Muslims, who incite such behavior. When the Ayatollah Khamenei put out a fatwa on Salman Rushdie, Cat Stevens, who had recently converted to Islam, shrugged it off by saying "you don't understand". Well, yes I do understand. And in America you must call out your religious leaders when they are wrong. Apparently Muslims do not believe this is so. Until they do, they will remain the object of righteous criticism.

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The comments testify to an ignorance so profound that there is simply no response other than incredulous amazement.

Really?!?!?

What is so profoundly ignorant about this statement:

The glaring flaw in her whining diatribe is that she explicitly conflates denouncing terrorism with "apologizing" for it.

Or this one:

How about you condemn all types of murderers... And stop trying to make everything about racism!
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What is so profoundly ignorant ...

Muslims do not become terrorists because of their religion, they become terrorists because they feel disenfranchised. That feeling is fostered by a Western society that views Muslim as "other" (and some would argue lesser). Islam doesn't drive the radicalization, it has been bastardized to suit the radical ends. The response demonstrated in the comments you post does nothing but further the feeling of marginalization. It's not just stupid, it's suicidal. Islam doesn't cause terrorism, we do in how we treat Muslims.

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Muslims do not become terrorists because of their religion, they become terrorists because they feel disenfranchised. That feeling is fostered by a Western society that views Muslim as "other" (and some would argue lesser). Islam doesn't drive the radicalization, it has been bastardized to suit the radical ends. The response demonstrated in the comments you post does nothing but further the feeling of marginalization. It's not just stupid, it's suicidal. Islam doesn't cause terrorism, we do in how we treat Muslims.

Hoo boy, I'm not sure I agree with this. I didn't say anything after your first comment, but I think you're going to have trouble defending this one, and I'm pretty sure you're going to have to defend it, your second sentence in particular. Good luck ...

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Lots of people of other religion are disenfranchised but don't become terrorists.  The fact that terrorists are mostly Muslims suggests there is some connection to Islam.

Muslims are being radicalized in their own countries, so that has nothing to do with how western society views them.  Trump shits on Latinos, you see a bunch of Guatemalans become terrorists?

Islamic law condones all kinds of violence as far as I know, and I admittedly know very little.  When the religion-based laws condone violence, it can easily lead to barbaric acts.

As with all complicated issues, there are no simple answers.

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I agree with RW to an extent. I don't completely blame western society, but we have played a part by bombing the shit out of Muslims all over the Islamic world. That, along with the corrupt and downright evil governments of their countries, makes it easy for the radicals to become appealing to the disenfranchised people around them.

Poverty, desperation, and fear have provided fertile grounds for destructive forces throughout history.

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Muslims do not become terrorists because of their religion, they become terrorists because they feel disenfranchised. That feeling is fostered by a Western society that views Muslim as "other" (and some would argue lesser). Islam doesn't drive the radicalization, it has been bastardized to suit the radical ends. The response demonstrated in the comments you post does nothing but further the feeling of marginalization. It's not just stupid, it's suicidal. Islam doesn't cause terrorism, we do in how we treat Muslims.

Did you read the article?  The link above doesn't seem to work so try this one.

You seem to be making arguments/points that are valid, but are not discussed in her article.

The headline alone is practically indefensible: "Stop asking me to condemn terrorists just because I'm Muslim".   Why wouldn't you condemn terrorists?!?!?

Poverty, disenfranchisement, Western governments screwing up things horribly have nothing to do with her argument or any of the comments I posted.

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I just read the article and agree with the author completely.

From her tone throughout the article it is clear that she condemns terrorism and violence of all stripes.  She points out though that by requiring any and all Muslim individuals to condemn radial-Islamic terrorism, you are placing some measure of guilt on them.

Is a relatively loosely-adherent (yet practicing) Catholic in some way to blame for the anti-gay hate crimes of a crazed evangelical?  They are both Christian, afterall.  Their religious laws prohibit homosexuality.  Yet, we would never call out this person to explicitly and repeatedly publicly condemn such craziness...and rightly so.

Are Episcopalians culpable for the disgusting stunts of the Westboro Baptist group?  Should they do more to stop it?

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From her tone throughout the article it is clear that she condemns terrorism and violence of all stripes.  She points out though that by requiring any and all Muslim individuals to condemn radial-Islamic terrorism, you are placing some measure of guilt on them.

This is correct, and the comments to the article apparently miss the point. While many of the comments are simply racist, the more sensible ones still presuppose a connection between Islam and terrorism that doesn't exist. It is the terrorist who are trying to make that connection, and the comments play right into their hands. This is not a struggle between Christians, et al. and Muslims, it's a struggle between humanity and evil. The fact that in this particular instance the evil shrouds itself in a fictionalized version of Islam is of no consequence.

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Are Episcopalians culpable for the disgusting stunts of the Westboro Baptist group?  Should they do more to stop it?

No, they shouldn't necessarily do more to stop it, but don't you think it'd be a little weird for an Episcopalian to take a stand to not condemn some awful behavior?

Since I'm not German is it reasonable for me to specifically not condemn the actions of Hitler and the Nazis? And then write an article trumpeting my position? How do you think that would go over?

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I bet most thinking people do condemn awful behavior.  But the issue here is that we aren't bringing Episcopalians onto national TV to demand that they condemn bad shit whenever it occurs.  Presidential candidates aren't making your standing as a good person/citizen contingent on a public display of anti-Nazism.

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Totally agree.

But many people much smarter than me, or is it I, (see what I mean?!?) make the point that we, the West, can't fight our way or bomb our way out of terrorism or ISIS or whatever the next horrible thing is. They say the change has to come from within. For normal, good, everyday Muslims to not stand for this any more. They should condemn it and demand their religious leaders condemn it too. Without that "grassroots" effort we're doomed to continue the failed cycle of bomb, boots, regime change, train, leave, and then start all over again in a few years.

I don't know if the "it has to start from within" strategy will be successful or is even valid (see my first point about not being that smart), but there's s difference between a maniac like Trump demanding American citizens who happen to be Muslims not being allowed back in the country if they travel abroad(!!) and the average Joe Muslim taking a stand.

Back when the Catholic church child sex scandal broke lots of run of the mill Catholics wrote letters and stopped giving donations and made as a big of a protest as they could. And things slowly started changing.

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They say the change has to come from within.

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do." ~ Mohandas Gandhi

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I have friends and relatives who have been or are Police Officers, but I have no problem denouncing brutality or supporting a concept such as "Black Lives Matter".   I worked in a Psychiatric facility, where my own safety was co-dependent upon other staff coming to my rescue if/when violence broke out, but I had no tolerance for mistreatment or abuse of patients & openly worked to get rid of those that did not deserve their positions of authority.  I am Jewish and have strong feelings about my heritage, but do not blindly support many of Israel's policies and actions.  As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be a pretty loyal American, but have not supported many things our government has done (& does -- Guantanamo Bay comes to mind) and am vocal about it.  I would like to believe that I would have made a lousy German in the '30s.

I don't see why expecting most Muslims to be vocal about opposing those who use terror in the name of their religion is not realistic.  I agree that most have nothing to apologize for & shouldn't be asked to do so, but I think that we should expect more from them (not less), as well as from ourselves, and be clear about it.   If anything, we (as a people) are too "non-involved" and passive, not overly involved.  Looking inward for change is only part of life.

Enough of my opinions?

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I agree with RW to an extent. I don't completely blame western society, but we have played a part by bombing the shit out of Muslims all over the Islamic world. That, along with the corrupt and downright evil governments of their countries, makes it easy for the radicals to become appealing to the disenfranchised people around them.

Poverty, desperation, and fear have provided fertile grounds for destructive forces throughout history.

If I were black in the 1960s, I would have made Malcolm X look like the Easter Bunny.

That said, what would you think if Black-Americans or Native-Americans started blowing up stores in Tysons Corner, or spray-shooting people with uzis at football games? Would this be "our fault" for making them feel "disenfranchised?"

This is not a rhetorical question; I'm asking for an answer.

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People seem to believe that "Muslims" are some monolithic group who must all speak in one voice while not expecting the same behavior from Christians. (Now that I think about it, Muslims are being treated the same way by the Right side of the spectrum as Jewish people are by the BDS zealots of the far left.)

As far as I can tell, the Muslim community at large IS speaking out against terror, both in words, and by, you know, actually fighting ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban on the battlefield. What more would you have them do? Wear t-shirts and headbands with anti-terror slogans everyday? This, I think, is the crux of the author's argument. No matter what the community at large does, it will never be enough to convince people they aren't sleeper cells in deep cover.

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People seem to believe that "Muslims" are some monolithic group who must all speak in one voice while not expecting the same behavior from Christians. (Now that I think about it, Muslims are being treated the same way by the Right side of the spectrum as Jewish people are by the BDS zealots of the far left.)

Who are these nebulous "people?" You imply they're on the "right side of the spectrum" (what spectrum?) like they're some monolithic group, but who are they? I ask in earnest because I've never met one.

I'm trying not to take sides in this issue because I don't think the author's essay is without some merit - I think it has some flawed assumptions, but it's worth discussing (or I wouldn't have posted about it).

I'm still waiting for an answer to my previous post - not necessarily by you, but by someone.

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Who are these "people?"

(I'm still waiting for an answer to my previous post - not necessarily by you, but by someone.)

Well...you for one.

From your initial post in this thread entitled "Do Muslims Need to Self-Police..."

"Many people (myself included) have, at some time, thought that the Muslim community needs to step up and denounce what's going on in the world."

"...the Islamic community - as a whole - needs to stand up and rally against extremism..."

Again, do you routinely ask Christians of all stripes to denounce the violence done against gays here in America (and even worse, in some countries in Africa)? Does the "cultural Jew" bear responsibility for the violence of the extremist settlers?

"‹And I'm still waiting for an answer to my question about what it is you would have American Muslims do. (BTW, they would be first against the wall should ISIS ever come over here.)

Some points to ponder:

01/02/15 - "Why Don't More Moderate Muslims Denounce Extremism?" by Marc Schneier on washingtonpost.com

"Statements by Muslim Americans and Groups Condemning Terrorist Attacks" on religioustolerance.org

12/30/15 - "Moosa Dhillon: Count Muslims among the Scared Americans" on dallasnews.org

11/2015 - "#NotInMyName: American Muslim Community Rally Against Extremism" by Jericka Duncan on cbsnews.com

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Well...you for one.

From your initial post in this thread entitled "Do Muslims Need to Self-Police..."

"Many people (myself included) have, at some time, thought that the Muslim community needs to step up and denounce what's going on in the world."

"...the Islamic community - as a whole - needs to stand up and rally against extremism..."

Again, do you routinely ask Christians of all stripes to denounce the violence done against gays here in America (and even worse, in some countries in Africa)?  Does the "cultural Jew" bear responsibility for the violence of the extremist settlers?

"‹And I'm still waiting for an answer to my question about what it is you would have American Muslims do.  (BTW, they would be first against the wall should ISIS ever come over here.)

Oh! I didn't realize I was on "the right side" of "the spectrum." Sorry about that - I always thought I was an independent thinker, treating each issue on its own merits, but I guess not.

Do I routinely ask Christians to denounce the violence done against gays here in America? Can gays not be Christian? You're co-mingling two different things. And isn't it heartening how an overwhelming majority of Americans - on both sides of "the spectrum" - turned out to be in support of gay marriage?

And in that same first post that you selectively quoted from, did I not say this? "If the Spanish Inquisition took place in today's day-and-age, it would be up to all Christians - as a community - to speak out against it.

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(Damn you email notifications...)

Don, I don't know or care where you land on the political spectrum, but arguments like yours align well with those being made by many of the prominent voices on the right.

As for gay Christians, I suppose you'd have to ask Christian scholars that question.  Lots of their leaders seem to say the answer is no.  But I'm neither Christian nor gay, so I don't know for sure.

And with that, I'm out. We're talking past each other, and nothing useful will come from further argument.

I sincerely wish you a Happy New Year.  I look forward to losing even more sleep on DR in 2016.

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Don, I don't know or care where you land on the political spectrum, but arguments like yours align well with those being made by many of the prominent voices on the right.

As for gay Christians, I suppose you'd have to ask Christian scholars that question.  Lots of their leaders seem to say the answer is no.  But I'm neither Christian nor gay, so I don't know for sure.

I sincerely wish you a Happy New Year.  I look forward to losing even more sleep on DR in 2016.

They also align with what Hillary Clinton said in the last Democratic debate. I stole that "first line of defense" phrase straight from Senator Clinton. Really!

Why should I ask "Christian scholars" as opposed to "gay scholars?" I get a distinct impression that some people single out Christianity as the root of all evil, but is it any wackier or more evil than any other religion? Judaism, Buddhism, Paganism, Sikhism, Neo-Druidism, or Satanism? I'll be happy to name a hundred more, but separation of church and state works just fine with me - live and let live. However, "letting live" doesn't include blowing up airplanes, with 100% of the passengers being innocents, in the name of Allah. If someone bastardized my name, or the name of something I cared about? I'd be up their ass so far and so fast that they'd think they have a second appendix.

And you're right - we're talking past each other - Happy New Year to you as well, Josh!

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It wasn't just the Christians that were anti gays. Pretty much the whole world was anti gays. When equality became the norm, it was probably led by European and American Caucasians, presumably Christians. Do you know where in the world gays can still be severely punished, including death?

02/24/14 - "Here Are The Ten Countries Where Homosexuality May Be Punished By Death" by Terri Rupar on washingtonpost.com

Maybe Islam doesn't promote terrorism directly, but it does prescribe all kinds of barbaric acts which may be a gateway to radicalism.

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People seem to believe that "Muslims" are some monolithic group who must all speak in one voice while not expecting the same behavior from Christians.

Josh, with all due respect, I think this is a bit of red herring that only muddies the waters, and implies racism or irrational intolerance on the part of the user.

I think when most people use a broad term like "Muslims", "Blacks", "Jews", "White men" etc without any qualifiers they just do it to for simplification. It would get very cumbersome to have to add all sorts of descriptive terms to make sure your statement was absolutely 100% correct from every conceivable angle.

When Bill Cosby talked about the problem with the "black community" is the lack of stable, 2 parent households, he was speaking in general terms. He wasn't talking about Barack and Michelle.

When people say "white men have all the advantages in this country" they're not talking about some poor kid in Appalachia living in a house with no running water, but most of us get the gist of the statement.

And when you read "women make 77 cents on the dollar that men make" we don't expect to see all sorts of qualifiers like, "unless you are a government employee where position descriptions and salaries are controlled by law and are the same regardless of gender with the exception of certain jobs, that by their very nature require the employee to be a certain gender, other exceptions include..... .... ...... ......"

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As far as I can tell, the Muslim community at large IS speaking out against terror,

You really think that?!?!? Where is the evidence?

Compare Muslims in this country speaking out, to the Black Lives Matter campaign. A hell of a lot more Muslims have been killed by terror than blacks have been killed by cops, but I can easily show you dozens of examples of people speaking out about Black Lives Matter(ing) than I can about Muslims protesting terrorism.

There are clerics preaching hate, and death to America and the West, in mosques the US, Brittan and (obviously) the Middle East, and these guys aren't speaking to an empty room or an angry mob shouting them down.

I know I probably sound like Bill O'Rielly, or Rush, or the Donald here, but trust me, I'm the exact opposite, but from where I sit, I think the author's refusal to condemn terrorism is at best a cop out and evidence of Muslims protesting this take over of their religion is so rare that it's bordering on nonexistent.

(I specifically didn't address Muslims fighting terror in the Middle East because it's too complex.....are they fighting against terror, are they fighting a civil war, is it an interfaith conflict, and so on and so on)

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If I were black in the 1960s, I would have made Malcolm X look like the Easter Bunny.

That said, what would you think if Black-Americans or Native-Americans started blowing up stores in Tysons Corner, or spray-shooting people with uzis at football games? Would this be "our fault" for making them feel "disenfranchised?"

This is not a rhetorical question; I'm asking for an answer.

The Americans you're referring to are not fueled by fundamentalist religion (I'm not saying all of Islam is fundamentalist). There's no one claiming you'll go straight to paradise if you blow up a Cinnabon.

The situation in some of the Muslim world is much more extreme than anything our country faces and perhaps even ever faced. Pervasive poverty, hunger, constant attacks from both internal and external military forces with massive casualties, governments that do nothing to address their peoples' needs, very little education, no propaganda-free exposure to the outside world, and a much different culture than the western world, creates an environment where people start looking for an alternative-- any alternative. I'm not saying we're 100% to blame for this insanely radical behavior and I don't feel sympathy for those that choose to join ISIS, but I do believe we provided all kinds of PR for the recruitment efforts. Hell, we even armed them in some cases.

I hear what you're saying man, I just think you're comparing apples and oranges. While we certainly have fundamentalist Christians in our country, there aren't many believers taking Leviticus to heart and stoning the neighbor for mowing his lawn on Sunday (not yet anyway). And I believe the reason for that is we live in a different culture and, in a real sense, a different time in history than those in the Islamic world who live in such extreme conditions.

I'm not saying that we have no one to blame but ourselves, but I'm hoping that western governments start recognizing that we need more carrots and fewer sticks.

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Compare Muslims in this country speaking out, to the Black Lives Matter campaign. A hell of a lot more Muslims have been killed by terror than blacks have been killed by cops, but I can easily show you dozens of examples of people speaking out about Black Lives Matter(ing) than I can about Muslims protesting terrorism.

I'm wondering, and I know this is sort of off topic, but do you have some sort of issue with the Black Lives Matter campaign? I would think that American Muslims would begin a similar campaign if they were disproportionately shot and otherwise abused by many police departments around our country.

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I'm wondering, and I know this is sort of off topic, but do you have some sort of issue with the Black Lives Matter campaign? I would think that American Muslims would begin a similar campaign if they were disproportionately shot and otherwise abused by many police departments around our country.

No, no issue at all. I support it. I'm surprised you took that from what I wrote.  How did you take that from what I wrote??

I was just trying to find a group or movement or whatever that IS very vocal about taking back their rights or citizenship or whatever the proper word is vs. a group who is not very vocal about taking back their religion.

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I would think that American Muslims would begin a similar campaign if they were disproportionately shot and otherwise abused by many police departments around our country.

I agree. Do you find it strange that radical Muslims are disproportionally responsible for world wide terrorism including some in the US and there is no discernible movement denouncing it by non-radical Muslims? That was my point comparing it to Black Lives Matter. Bad things were happening and BLM was born. I don't see it in the Muslim world.

And by the way, I friggin' hate that you guys are "making" me take the right wing position on this!

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No, no issue at all. I support it. I'm surprised you took that from what I wrote.  How did you take that from what I wrote??

I was just trying to find a group or movement or whatever that IS very vocal about taking back their rights or citizenship or whatever the proper word is vs. a group who is not very vocal about taking back their religion.

My apologies for reading in to this statement in a previous post of yours too much:

"How about you condemn all types of murderers... And stop trying to make everything about racism!"

I don't know what your political views are, but I've heard this kind of sentiment before from some people. They imply that there's nothing unique about murders among blacks. I don't know what you meant by that comment, so I apologize if I was too quick to judge.

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Ahhh, I see how you got there!

I heard a great response to the "Black lives matter.....NO ALL LIVES MATTER" argument.   Saying "all lives matter" in response to "black lives matter" is like protesting a fund raiser for breast cancer on behalf of prostate cancer or liver cancer, etc.  (Breast cancer was probably not the best example as I've heard that their movement is so popular and successful, that it actually takes money away from other cancer fighting groups, but you get the point!

As to my political views, in most other parts of my life, I'm the wacko liberal far to the left of everyone else in the converstaion.......that's why I made the comment about being angry about "you guys" "making me" take the right wing position on this.

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I believe that if everyone participating in this thread was sitting down in a single room, having some Champagne and talking about the issue in depth, hearing everyone out, I'm willing to bet we'd all find a meeting of the minds and emerge as friends.

Oh, there would be some differences, but not enough to cause serious dissent - that's my read on things: We all pretty much want the same thing.

Damn I'd love to moderate that discussion - it would probably get quarrelsome for awhile, and then people would finally realize that nobody is a monster.

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"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do." ~ Mohandas Gandhi

It's not us who needs to change, it's the terrorists. Nothing justifies terrorism. We are the victims.

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I think the original essay by Rana Elmir is badly expressed in that she conflates condemnation with apology, and indeed, a call for apology from the Islamic community at large for the transgressions of the violent extremists doesn't figure prominently in any of the public dialogue on this issue. Aside from that, though, I think she's pretty much right. Asking the ordinary, peaceful, decent follower of Islam to somehow take responsibility for the violent extremists who perpetrate horrific crimes ostensibly in the name of Islam is monstrously unfair, and something we don't ask of other groups. Do we insist that peaceful, liberal American Jews take responsibility for the heinous atrocities routinely perpetrated by the State of Israel as currently governed?

This endowment of peaceful Muslims with special responsibility for the worst excesses of their ostensible co-religionists is particularly rich coming from Americans, whose decidedly non-Islamic governments of the last fifty years managed to create the current Iranian regime, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Daesh through deliberate, specific policy choices, and were then shocked, shocked! at the result.

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I think the original essay by Rana Elmir is badly expressed in that she conflates condemnation with apology, and indeed, a call for apology from the Islamic community at large for the transgressions of the violent extremists doesn't figure prominently in any of the public dialogue on this issue. Aside from that, though, I think she's pretty much right. Asking the ordinary, peaceful, decent follower of Islam to somehow take responsibility for the violent extremists who perpetrate horrific crimes ostensibly in the name of Islam is monstrously unfair, and something we don't ask of other groups. Do we insist that peaceful, liberal American Jews take responsibility for the heinous atrocities routinely perpetrated by the State of Israel as currently governed?

Can you name anyone who claims that all Muslim-American individuals are responsible for, and who asks that they apologize for, terrorists who blow up airplanes? If so, would you please call them out here by name, and cite specific quotes and the context of those quotes?

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Can you name anyone who claims that all Muslim-American individuals are responsible for, and who asks that they apologize for, terrorists who blow up airplanes? If so, would you please call them out here by name, and cite specific quotes and the context of those quotes?

Don, I specifically said that nobody is asking Muslims at large to apologize for terrorist actions, contra the original essayist. Nor did I suggest that all Muslim-Americans are being accused of responsibility for acts of terrorism. What I referred to, and I thought fairly carefully, although I guess I was wrong, was the notion that Muslims generally, and especially American Muslims, have a responsibility for the terrorists who act in the name of Islam; not that they are responsible for the acts of terrorism themselves, but are somehow especially and uniquely responsible for reining them in, for denouncing them, for defeating them. And I can name people who make such assertions: Hillary Clinton, for one ("The first line of defense against radicalization is in the Muslim-American community").

Barack Obama for another. What do you think President Obama meant to convey when he said the following?

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities.  This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse.  Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

He's saying "good" Muslims must take the responsibility for purging Islam of "bad" Muslims, an idea I find preposterous, in the first place, and odious and condescending towards a billion people to boot. And again, it wasn't the "good" Muslims who were responsible for the rise of Daesh and al Qaeda, it was the considered policies of the United States government and its complaisant allies (and a long string of Western colonial policies before them).

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Don, I specifically said that nobody is asking Muslims at large to apologize for terrorist actions, contra the original essayist. Nor did I suggest that all Muslim-Americans are being accused of responsibility for acts of terrorism. What I referred to, and I thought fairly carefully, although I guess I was wrong, was the notion that Muslims generally, and especially American Muslims, have a responsibility for the terrorists who act in the name of Islam; not that they are responsible for the acts of terrorism themselves, but are somehow especially and uniquely responsible for reining them in, for denouncing them, for defeating them. And I can name people who make such assertions: Hillary Clinton, for one ("The first line of defense against radicalization is in the Muslim-American community").

Barack Obama for another. What do you think President Obama meant to convey when he said the following?

He's saying "good" Muslims must take the responsibility for purging Islam of "bad" Muslims, an idea I find preposterous, in the first place, and odious and condescending towards a billion people to boot. And again, it wasn't the "good" Muslims who were responsible for the rise of Daesh and al Qaeda, it was the considered policies of the United States government and its complaisant allies (and a long string of Western colonial policies before them).

Okay, you've made yourself perfectly clear now, and I apologize.

There's one very different perspective, however, and it's the one I have, versus the one that others, perhaps even you, *think* I have.

I don't think Muslims are obligated to do anything.

But we *need* them, and they have a very real chance to help us. Imagine an ad campaign of a Muslim in uniform: "I'm Ali Mohammad, and I'm in the army because I love America, where I'm free to practice my religion." Something like this probably already exists, but we need a lot more of it. Muslim-Americans don't have to do anything they don't want to, but we *need* them. I think when Obama says, "must take the responsibility," he means, "must take the responsibility in order to save our asses - without their help; we're in big trouble." No, that won't convince "the terrorists," but it would be one heck of a public relations campaign to the rest of the Muslim world, and we need their help.

I'm going to refer back to the Star Trek: TNG episode, "Q Who" (Season 2, Episode 16, available on Amazon Prime), in which Picard - who is in the middle of getting his *ass kicked* by a vastly superior enemy - says to Q, at the end of the episode, "I *need* you" (click on the link and read the plot - Q is a Godlike-being with powers to literally snap his fingers and make things happen, and when he hears Picard's admission of need, he does - sometimes all people want are to feel needed). It might sound silly, trite, pop-psychological, and irrelevant to this situation, but it's not - everything I need to know, I learned on Star Trek. I would simply ask that people who haven't seen the episode don't judge the analogy until they see it. We're up against a Borg of our own - one which we have *no idea* how to stop using conventional warfare, and we'd better change our course-of-action pronto because over the next century, it's only going to get worse as *everyone* is going to have cheap-and-ready access to devastating weaponry.

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And this is the problem with off topic boards!  This conversation never goes well; no one really wants to change their mind.  So typically I refuse to engage mostly, but asking "Muslims" whatever that means, to apologize or condemn terrorism, is like asking asking a Presbyterian to apologize for the Catholic priest child rapes.  Islam is not a monolith, and it's extremely annoying that it is treated as one.  But if we are going to make them one, more muslims, by far, die due to islamist terrorism by other muslims than any other cultural group.  Should they apologize to themselves?

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but asking "Muslims" whatever that means, to apologize or condemn terrorism, is like asking asking a Presbyterian to apologize for the Catholic priest child rapes.

I get your broad point but this sentence mixes a couple of things.

The author refused to condemn terrorism because she was Muslim, or "they'd" never believe her (whoever "they" are). She conflated condemnation with apologizing, which are so far apart, it's hard to imagine doing, but she did it. That was my heartburn with the article and this particular Muslim woman.

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I get your broad point but this sentence mixes a couple of things.

The author refused to condemn terrorism because she was Muslim, or "they'd" never believe her (whoever "they" are). She conflated condemnation with apologizing, which are so far apart, it's hard to imagine doing, but she did it. That was my heartburn with the article and this particular Muslim woman.

I agree with this (I also think this conversation is going extremely well).

One thing nobody has realized (there's no way for anyone to realize this unless you're the earwig in Night Gallery, and crawl inside my head) is that, when I first wrote this post, I was drawing a parallel between this topic and responsible gun owners apologizing for mass slaughters, which seems ridiculous. But, as Bart says, there is a *huge* difference between "not apologizing" and "being complacent," and the author of the article absolutely conflated the two.

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Is a relatively loosely-adherent (yet practicing) Catholic in some way to blame for the anti-gay hate crimes of a crazed evangelical?  They are both Christian, afterall.  Their religious laws prohibit homosexuality.  Yet, we would never call out this person to explicitly and repeatedly publicly condemn such craziness...and rightly so.  

I dunno. As an "out" Baptist, I get a LOT of "you need to speak up against (Falwell, Roberts, Bakker, fill in the blank) and if you don't do it at equal volume to him/her/them, you don't get to say 'Not all Christians.'"

(Please note - as a radical progressive Baptist of the Roger Williams type, I don't agree with any of them, but I really have no wish to engage with/about them either.)

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[Just as a feather-light moderator comment, as "political" as this issue may be, it's important (here, anyway) to discuss the issue itself, on its own merits, rather than generalizing about one's own politics (saf, I'm not talking about you, or for that matter, anyone in particular), because nobody cares about people's political views, but they *can* be extremely annoying and inflammatory when trumpeted (which nobody has done, and I'd like to keep it that way). Everyone has been perfectly reasonable, and has made thought-provoking comments on several sides of this issue, and I just want to say "thank you" to everyone for making my life easy.

Ideally, a topic "like this" should be intellectually discussed and analyzed in the same way that people discuss Bob Dylan, or "The Mask Maker," or The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, or Beau Brummell. Everyone says it can't be done; I say it can.]

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Assuming you aren't a Muslim, have you ever been asked to condemn terrorism?  Don?  Anyone else?

I know exactly where you're going with this, but it doesn't work with me. Asking someone to condemn terrorism is like asking someone to condemn mass murder - it's absurd. Now, you'll chime in and say, "Then why should any Muslim be expected to do the same?"

Answer: I'm asking Muslims - as a religious group, not as individuals - *not* to "condemn terrorism," but to help save the world (yes, save the world) by condemning the *bastardization of Islam* which is resulting in terrorism.

If my country was invaded, should I be asked to defend it, and to help repel the invaders? Absolutely, but I wouldn't need to be asked - I'd already be on the front lines, doing whatever I could to help.

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Assuming you aren't a Muslim, have you ever been asked to condemn terrorism?  Don?  Anyone else?

Unlike Don, I am in the camp of those wanting Muslims to condemn terrorism, both as individuals and as a religious group.  Not apologize, but stand up for what is right and what's closer to them than to me.  As a non-Muslim (I'm culturally Jewish), I've been asked to condemn terrorism, but always by those who use that as a blanket indictment of Muslims.  Of course, I refuse to do what they want and I get what you're asking.  No, the average white, non-Muslim guy assumes I don't support terrorism and takes for granted my position, while they would ask a Muslim to condemn terrorism because they're not sure.  Wrong headed, I'll give you that.  And, by the way, I also believe that its not like Muslims have been silent on this.  There's lots of anti-terrorism support in that religion but, as long as there are groups using terrorism under the guise of fundamentalism/Islam, I think that increased vocal presence is needed by all.

That being said, as a middle class white American male, I believe I should be asked to condemn police brutality where it exists (without apologizing that we need/want policing and that most police do their job as intended).  I believe I should be asked to condemn inequality in pay with women (without apologizing that somehow I'm causing it).  I believe I should be asked to condemn torture, although I haven't water boarded anyone.  As a matter of fact, I think its my responsibility to not only condemn with words, but to be active in the many ways I can so as to minimize these (and other) problems.

I get why my average Muslim friends (yes, I have some) bristle at even being asked, the way my white friends bristle at an "are you racist" question.  But I don't get why those aren't opportunities to educate, to inform and to be counted, as opposed to an opportunity to be pissed at the question.  Let our clear, overt words & actions show our beliefs"¦ we need more of that from rational "normal" folks.

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I'd like to know how Islam is or is not related to these acts.

"German Police Report Describes Night of 'Chaotic and Shameful' Night of Attacks on Women" by Niraj Chokshi on washingtonpost.com

[instead of asking what amounts to a rhetorical question, why don't *you* tell *us*? This type of "rhetorical 1-2 punch" - which is exactly what happened yesterday - is not going to be allowed here: Someone asks a question they already (think they) know the answer to, hoping to either trap someone with a poorly thought-out reply, or to start an argument and watch it unfold. In my judgment, that's what has happened twice in as many days here (by two intelligent people with seemingly opposing viewpoints, I will add), and although the discussion of this article is perfectly valid, presenting it with such a statement adds nothing to this conversation, and has nothing to do with this topic that I can see - either have the courage to present your own opinion about the article at hand in a separate thread - without any broad-based inferences about religion - or stay on the sidelines. We're going to have higher standards here, and if I have to delete every single post for awhile to obtain them, then so be it. If people wish to participate in a free-for-all, I suggest they make their comments on The Washington Post's website, where they will be lost and buried for all eternity. I am not unsympathetic to the fact that this post was made at 12:17 AM, possibly after a couple glasses of wine.]

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Muslims do not become terrorists because of their religion, they become terrorists because they feel disenfranchised. That feeling is fostered by a Western society that views Muslim as "other" (and some would argue lesser). Islam doesn't drive the radicalization, it has been bastardized to suit the radical ends. The response demonstrated in the comments you post does nothing but further the feeling of marginalization. It's not just stupid, it's suicidal. Islam doesn't cause terrorism, we do in how we treat Muslims.

I'd like to formally apologize for causing this shooting.

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