Those who know me really well know that I obsessively check everything before I say it. Of course, what they don’t always know is why I do that obsessively. I have been burned by “facts” enough times in my past that they are hard to count. And given that I actually tend to be harder on myself than anyone else is on me, you can’t imagine the pain I feel when I make an assertion that turns out to be false. It’s probably the number one reason I no longer rely on the professional left; too many of them care more about “saying the right thing” than actually passing on facts.
One of the most amazing things that I encounter on a regular basis is the phenomenon of the self-professed “political junkie” telling me about their confusion over the “fact” that “no one” from the Muslim community ever comments on events when there is a terrorist attack and a so-called “Muslim” extremist group attacks people on behalf of Allah. It never fails; after an attack, my social media feeds will be strewn with people who consider themselves “high information voters” lamenting this missed opportunity by “Muslim leaders.”
First of all, as I have written previously, the people who commit terrorist acts are not acting based on their religion at all. They are acting based on selfish political aims. There is nothing in the Quran that demands Muslims to kill innocent women and children for any reason. That notion is as ridiculous as believing that Republicans speak for God when they institutionalize discrimination against LGBT individuals. Granted, the results are more lethal, but the point is, neither position has anything to do with that their claimed religion actually stands for.
Secondly, what the hell is a “Muslim leader”? Is that kind of like “Black Leaders,” as envisioned by white liberals? I only ask because the notion of “Muslim leaders” seems just as silly and obtuse. I know many of you imagine African-Americans waiting to have an opinion on a “black issue” until Cornel West or Al Sharpton have weighed in, but all that shows is that you don’t know many Black people. Muslims number 1.6 billion worldwide; do you really think that many people have just a handful of leaders to advise them on how bad terrorism is? Might I remind you that most victims of terrorism by purported “Muslims” are themselves Muslim.
Not that we notice. Consider the amount of press the attacks on Paris and Brussels received and compare it with the attack on LaHore, Pakistan. If you haven’t heard of it, I’m not surprised. The major news outlets mentioned it, but they didn’t dwell on it. There were no hashtags or cries of #wearelahore. This, despite the fact that a hell of a lot more people killed there than in Brussels. Here’s a fairly basic report on what happened. A few right wing outlets made a big deal out of the fact that Christians may have been targeted, mainly because it serves their aim of trying to prove that Christians are just as put-upon as Muslims, if not more so. The point is, what does it matter? People are people and don’t deserve to die at the hands of some fanatic who’s using religion as a rationale for killing people. It’s not like we all walk around with our religion tattooed on our forehead.
After the Brussels bombing, another horrible tragedy, even though we have no idea how many Christians, Muslims or Jews were killed or maimed, there were people all over social media and even in my real life, who were complaining about the notion that “Muslim leaders” were disturbingly quiet. Again, most of these people proudly proclaim their “political junkie” or “news junkie” status everywhere they go. But they keep getting the facts wrong; how does that happen?
“Muslim leaders” did speak up after the Brussels bombing, and every one of them condemned it in no uncertain terms. For example, in Orange County, California:
Muslim leaders strongly condemned the attacks in the Belgian capital of Brussels, Tuesday, that left at least 34 dead and about 230 injured. At the same time, they called for positive action in response to the bombings, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.
“A tragedy like this puts Muslims on the spot,” said Anila Ali, Irvine resident and city council candidate who founded American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council. “But these attacks are wake-up calls for Muslims. Silence is no longer an option.”
Recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have created an atmosphere of “inhibited fear” against Muslims, Ali said.
“I didn’t see as much of that even after 9/11 as I have seen after the San Bernardino attacks,” she said. “Doctors are losing patients because they are Muslim. Kids in schools are being called terrorists. Women are being discriminated against because they wear the traditional dress.”
Muslim communities should become more open to working with law enforcement instead of being suspicious of federal government programs such as Countering Violent Extremism, Ali said.
“We need to participate,” she said. “If we don’t, how will we have a seat at the table and how will we have a voice?” (Source)
How clear do they have to make it? They are condemning the actions of terrorists and asking not to be terrorized themselves, which is the least they should expect, don’t you think? And that’s in Orange County, California, not exactly a bastion of liberalism and what right wingers like to call “political correctness.” They were not alone. On the other side of the country, in the Orange County located in Florida, they were also vocal:
Reaction to the terror in Brussels continues to come in from political leaders across the country.
WESH 2 News is also hearing from Central Florida’s Muslim community, which is condemning the attacks.
“This is not what our religion is about. This is not what Islam is about,” said Imam Helmi El Agha, the executive director of the American Muslim Leadership Council.
El Agha said the news of Tuesday morning’s terror attacks in Brussels was both disturbing and devastating.
“I want to send out our prayers to the families of the victims of the attacks in Brussels and in Turkey a few days ago. The American Muslim community condemns such acts. Islam does not condone such violence,” El Agha said.
El Agha said he felt he had to do something to show that the local Muslim-American community stands in solidarity with the people of Brussels.
“When we see something like this, it does hurt us, but it should not stop us,” El Agha said.
El Agha said blaming Muslim-Americans for the problems is harmful and hurtful.
“It hurts, and I think [there’s] increased rhetoric we’ve seen from Donald Drumpf capitalizing on the moment and instilling fear and getting votes,” El Agha said.
El Agha said the key to finding peace is having an open dialogue about the situation.
“Unfortunately, some people wait until it’s too late. And will only talk when bad things happen, but I’m hoping this will not happen and that the dialogue will continue and we can keep people in our community and America safe,” El Agha said. (Source)
Again, I am forced to ask, are these people “Muslim leaders”? I mean, I suppose the American Muslim Leadership Council could be an astroturf group created by the evil Koch Brothers to screw with us, but somehow, I doubt it. At the very least, I would like to think American Muslims would take them to court.
The opposition wasn’t limited to the outer edges of the country, either. Take what happened in Chicago on behalf of the largest Muslim-American advocacy group in the country:
A Chicago-area Muslim group is condemning the terror attacks in Brussels that killed 31 people and wounded scores of others.
The head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago said his heart and prayers go out to the people of Belgium. He also voiced concern over the political fallout from the attacks.
“Even the mere question, ‘Do Muslims condemn this?’ to me is an affront to our humanity. It goes without saying. If you look at Facebook, Muslims are only talking about this. They’re angry. They’re upset, just like anybody else,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago.
Rehab warned against stigmatizing Muslims, saying those behind the Brussels attack should not be considered religious terrorists.
“Muslims have been killed by ISIS and al-Qaeda – a lot more in number than anybody else of any other faith,” Rehab said. “Even if they were to warp the religious texts, which they do, you always, always, always have to have the ingredient of political radicalization.” (Source)
And he’s right. Just as the crap that Cruz and other Republicans spout on the campaign trail and in the halls of our federal and state capitals does not smack of anything Jesus reportedly said while he was here, nothing these people do makes them actual Muslims.
The gist of this post is, once again, get the facts straight. That’s all anyone can ask. It is not a fact that “Muslim leaders” don’t condemn these attacks. The fact that you don’t hear something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.