Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can't Explain

There’s been no lack of opportunities for Detroit’s Muslim explainers lately. On Friday, Victor Ghalib Begg, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, was at work on the Detroit News op-ed page trying to disconnect some dots in the wake of Ft. Hood:

When Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan took innocent lives in Fort Hood, Texas, last week, Muslim Americans, like most Americans, felt shock, hurt and outrage. But for most Muslims, there is an added dimension of pain. Muslims face the fear of backlash, embarrassment and the constant question of how to prevent future attacks.

Muslim-American leadership must go through a ritual of condemning these acts of violence while speaking out in defense of their faith. (“Muslims shouldn't let rogue gunman silence efforts to educate Americans about their faith”)

Begg was also present for a damage-control press conference the same day. He asked an interesting question:

"Muslims find themselves in a defensive position whenever a person related to the Muslim faith commits an act of violence.

"These sick people go out and shoot people down. When it happens and a Muslim is involved, the focus is on Islam. We have to defend our faith. Wouldn't you?" Begg said.
To which I would reply, yes, I would defend my faith. Which brings up the question for me to Begg and his colleagues, Why aren’t you doing that? To paraphrase Churchill, you’re not doing a very good job defending an indefensible position.

All we hear by way of defense are complaints that Muslims are backlash victims, and charges that negative remarks about Islam come only from from bigots and liars, and increasingly hollowed-out repetitions that Islam is a peaceful religion that nowhere teaches killing.

These are attacks, not defenses. They may win points in the mosques and “the community.” They certainly provide quotes to nonMuslim “Islam-means-peace” advocates who’ve had their head in the sand for years.

But these attacks avoid all the questions that troubled Americans have about Muslims and their religion. Questions that people know aren’t being answered by just being handed a lollipop with “Islam means peace” painted on it. Or watching “Muslim-American leadership...go through a ritual of condemning these acts of violence.” Or, hearing things like what ISNA’s Imam Steve Elturk told the press conference Friday morning, "Islam opposes such actions as committed by Maj. (Nidal Malik) Hasan. The Qur'an considers human life sacred."

Islam does oppose that? The Qur'an does say that about human life?

But why are we seeing so many people being killed in the name of Islam every single day? We can see for ourselves the intolerance of Muslims towards those they consider infidels. We can see that, in majority-Muslim regions, societies are savage and totalitarian; in countries where Muslims are a sizeable minority, their communities are violent, restive, and ungovernable. In many places in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, Muslim women are little better than slaves. In some “Islamic Republics,” men, women, and children are slaves.

And here, in this country, we’ve seen for ourselves that there are many devout, mosque-attending, soldiers of Allah whose religion has them busy working out plans, well or poorly, to kill as many people as they can just because those people are Americans, or because they’re infidels, or because they’re Jews, or because they’re “too Westernized.”

They can’t all be hijackers of Islam, can they?

That’s what needs explaining, and none of these guys is trying to explain it. Instead, they call people like us names, or fret that anti-Muslim pogroms will result if we don’t just drop it about how devoted Hasan was to the Qur'an.

If my faith were under attack, (and it has been), I would answer historical fables with documented facts, and I'd correct misstatements of my beliefs by meticulous reference to my religion’s scriptures and its creeds. I would confound falsifiers who accuse my Church of teaching "X" that she in fact teaches, and has always taught "not X." Then I would sleep peacefully at night, secure that I know what I believe, and why, and its foundation. Then to hell with the bigots who don't want to know, anyway.

My own belief is that the Muslim leaders don’t explain these contradictions between the Islam of peace and the Islam of jihad because they can’t. They’ve gone too far speaking falsely about Islam and what beats at its heart.


Anonymous said...

It is very funny to me how we sometimes know more of what is in their 'holy book' than they do. I'm sure they actually do know the real story. They just guess we will never actually check it out.

West Side Dearborn said...

I have had occasion to discuss the violence of Islam with two Muslim individuals, and they both denied that there were ANY 'sword' verses in the Koran. One of those is a member of Dearborn's Board of Ed. The imam I spoke to, on Detroit's east side, furrowed his brow at the notion. Of course there are 'sword' verses, he said. He was young and educated and very willing to discuss Islam without these strange denials. Thanks to the distribution of the Korans in our neighborhood recently, we all have the verses to read for ourselves.