A week and a day after the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, there's a palpable sense of unease among the 400 men and women gathered for Friday prayers at the American Muslim Center in Dearborn, Mich., 1,350 miles away. In his sermon, lay preacher Hani Ayyad is careful not to mention Major Nidal Malik Hasan by name but repeatedly inveighs against "those who try to hijack our deen [faith], who distort, tarnish and darken it." Worshippers know exactly who he means. (“Postcard from Dearborn”).Maybe worshippers do know exactly who he means. It’s the rest of us who don’t know exactly who he means.
Does he mean Imam Luqman Abdullah? Does he mean Anwar al-Alakwi? Does he mean al Zawahiri? Does he mean Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood? Does he mean Yusuf al-Qaradawi? For all that, does he even really mean Major Nidal Malik Hasan?
The writer doesn’t explain why Ayyad felt the need to be careful not to mention Hasan by name while inveighing against "hijackers" of the faith. If what Hasan did was so incontrovertibly outside of acceptable Islamic belief and practice, then why not say so? Is it because there are members of the community who wouldn’t agree?
This is exactly where the statements of Muslim leaders purporting to condemn terrorism fall short. They condemn terrorism generically without managing to condemn terrorists by name. Hasan is the exception that proves the rule. And because, as far as we know, he was a lone wolf unconnected to any bona fide international jihadist organization, imams can rip on him without fear of alienating supporters of international groups linked to terrorism.
For years CAIR, the puppet organization of the Muslim Brotherhood that openly supports both Hamas and Hezbollah, has been pretending to condemn terrorism while never exactly condemning terrorists, terror activities, or terrorist groups. CAIR’s leaders, like the Dearborn preacher, are also careful not to mention names, trusting that listeners will know exactly what they mean--or what they don’t mean.
Like CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper last year, when he was asked specifically by an NBC interviewer to answer whether or not CAIR supported Hamas and Hezbollah. “Hooper asserted that CAIR has always condemned acts of terrorism, but then ‘would not answer whether CAIR condemns those designated terrorist groups themselves.’” Then he cut the interviewer off. (“CAIR’s True Colors”).
Then there was this exchange on Fox News last year with CAIR national legislative affairs director Corey Saylor, refusing to say that CAIR condemns Hamas and Hezbollah:
Reporter David Lee Miller:That’s clear enough.
"Can you sit here now and in just one sentence tell me- CAIR condemns Hamas and CAIR condemns Hezbollah?"
"I'm telling you in a very clear fashion – CAIR condemns terrorist acts, whoever commits them, wherever they commit them, whenever they commit them."
David Lee Miller:
"That's not the same thing as saying you condemn Hamas and you condemn Hezbollah."
"Well I recognize that you don't like my answer to the question, but that's the answer to the question."
David Lee Miller:
"It's not no, it's not whether I like it or dislike it. I was asking whether or not you can sit here now and say- CAIR condemns Hamas or Hezbollah. If you don't want to, just say that. If that is a position your group doesn't take, I certainly accept that. I just want to understand what your answer is." [emphasis added]
"The position that my group takes is that we condemn terrorism on a consistent, persistent basis, wherever it happens, whenever it happens."
When the archbutcher George Tiller was, himself, murdered in Kansas, every pro-life group in America condemned it, specifically, as an act of arbitrary killing that can’t be reconciled with a belief in the sanctity of life.
In spite of the best efforts of the Left and the pro-abortion lobby to use Tiller’s murder to place pro-lifers in a false light as homicidal, theocratic extremists, it didn’t catch on.
That’s because the pro-life movement, for decades, has always presented a consistent witness to the value of life. Rather than part of a pattern, the murder of Tiller was an extremely rare example of an abortion opponent resorting to violence during America’s long, sad era of unlimited abortion.
I endorsed the pro-lifers’ position that taking the law into one’s own hands is wrong, although I stopped well short of joining some of these groups’ expressions of regret or sorrow for the end of Tiller’s genocidal life. But regardless of my reaction to it, the condemnation by the pro-life leaders, consistent as it was with the movement’s actions all these years, dispelled any confusion about whether or not pro-life leaders were truly unsympathetic with Tiller’s murderer.
Muslims in America are facing a nearly opposite problem. And by the "opposite problem" I'm not saying, though folks like me are constantly being accused of saying it, that all Muslims are terrorists. (I've never said that.) The problem is that Hasan’s jihadist massacre was not a rare, uncharacteristic outburst that critics will try to use to uncover the “hypocrisy” of Islam’s peaceful, benevolent message.
Americans are exposed to daily reports from around the world of Islam-inspired violence, threats of violence, and threats of armed conflict against a variety of bitterly hated enemies: against Jews, against Israel, against the United States, against the West, against the Kuffirs, against “crusaders.” Half-hearted declarations follow the most shocking attacks, claiming that they were the work of “hijackers” of one of the world’s greatest religions. But the declarations invariably shatter against the evidence of the attackers’ methodical pre-attack documentation of their jihadist motives, their religious devotion, and their confident self-image as Koran-loving, houri-lovin’ warriors of Allah. Now, who are we going to believe? Ibrahim Hooper, or that dead-jihadi-walking in the video with no reason to lie?
Since 9/11 the Muslim community has failed to present a clear, consistent, principled position towards Islamic terrorism, one by which an outsider can judge the community’s sincerity in responding to actions that shock and dismay the average American. Islam’s nonMuslim defenders aren’t helping, either. It isn’t just the way their obsequious public comments convince the rest of us just how deeply immersed in sand their own heads are on the subject of Islamic terrorism. It’s that the more reflexively insincere they sound while lecturing us how the likes of Hasan is really the exact opposite of a devout Muslim, the more they sound like Jon Lovitz.