Did Religious Groups Do Enough After 9/11 to Heal the Nation?

I’ve heard from some friends that it’s an awkwardly worded question, but that’s the jumping-off point for my current Washington Post On Faith column. An excerpt is below:

Have Muslims done enough to heal this nation? As a whole, no.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Muslims in America are good citizens who have been unfairly maligned in the past decade. They obviously don’t support terrorism; they want to worship in peace.

The problem is that, when someone legitimately criticizes Islam’s treatment of women, or points out some of the horrific things the Qur’an says, or draws an image of Muhammad, they cower back and say next to nothing in defense of free speech.

That’s my biggest problem with the “moderates.” They’re quick to reject Muslims who are violent, but also quick to condemn anyone who has good reason to criticize Islam itself.

Leave comments there to show you care :)

  • http://centerforinquiry.net/dc Simon

    Can you clarify what women’s rights have to do with 9/11 healing?

  • Kyle N.

    I don’t know. I think religious groups trying to “heal” the nation after an event like 9/11 is much like using fire to heal a burn patient. Maybe it has a homeopathic effect?

  • Nikki Bluue

    I care! I care! I care! *waves*

    I think that they are similar to christians in that way—many may be over-sensitive.

    And too many won’t understand that criticism often means constructive criticism…it isn’t just to rip it apart and take away the person’s faith. Many religious folks seem not to understand this. Being critiqued could be a form of compliment, if taken in the right context. :-)

  • Andrew

    Wait, why do Muslims have to heal this nation? All of Islam didn’t fly those planes at the WTC. Please explain why my neighbors in Queens, who’ve been living here for decades and who were probably terrified for their loved ones and for the safety of themselves and their Mosques, are responsible for speaking up whenever some terrorist shmuck happens to be wearing a turban.

    Are Jews required to speak up every time somebody named Cohen makes a lot of money and throws an overly lavish party? Does the population of Bedford-Stuyvesant have to personally apologize to me if I get mugged by a black man who calls me “cracker-ass”?

    Jesus Christ, Hemant. Muslims right now are scared for their lives and they’re responsible for less domestic terrorism and erosion of civil rights than most of the other religions and wacky groups in this country. Atheists and secularists need to be standing up for religious freedom, for the right of the individual believer to live his/her own life without being lumped in with a bunch of violent extremists who also read the same stupid book, and the right of Muslims to not have to defend their existence. If our tenet is that ALL religions are crazy, then singling out Muslims – as we all-too-often do – smells an awful lot like dangerous Othering.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    This is a great article!

    “That’s my biggest problem with the ‘moderates.’ They’re quick to reject Muslims who are violent, but also quick to condemn anyone who has good reason to criticize Islam itself.”

    Exactly. While I often want to be allies with Muslims who are being discriminated against, I get upset when moderates then demand that members of their own religion should be exempt from criticism, even if they do something wrong.

    I really like that you are able to combine respecting people’s rights while expressing disagreement with them; it’s something that I think more people should do.

    Given all the controversy recently and the many, many articles being written, I felt inspired (and a bit compelled) to write a blog entry about it myself.

    @Simon: I can’t speak for Hemant, obviously, but the treatment of women is one of the big problems within Islam. While it may not be directly related to 9/11, it is one of the extreme ideologies that cause lots of harm. Some of the moderates who condemn terrorist attacks such as 9/11 still do other wrong things, such as discriminate against women.

    @Andrew: I agree that we should not single out one religion. I don’t think Hemant was doing that, though, since he mentioned other groups in the article as well.

  • p.s.

    I agree with andrew. It’s not their responsibility to heal us and it’s unfair to expect them to do so.
    I supported draw Muhammad day, but I don’t support “burn the koran day” (in the ethical/useful sense, not in the legal sense). I also support the park 51 community center. I don’t see any conflict in any of those positions and I don’t appreciate being misrepresented as an islamic apologist.

  • muggle

    I wish I could agree with you that Atheists haven’t been as bad as other groups with attacking Muslims but geeze, yes, we are. I wish it were just critiquing the religion itself but, no, they’ve been there at the forefront — particularly the most vocal Atheists — screaming against Park 51.

    Our saving grace is some of them have. Other vocal Atheists have been at the foreground calling for reason in the Ground Zero Mosque controversary. But it is split. We do not come up squeaky clean and blameless in this one. For every FFRF and Hemant Metha speaking up for reason, there’s a Harris and Condell raging like a Tea Party candidate.

    Simon, you kidding me? Plenty. The same thing shooting abortion doctors does frankly. The terroists were religious extremists who want to institute sharia law. Women don’t fare too well under sharia law. And look at the motivation for flying those airplanes into buildings. 72 virgins in heaven. I’d say women’s rights have quite a bit to do with the whole damned thing.

  • jose

    Averroes was the Voltaire of Islam. Sadly, Muslims don’t seem to agree with him. I don’t really know even whether he’s a well known figure among Muslims.

    In fact, he was kind of an accommodationist. Non overlapping magisteria and all.

  • Roxane

    I wish I COULD go there to comment, but I’m finding it impossible to register with the Post.

    Alas, just because atheists share the view that there is no god, it doesn’t mean that we share views about how to handle the political aspect. I know a couple of Tea Party atheists, after all.

    But I’ve seen more divergence among atheists about this stupid little bookburning than about any other issue. Somebody like Pat Condell is frankly more freaked out because he feels that his country is being overrun by what he regards as a backward religion, so yeah, he’s kind of over the top just now. I just wish the governor of Arizona would watch his videos–and perhaps learn to be grateful that our illegals are Latinos, and being Christian, have at least more commonality with most of our population.

    We can ask for religions to make peace and advance healing, but I don’t see any of them in the mood to do anything but cover their own backsides. The Catholics are rallying around a criminal pope. American Protestants are feeling discriminated against because they’re being criticized. Muslims in the US are, understandably, laying low. And one lousy little pipsqueak in Florida with a congregation of a couple of dozen has divided and hamstrung the atheists. Doesn’t say much for us, does it?

    I just read that the Quran burning has been cancelled. Maybe everybody can step back and take a deep breath and try to regain our rationality.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I’ve also noticed that there are some atheists who specifically single out a certain religion unfairly and sometimes make excuses for others. This bothers me, because I don’t think replacing one bad religion with another is going to improve our situation.

  • http://reproductionfails.wordpress.com/ Mazz

    I’m an American. Stupid Terry Jones has his right to burn korans, even though he says he won’t do it now, and stupid muslims can build their community center. We can have stupid scientology centers, we can have jerkface JW’s peddle their nonsense, we can have pagans dancing in groves, we can have whatever other stupid shit done in the name of religion, because that’s how America is wired, but I don’t have to smile and nod blindly. That is my freedom as well, to call it like I see it. As long as I do not commit any crimes, as long as I do not break any laws, I can do/say what I want in the religious playground.

    I find it all silly and counterproductive to us as a country, and I can express that view. I find sharia law disgusting. I find christian teachings disgusting, and I find jewish, all abramaic laws disgusting, and the woo of the new age and pagans extremely detrimental.

    That’s just me. What I love about my country is we are supposed to be able to tolerate (and I don’t mean that in the tough-jaw I-will-put-up-with-this way, but truly tolerate other views.

    Have you ever burnt a book? I burned a bible once, and it makes a mess, and is disgusting to smell.

    If I could program the perfect life it would be free from nonsense and everyone striving towards better circumstances for themselves, but not everyone wants that. And no one, least of all myself has the answers.

  • http://www.harvardhumanist.org Jonathan Figdor

    Hemant hit the nail on the head again. Muslims are a persecuted minority, but they would be a significantly less persecuted minority if large numbers of moderate and liberal Muslims were to loudly and publicly condemn acts of terrorism such as the 9/11 attacks, the threats on the lives of the South Park cartoonists for drawing Muhammad, and the fatwa condemning Salman Rushdie to death. And to the media, do a better job of contacting liberal Muslim groups and stop giving fringe lunatic such a huge voice!

  • Richard P.

    Did they do enough?? Fuck, did they do anything??

  • GSW

    @Andrew:
    I disagree, it is all a matter of money. The really big ‘Selling-plots-in-heaven’ cons all charge their members cash. A good muslim pays his monthly percentage and asks not whence it goes.

    Islam is, understandably, a few hundred years behind the other religions and has not yet worn-out its credibility for being the absolute direct-line to a god.

    Like the other religions earlier, it still believes it has a right to run a theocracy, and mixes political & territorial aims with spiritual guidance.

    While most muslims remain islamophobic (i.e. afraid of upsetting their imams by speaking out), we secularists are going to heap a little of the blame on them.

    Let us start using the term islamaphobia correctly – to describe those too cowardly to oppose apartheid!

  • Randy

    I find it disturbing that if anyone does anything the muslim “community” dislikes they turn violent. Protests against those who are against the mosque, against the koran burner, against cartoons, etc, etc, etc. Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf in an interview clearly stated if this mosque debacle isn’t “handled correctly” there will be repurcussions greater than the cartoons. Why are we protecting this? Why are you acting like this is ok? Whats far more telling is when a muslim commits an act of terrorism, for example, the muslim “community” says nothing. You may have a token imam on the podium with other religious leaders, but where is the outrage from the “community”. Someone mentioned “they are fearful of thier imam”, so we give them a pass? Don’t hold them accountable? I am disgusted at the response the koran burner has gotten. Generals, politicians and the damn PRESIDENT condeming the act not for the act itself but out of fear. Fear of the insane violence that will result.

    What we’re seeing is history repeating itself. Europe learned the hard way what ignoring the Nazi Party would bring. Now in this climate of “political correctness” and inclusivism we’re setting ourselves up for another tragedy.

  • p.s.

    Randy:
    what counter protests for park 51 have turned violent? what violent reaction has there been in the states to the koran burning? and were you refering to this quote?

    RAUF: As I just mentioned, our national security now hinges on how we negotiate this, how we speak about it, and what we do. It is important for us now to raise the bar on our conversation–

    O’BRIEN: What’s the risk? When you say “national security,” what’s the risk?

    RAUF: As I mentioned, because if we move, that means the radicals have shaped the discourse. The radicals will shape the discourse on both sides. And those of us who are moderates on both sides — you see Soledad, the battle front is not between Muslims and non-Muslims. The real battle front is between moderates on all sides of all the faith traditions and the radicals on all sides. The radicals actually feed off each other. And in some kind of existential way, need each other. And the more that the radicals are able to control the discourse on one side, it strengthens the radicals on the other side and vice versa.

    yeah, you can tell rauf really loves those radicals…

  • p.s.

    What we’re seeing is history repeating itself. Europe learned the hard way what ignoring the Nazi Party would bring. Now in this climate of “political correctness” and inclusivism we’re setting ourselves up for another tragedy.

    yes, because all of islam is exactly like the nazi party. So much paranoia and so little facts. But I do agree that history is repeating itself. We are clearly entering a new era of McCarthyism.

  • Randy

    what counter protests for park 51 have turned violent?

    None, you misunderstood.

  • Randy

    And p.s., you missed a bit slick!

    O’BRIEN: But the controversy itself–
    RAUF: So the Cordoba house —
    O’BRIEN: –though, right, isn’t that causing to some degree an instability and a risk, a risk of safety? I mean, there’s an address now that has become the flash point for a lot of anger. Isn’t that a risk to Muslims and Americans?
    RAUF: There is a certain anger here, no doubt. But if you don’t do this right, anger will explode in the Muslim world. If this is not handled correctly, this crisis could become much bigger than the Danish cartoon crisis, which resulted in attacks on Danish embassies in various parts of the Muslim world. And we have a much larger footprint in the Muslim world. If we don’t handle this crisis correctly, it could become something which could really become very, very, very dangerous indeed.

    Now did I SAY he he loved the radicals? No I said:

    Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf in an interview clearly stated if this mosque debacle isn’t “handled correctly” there will be repurcussions greater than the cartoons.

    Your attitude is part of the problem. Take off the PC blinders.

  • p.s.

    I find it disturbing that if anyone does anything the muslim “community” dislikes they turn violent. Protests against those who are against the mosque, against the koran burner, against cartoons, etc, etc, etc.

    What exactly were you implying with this quote then?

    My attitude is just fine. He is not suggesting that anyone should attack americans if the mosque is moved. He is merely suggesting that if it is moved, it could possibly be used as a recruiting tool for the extremists *in afghanistan*, which is completely true. I didn’t think he was trying to “scare” anybody into believing him either. I watched the whole interview. Perhaps if you told me exactly which part you objected with, we could discuss it. I just don’t understand what you think imam rauf is protecting, or what you think I am protecting.

  • p.s.

    …and here is the rest of the interview, right after the bit you think I ‘missed’:

    O’BRIEN: Do you ask yourself how did you miss that? I mean, it’s been your life’s mission, and you and I have spoken in the past years, to build bridges and reach out. And yet, given what you know now, would you have built?

    RAUF: As I mentioned it, this story is not new. People knew about it.

    O’BRIEN: Right, but given what you know now, would you have said, listen, let’s not do it there? Because it sounds like you’re saying in retrospect wouldn’t have done it.

    RAUF: Well, yes.

    O’BRIEN: You would not have done it?

    RAUF: If I knew this would happen, this would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it. My life has been devoted to peacemaking.

    O’BRIEN: There are so many people who say, so if you’re saying it was a mistake, then why can’t you get out of it and not do it?

    RAUF: Because we have to now make sure that whatever we do actually results in greater peace, not in greater conflict.

  • Randy

    I have to ask this, were you conscious during the 2006 “Cartoon Jihad”?

  • Randy

    I hate to tell you this, but Imam Rauf is irrelevent. What he thinks or what he says means nothing. Its the “peaceful muslim communities” around the world.

  • p.s.

    yes, and I thought “draw Muhammad day” was fantastic.

    I hate to tell you this, but Imam Rauf is irrelevent. What he thinks or what he says means nothing. Its the “peaceful muslim communities” around the world.

    …ok, never mind that rauf represents one of those peaceful muslim communities…

    what is your beef with them?

  • Randy

    Hmmm. Lets take a step back shall we?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/islam/muhammad_cartoons_timeline.html

    “draw muhammad day”?

  • Lost Left Coaster

    I agree with what Andrew said toward the top of the comments. And I’m very disturbed by Hemant’s use of “they they they” in his piece, speaking about Muslims as if they are some sort of monolith. Also, as is so typical of these quick newspaper opinion pieces, there is no evidence cited for many of the points made, so it’s just a bunch of strawmen about how Muslims don’t defend freedom of speech or accept criticism of their religion. The truth is, of course, that some Muslims do in fact defend freedom of speech and accept criticism of their religion. I personally know many who do. And some don’t. And it is a complex issue that your piece really did not address in any substantial or useful way.

  • p.s.

    It was in response to people who threatened violence on people who depicted Muhammad. It was more in response to the whole south park nonsense, but i think it applies to the cartoonist as well.
    draw muhammed!

    And I thought we were talking about peaceful muslims? Obviously people who think violence is the proper response to a cartoon are not peaceful. So can you just tell me what your point is so I don’t have to keep guessing? And maybe assume that I am reasonably caught up on current events?

    here is nice quote from a muslim american regarding the southpark issue (I know it’s not dannish cartoons, but it’s recent and therefore easier to find):

    The mainstream American Muslim community, including my own organization, has also strongly repudiated the few members of an extremist fringe group who appeared to threaten the creators of “South Park.” That group, the origins and makeup of which has been questioned by many Muslims, has absolutely no credibility within the American Muslim community.

  • ManaCostly

    I care enough to post, bu not to post anything meaningful.

  • muggle

    I love it. Here we go again with the same old, why aren’t the moderate Muslims speaking up but the second they do, the same people faulting them for not doing so are the exact same ones who equate them with the violent terrorists they’re condemning and start protesting them and saying they should be stopped before they institute sharia law (which would take a revolution, btw, since it is not constitutional). Park 51 has shown that. A gesture of peace from Muslims has been roundly rejected by most of non-Islamic America.

    p.s. well said. Much more like McCartyism.

    I’m still waiting for any of these who think Park 51 should move to answer if Rosa Parks should have given up her seat? After all, it’s the same principal. Moving Park 51 would definitely be the worst move Rauf could make.

  • Randy

    Two things:

    1)When did moderate muslims speak up or protest radical islam? I would be interested in reading about it.

    2)Both of you need to look up “McCarthyism” and find out what it really was!

  • p.s.

    1) *sigh*
    here, here, here, here, here, and here is a great big list.
    Too bad people speaking *against* violence doesn’t attract much media attention. You would probably be a bit more aware of the position of moderate muslims if it did.

    2) it is exactly like mccarthyism if you replace communism with islam (did you at least see that connection?). It has been politicized, american muslims are being attacked for the views of muslims in a completely different country, and people who think islam isn’t all bad are labeled as apologetics or worse.

  • Randy

    1) Thats great, but not enough. They need to show “Joe Public” they are against the violence. The reason they don’t is they fear their own people/religion. You can find far more jihadist/anti-American websites so I’m sorry, fail! Look at the effort atheists are putting forth to change public perception, and atheists aren’t mass murderers.

    2) The difference between the two, which of course you fail to realize, is islam is responsible for 9/11, shoe bomber, underwear bomber, USS Cole, Time Square bomber, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. So the attempt to associate a witch hunt with actual threats to the US is sad.

  • muggle

    Good work, p.s.!

    Randy, just how fucking much do you require? It’s a pity Muslims can’t force the faux newsteams to cover what they say. Then it might penetrate. Exactly how is it their fault that when they do speak out, it just isn’t covered?

    Fail? No, only if your mind is made up to be a hatriot no matter what. You asked for links and p.s. gave you plenty. He could bring a hundred more and you’d still sit there and say not enough. It appears that, to you, if one Muslim is guilty, they all are. Epic logic fail.

    Does that Atheist shooter at the Discovery Channel mean we should be targeted? Does Stalin? I’m sure there were plenty of other Atheists who killed. I’m too lazy and time is much too precious a commodity to waste searching the internet because your mind is obviously made up.

    You want to go after all Muslims because of some extremists. Just curious, you going after Christians and Jews too. Because certainly their holy books are just as vile as the Koran.

  • Randy

    Hi Muggle!

    First off, take a pill or something and calm down.

    It’s a very easy concept to understand really unless your mind is already made up to accept everything that is spoon fed you. As I said above, a public effort needs to be made. Your claim that the media just isn’t covering the effort is weak at best. I applaud their effort to reach thier own, which is all those websites p.s. indicated will do, hopefully.

    You want to go after all Muslims because of some extremists. Just curious, you going after Christians and Jews too. Because certainly their holy books are just as vile as the Koran.

    Please…christians and jews would be on the streets condemning the acts. Hell, they hit the streets condemning the koran burning! I may add the president was far more concerned with muslims being insulted by the burning than 9/11 family members by the mosque. Wonder why, oh yeah, they won’t run around burning and killing!

    My simple message is this, make a more concerted, public effort to distance themselves from the radicals. Your excuse of “no media coverage” is weak. Fail.

  • p.s.

    randy,

    I think it’s ridiculous that making *thousands* webpages dedicated to denouncing islamic extremism isn’t enough. Do you want something more tangible? how about:
    -constructing a community center open to people of all faiths to demonstrate the peaceful nature of moderate muslims (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about)
    - what about creating an interfaith organization between christians and islams to fight religious bigotry towards non-muslims in the middle east?

    And of course you know about the efforts of atheists to improve their image. YOU ARE READING AN ATHEIST BLOG. Try a few of these:

    http://www.islamagainstterrorism.com/index_english.htm
    http://www.freemuslims.org/
    http://theamericanmuslim.net/

    We had plenty of reasons to fear communism as well. The cold war was very real, and the soviet union was a viable threat. Holding peaceful american muslims (many who lost loved ones in some of the tragedies you listed) responsible for the violent extremists is not fair.
    just out of curiosity, what would be “public” enough?

  • p.s.

    and just so you know that not all 9/11 victims are against park51:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park51#9.2F11_families_2

  • Randy

    and just so you know that not all 9/11 victims are against park51

    Good to hear!

  • Randy

    Muggle,

    When you use terms like “hatriot” your argument is lost.

  • B.J.

    Randy,

    So far, you have claimed that Imam Rauf has failed to be a voice of peace and moderation. When shown to be wrong you claimed that

    I hate to tell you this, but Imam Rauf is irrelevent.

    Next, you argued that moderate Muslims in the western world do not denounce the radical activities of a fundamental few in the Middle East. When given a list of contradictory evidence you claimed

    Thats great, but not enough. They need to show “Joe Public” they are against the violence. The reason they don’t is they fear their own people/religion. You can find far more jihadist/anti-American websites so I’m sorry, fail!

    Let’s ignore the fact that ‘not enough’ is a completely subjective measure based on your own opinion, and that jihadist websites are not a product of the moderate Muslims who strive for peace. The real problem with your argument is your last statement:

    My simple message is this, make a more concerted, public effort to distance themselves from the radicals. Your excuse of “no media coverage” is weak. Fail.

    Why should moderate Muslims in the western world, who hold the same western values that we do, have to actively state their opposition to the activities of radicals across the globe? If “Joe Public” is not aware of these moderate Muslims’ dissent from radicalism, it is because they are unwilling to weigh the evidence for themselves. I would bet that this same ‘Joe Public’ you hold in such high regard is clearly able to make a distinction between pedophile priests and the majority of the Catholic clergy, yet you see very few ‘moderate catholics’ actively denouncing the offending few. Would you, Randy, also agree that all catholics should make a much greater effort to denounce sex abuse perpetrators or else they risk:

    acting like this is ok

  • No

    Hemant Mehta has the typical characteristics of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris fans. Obsessed with religion, ignorant when it comes to politics and social issues of the world. The fact that you admire two neocons who have been cheerleaders for two unjust wars says quite a lot. However what do you expect from Hemant, this “free thinking” atheist who gets his news about the Gaza Massacre from the mainstream media, specifically left wing Zionist Rachel Maddow, and titles the blog post “Israel situation explained”…are you kidding me?

    Hemant’s article on whether religious groups(ironically he mentions atheists) done enough to heal the nation? Whether moderate Muslims have been publicly vocal in denouncing extremism, and not being offended when others offend them. Whether Christians and atheists have done enough to treat Muslims fairly. His answers are unbiased of course. Christians, no. Muslims, no. Atheists, “that is more difficult to tell” lol sure it is. Hemant and his friendly atheist crew participated in Draw Muhammad Day(an event where people who don’t usually get along, right wing Christians and “free thinking” atheists, got together in a mob mentality to express their freedoms at Muslims, who apparently are going to take away their freedoms)yet he and many of his fans condemn Quran burning. Why? Could it possibly be because Christians are doing it? Hemant if you think Quran burning is not treating the Muslims fairly, I’ve got news for ya, Draw Muhammad Day did not either. You can’t participate in one event offending Muslims,and condemn another event for offending Muslims. Either be indifferent to both, or condemn both, I really respect me fellow non believers who discouraged both, or else they’d just be hypocrites.

    I expect behavior like this from right wing Christians, but not from those who consider themselves “free thinkers”. The truth is most of these self proclaimed free thinkers are pawns of the propaganda. America is in how many unjust wars right now? Three, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Israel is trying to convince the great US to go to war with Iran. All four countries are Muslim majority. The anti Muslim sentiments benefits Israel and America government’s causes for these current failed wars. Muslims in America are a minority with no power, they have spoken ou t against extremism even a fatwa against terrorism, even if they don’t so what? They have bills,school, and family to think about. They are not prioritizing “Oh how can I please all those people who think I support terrorism”. Having to apologize means you are guilty, almost 2 billion Muslims did not do 911. If you think majority of Muslims are indifferent to terrorism, that’s your problem, no one has to get your approval, you’re not that important.

  • Randy

    So far, you have claimed that Imam Rauf has failed to be a voice of peace and moderation. When shown to be wrong you claimed that

    Show me where I said that. I only mentioned Rauf and one comment during an interview and p.s. added the rest.

    Why should moderate Muslims in the western world, who hold the same western values that we do, have to actively state their opposition to the activities of radicals across the globe?

    Wow, are you blind? People claim how all muslims are being unfairly lumped in with the violent fundies and you ask why they need to make a very clear distinction? So complaining and claiming persecution without any effort to sway public opinion looks like they support the fundies. Websites are great for communicating within the muslim community, but as I said a more public display needs to be held. Pedophile priests, while vile, are not on the same level as a suicide bomber, weak.

  • Randy

    And of course you know about the efforts of atheists to improve their image. YOU ARE READING AN ATHEIST BLOG. Try a few of these

    Those were interesting, especially the Fox coverage considering everyone likes to dog pile them. If it can be shown that media outlets are not giving appropriate coverage they need to be called on it.

    I personally enjoyed my time in the Middle East, though Karachi is a pit. I know most muslims are decent, hard working people who are all blamed for the radicals. I also know, from talking to friends and co-workers, that they do not see the moderates doing enough to sway their opinion. If such a small portion of the US population thinks this, what do the rest see?

  • No

    My comment was censored…didn’t this website participate in Draw Muhammad Day, which was about fighting useless censorship? Hemant Mehta you are a hypocrite.

  • B.J.

    Randy,

    In your first post you said,

    Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf in an interview clearly stated if this mosque debacle isn’t “handled correctly” there will be repurcussions greater than the cartoons. Why are we protecting this? Why are you acting like this is ok?

    which implies that Imam Feisel is somehow protecting radicals instead of condemning them. If this were true, it would be a failure on his part to be a voice of moderation. However, it was clearly shown to be false in a later point in that interview.

    Now lets get back to the crux of your argument. Ignoring my potential (and completely irrelevant) inability to see, let us start here:

    So complaining and claiming persecution without any effort to sway public opinion looks like they support the fundies.

    First, you can no longer say “without any effort” as you have been shown a significant amount of effort made via one of the most effective tools of communication in the world (the internet). Second, Muslims are unfairly stereotyped but it is not their responsibility to correct other peoples’ ignorance. It is optional for people like Imam Feisal who want to actively fix that stereotype. Here is a relevant analogy. There was/is an unfair stereotype that Black people are criminals. It is based on pre-formed prejudices and a ultra-small minority, just like anti-Muslim sentiment. However, nobody would argue that Blacks are obligated to make public appearances to proclaim their legal lifestyle. While some may, those who do not definitely don’t risk appearing to support crime. It is clear that Blacks are not inherently criminals because the vast majority simply don’t rob people, just like the vast majority of Muslims show they are moderate by not flying planes into buildings. Even though they aren’t on TV all day, it should be clear to an unbiased observer that it does not:

    look[s] like they support the fundies.

    The only people who lump moderate and extreme Muslims together are those who simply do not have enough information (often willingly).

    As for the priests, I never claimed that pedophile priests are as evil as radical terrorists. I only said that in one case, ‘Joe Public’ is able to make the distinction between offenders and non-offenders, and in the other case ‘Joe Public’ refuses to make a distinction between moderates and radicals.
    As a final note, if you want to see

    a more public display

    maybe search for some info regarding this:
    http://www.time.com/time/europe/photoessays/vigil/index.html
    I’m glad that Time was willing to cover it.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    As I said above, a public effort needs to be made.

    What kind of public effort would satisfy you?

    Muslims Combating Extremism

    This looks like a pretty clear and concerted public effort.

  • Randy

    Anna,

    Fantastic! And then this first comment:

    Very few non-Muslims are aware that Muslims have consistently and loudly condemned militant violence, but, sadly, their voices have not been heard. How this can be addressed and changed is a matter for those in the medias and in politics and in the religious world that are persons of good will, who do not have axes to grind, and who are not afraid to stand up for the truth.

    Gee, think I said something similar

  • Randy

    Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf in an interview clearly stated if this mosque debacle isn’t “handled correctly” there will be repurcussions greater the cartoons. Why are we protecting this? Why are you acting like this is ok?

    I guess you can imply whatever you believe, but my only reference at ALL to the imam was just the quote, other than that he was irrelevent.

    First, you can no longer say “without any effort” as you have been shown a significant amount of effort made via one of the most effective tools of communication in the world (the internet).

    And you will see I acknowleded that, but turn on the TV and see how public opinion
    has been changed. It hasn’t at all.

    As I pointed out,why are athiests using billboards, TV interviews and booths at various events? I mean, shouldn’t the most effective tools for communication be enough? You can ALL say “their doing this”, but I watch the news regularly and there is nothing. As I also said above, if the media can be shown to have a anti-islamic bias (and with as liberal a media we have now, fat chance) Then it should be dealt with. The only publis effort I’ve seen happened here in Nebraska with an islamic org putting informative leaflets in coupon packs. THAT reaches the American people, not islamic websites.

    Anna asked what would be enough for me, hate to burst your bubble but I don’t care.I only care about our government showing weakness to islamic thugs. Walking around the capital of a muslim country and seeing a women with a dead baby begging for food or a cop breaking the arm of a small girl also begging really gives me a dim view of thier culture.

  • p.s.

    no randy, what you said was this:

    Whats far more telling is when a muslim commits an act of terrorism, for example, the muslim “community” says nothing. You may have a token imam on the podium with other religious leaders, but where is the outrage from the “community”.

    and this:

    Please…christians and jews would be on the streets condemning the acts. Hell, they hit the streets condemning the koran burning! I may add the president was far more concerned with muslims being insulted by the burning than 9/11 family members by the mosque. Wonder why, oh yeah, they won’t run around burning and killing!

    My simple message is this, make a more concerted, public effort to distance themselves from the radicals. Your excuse of “no media coverage” is weak. Fail.

    We have been pointing out huge communities of muslims who openly oppose the violent extremists. When *I* pointed out that the media does not cover the muslims against violence (as your quote directly implies) you said my argument was weak. I think it’s great that you seem to have changed your mind, but at least have the guts to admit you were wrong.

  • p.s.

    As I also said above, if the media can be shown to have a anti-islamic bias (and with as liberal a media we have now, fat chance) Then it should be dealt with.

    Yes. By the media. Not the targets of this ridiculous fear mongering.
    Not that it really matters, but Fox is the most watched news station in the states. Why do you think the majority of news is liberal?

    I only care about our government showing weakness to islamic thugs. Walking around the capital of a muslim country and seeing a women with a dead baby begging for food or a cop breaking the arm of a small girl also begging really gives me a dim view of thier culture.

    This argument is an appeal to emotion, and a weak one too. You would find those conditions in any poverty stricken country. And it has absolutely nothing to do with western muslims (the primary topic of this conversation). The way you phrase this makes it seem like you think that all muslims want to live in a place filled with dead babies, starving women, and frequent beatings. I agree that thugs of any religion are a problem and should be dealt with. But the vast majority of western muslims are not thugs, and you shouldn’t lump them together.

  • p.s.
  • p.s.

    and http://www.muslimfamilyday.com/
    and http://www.whyislam.org/Subway/tabid/178/Default.aspx
    and http://www.whyislam.org/AboutUs/tabid/182/Default.aspx
    notice that whyislam, and organization dedicated to improving the image of islam and teaching people about it, put up billboards, booths at malls, radio ads, subway ads, and newspaper ads.


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