Imam Imad Enchassi
I think our local newspeople here in Oklahoma have done a fine job of presenting the news about the recent atrocity in our state. They have reported in a straightforward and factual manner. I actually put trust in what they are telling me to be the facts as they know them.
But the national cable news is so rotten with wing-nuttery from both sides of the spectrum that they couldn’t tell the straight facts if the straight facts would serve them best. The gossipy conflab from MSNBC that is shown in the video below reminds me of a bunch of college sophomores, swilling down cheap wine, smoking a toke and trying to outdo one another with their brilliant bits of sarcasm.
When you watch this, bear in mind that these people, who have enough news media gravitas to get on national news, are talking about the grisly murder of an innocent woman.
Did you watch?
In the words of my gay friends, Isn’t that just special?
Unlike the folks in this video, I’m not an absolute total and complete expert on Oklahoma. I’ve lived here all my life, and I have been a community leader in a statewide forum for much of that time, but I am a long way from being able to go on a national forum and give the rest of the world The Word about Oklahoma.
Here’s what I do think I know. I’ll just line it up one, two, three and let you decide how much weight you want to give it.
1. Islam has a problem, and its a big, bad violent problem. Violence against innocent people in the name of Islam is happening all over the world. It is so widespread and so intractable that it denies credence to the notion that it is caused by the societies in which it is happening. It appears, at least at first glance, to be something in Islam itself that is causing this.
2. This is not ubiquitous within Islam. I think the people who commit these dastardly acts (many of which are committed against other Muslims) are a minority of Muslims.
3. However, the peaceable majority does not appear to be able to control the violent ones in their midst. If anything, I get the sense that they are more afraid them than anyone else.
4. I think this problem stems from the bad leadership of some Islamic religious leaders. I think it gains traction because of the factionalism within Islam.
5. Whatever the reason, this situation is real, and taking some pie-in-the-sky wing-nut position that anyone who talks about what is happening is a Muslim hater not only doesn’t help, it becomes a form of enabling to those who murder. From Jeffrey Dahmer, to ISIS, to Alton Nolen, murderers of innocent people do not need and should not have apologists flapping their yaps on the nightly news.
6. Oklahoma City was subjected to a black mass on September 21. Those who know about these things warned about the effect this might have on the community. Does this have anything to do with this beheading and the subsequent threat of beheading by Muslims in our community? I don’t know.
7. Whether the black mass contributed to this situation or not doesn’t matter in terms of what we do about it. What we do about it is put these two men before the law and let the law work.
8. What we do about the larger question of Islamic violence against innocent people is another question. I think the first thing we need to do is ask the Muslim community if they are willing and ready to stand against the preaching of violence in their places of worship, if they are willing to turn their backs on religious leaders who preach death and destruction.
I was touched by Imam Enchassi’s statement to the press. I hope with all my heart that it came from his heart and was totally genuine. I personally know a Muslim man who went door to door in his neighborhood after 9/11, introducing himself to his neighbors and assuring them that he stood with them, not the terrorists.
I think it must be hard to be trapped in a situation where violence is the public face of your faith.
I believe we should stand with those who are willing to take the chance to step out and speak against murder and violence. I think they are probably placing themselves in harm’s way by doing so.
At the same time, I am not given to denying the plain facts when I see them. The plain facts are that this is happening all over the world.
The situation is real. All the insulting on-air wing-nuttery conflab in the world can not change that.
We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be bullied by ideologues like those on that MSNBC panel. Neither should we give in to the primitive urge to cast all Muslims as murderers.
Above all, we should never, no matter what mask he assumes, fight satan with satan’s weapons. Jesus told us that Satan cannot cast out satan. We need to believe Him and act accordingly. We must use the gifts of the Holy Spirit: grace, love and peace, to drive this evil down. Every person who walks this planet is His child. That includes Muslims.
We need to get real about this, and that begins by talking honestly about what is happening, without the politically correct censorship.