I swear, if I hear someone ask one more time in response to some act of Muslim brutality or terrorism why moderate or liberal Muslims don’t condemn it, I’m going to puke blood. Have they ever bothered to look? Do they expect those people to knock on their door and deliver such a message via singing telegram? Rabbi Marc Schneier notes that Muslim leaders do so all the time but get almost no media coverage when they do.
Why don’t Muslim leaders speak out?
That question comes up every time terrorists purporting to be deeply religious Muslims carry out armed attacks that kill innocent people. Where, commentators ask, are the moderate Muslim leaders and why aren’t they decrying the horrors perpetuated by fellow Muslims?
In fact, mainstream Muslims are speaking out, clearly and consistently. Leaders around the world, many of whom I know personally through my work at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, have issued strong and unambiguous statements virtually every time a violent attack has occurred, condemning such acts as immoral and counter to the fundamental precepts of Islam.
Yet somehow their responses are not being heard, barely registering in the public consciousness…For example, after riots by a predominantly Muslim crowd in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles attacked a synagogue and Jewish businesses, the local Muslim Association sent a letter of solidarity and support to the vice president of the synagogue. National Muslim leaders took part in an interfaith ceremony that denounced the violence and called for reconciliation. French Council of the Muslim Faith head Dalil Boubakeur, who attended the ceremony, affirmed that the vast majority of French Muslims are not anti-Semitic. How could they be, he asked, when they themselves are battling racism?
Those responses should have been part of the story. But too often, Islam is portrayed negatively, and as a monolithic entity. People don’t realize that there is a diversity of opinion within Islam and that most Muslims condemn extremism and violence.
Yes, Islamist extremism is a genuine threat to world peace. But those who lump all Muslims together, and dismiss as meaningless the courageous stand of the moderate majority against extremism, aren’t helping to win that battle. Rather, they’re strengthening extremism by perpetuating a false narrative of perpetual conflict between Islam and the West. That is something which we must fight with all our might.
This. So very much this.