by Iftekhar Ahmad
This is a challenging time for all Muslims in America as the despicable actions of a few put Islam in a terrible light. This situation is not made any easier when there is blatant hate being spread by educated members of society. Recently Joe Walsh, a former US Congressman of Illinois, put a video on his Facebook page where he says, “I think Islam has a real freaking problem, alright?” He later says, “There is a cancer in Islam, and if they’re not going to learn to assimilate, I don’t want them in this country.”
I am offended by these statements not only as a Muslim born in this country but also as an oncologist who treats cancer every day. Cancer is characterized by a rapid uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells which typically form a tumor. To make a relation of this serious and often fatal disease to the religion of Islam is not only inaccurate but an insult to those suffering from it. The word Islam means peace, purity, submission and obedience to the will of God. And in Islam, the will of God includes love of all mankind.
Mr Walsh’s words are filled with ignorance and hate with hopes of riding the coat tails of tragic events in this country similar to many other more well known political candidates. Mr Walsh feels that there is a lack of assimilation of Muslims in this country and that they should leave. I would offer that not only are they assimilating in this country but they are helping to keep it great.
The cowardly actions of so called “Muslims” in this country are few but highly publicized. What about the many positive contributions of Muslims who actually follow the teachings of Islam. I am talking about Muslim civil servants, teachers, engineers, lawyers, and doctors who contribute positively to society every day. They serve their communities, help the poor, and contribute to worthy causes. Why don’t we highlight these individuals who vastly outnumber the weak minded and ignorant ones who claim to be Muslims.A prime example of the duty that Muslims feel towards their fellow Americans was on display shortly after the tragedy in San Bernardino earlier this month. A local group of Muslims launched a project called “Muslims United for San Bernardino” for Muslims to help the families of the victims of the shooting. At this time over $200,000 has been raised. If there is indeed a cancer in Islam, how does Mr. Walsh explain the generosity of Muslim strangers?
Not more than a week after this shooting took place there was a “Muslims for Life” blood drive held at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino which is located in San Bernardino County. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community started this campaign in 2011 on the anniversary of the horrific attacks of 9/11. Since its inception they have collected 40,000 pints of blood which equates to over 100,000 lives saved. Again I ask Mr. Walsh, is this the “cancer in Islam” he is worried about?
Does Islam really have a “freaking problem?” Is there a “cancer in Islam?” I feel that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding no. If anything, there may be a cancer in the minds of people who feel as if killing innocent people somehow pleases God. Mr. Walsh, there is a lot of good in Islam and it is right in front of you. But since it does not fit your overall sentiment you choose to ignore it. This Mr Walsh is the real “freaking problem”.