What More Can Muslims Do To Eliminate Religious Hatred
In the wake of the deadly October 27th shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, an overwhelming response from American Muslims in holding moments of silence and fundraising for the surviving victims and their families displayed that not all Muslims are religious bigots — quite the contrary. Yet Muslims, such as Linda Sarsour and Congressional candidate Ilhan Omarthe, with the support of the media and left-wing politicians, have been allowed to continue to instigate the religious hatred towards Jews and Christians, as well as calling for the destruction of Israel without any repercussions. A contributing factor to this, as well as the acts of terrorism, as stated by then-Congressman Mike Pompeo is the silence on the matter on the part of Islamic leaders rendering them “potentially complicit in these acts, and more importantly still, in those that may well follow.”
Writer and Muslim reformist Shireen Qudosi in an op-ed article that appeared on the Clarion Project on October 31 entitled Muslim Response to Anti-Semitism Not Good Enough, Says Reformer, stated “Muslim Americans have the power to counter anti-Semitism [and religious hatred of Islamists] rather than just respond to it after the fact.” Naturally, Robert Bowers, the man accused of gunning down eleven congregants at the synagogue was not Muslim. In any case, Qudosi argues that Muslims in the US have a duty and an obligation to “speak out against Jew-hating [or any other religious-hating] imams and the institutions that protect them.” They can work to have these religious figures removed from their positions by boycotting the mosques and organizations where they exercise power. This mission, I sustain, must be also undertaken by those who hold political office, especially if they are Muslim. Yet the ones who can do something, do nothing.
After the British officials to the London Bridge attack of June 3, 2017, which killed seven people and injured 48 others, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also a Muslim, refused to discuss this act of terrorism as having anything to do with Islamic indoctrination. Muslim Reform Movement (MRM) cofounder Dr. Zuhdi Jasser criticized Khan and all other like-minded politicians whose apologetic approaches have not just diverted the fight against Islamic terrorism but indirectly sustained them by relying almost exclusively on the input of Islamic human rights activists. Jasser’s critique simultaneously sought to motivate Muslims to promote a moderate Islam. This was in line when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attempted to confront the teachings that incite violence and the violation of human rights when he addressed the members of the al-Azhar University in Cairo on December 28, 2014. Despite Jasser’s reaching out to over three thousand US mosques and over five hundred renowned Muslims through email and telephone calls in 2015, very few responded, dismissively or with threats — an indication that most imams are not interested, just as al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb’s rejection to el-Sisi’s appeal.
Many in the West have been led to believe that the US-led war on Islamic terrorism can irradiate the Islamic indoctrination that breeds hatred and violence as taught by imams. The approach, however, has primarily been a military one with the assumption that problem is pyramidal. Nevertheless, the burden of demonstrating a moderate Islam or one that has respect for human rights cannot just fall on non-Muslims. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Elliot Abrams, in his Realism and Democracy: American Foreign Policy after the Arab Spring (2018) argues that while religious dialogue among Muslims is essential for peace, we must acknowledge that “statements from American presidents [or church leaders] that “Islam is a religion of peace” will never have any impact, nor should they: who is an American politician [or churchman] to define the true meaning of any religion, much less one he or she does not practice [let alone studied]?” And he is correct. He goes on to say that convincing “Muslims to embrace an Islam that insists on respect for human rights and political democracy and rejects extremism and violence is critical — but only Muslims can enter that debate with other Muslims and hope to win it.”
Mario Alexis Portella is author of Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up
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