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NYT article by a moderate Muslim

Reader comment on item: There Are No Moderates: Dealing with Fundamentalist Islam

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Jul 1, 2016 at 20:03

Dear Dr Pipes,

I hope you will allow me to use your forum to critique an article in New York Times by Aziz Ansari in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting. Mr Ansari is a, so called, moderate Muslim American and is making a lot of well-deserved name for himself as a entertainer of repute. Because of his prominence in our times what he says or does not say, can influence our society in many significant ways. If I must present the gist of Mr Ansari's article in one sentence: he used the American values about liberty and freedom to rebuke America and while doing so, he presented himself as if he were the biggest proponent freedom and liberty the world has seen. Given that Mr Ansari is a Muslim American, his article only highlights his hypocrisy because --to put it very bluntly-- not many examples of freedom and liberty exist in Islamic societies.

But who are we to judge? We cannot read the inside of Mr Ansari's mind. It is possible that his faith in liberty and freedom is as deep as that of anyone of us. It is quite possible that Mr Ansari truly believes that Islamic thought is consistent with our calls for freedom and liberty. What Mr Ansari wrote in the NYT article is very admirable. But what he did not say is what is problematic. Here are some of the things that Mr Ansari should have talked about but did not:

1. Mr Ansari says that in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings he advised is mother to not to go to a Mosque and pray. He laments that "it was awful to tell American citizen to be careful about how he worshipped.". Mr Ansari should have talked about freedom of prayer available to various religions in the Islamic societies.

2. Mr Ansari reminded us that while we think about Muslims, the picture of Malala Yousafzai and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should be in our minds and not of the terrorists. Mr Ansari failed to mention that Yousafzai was literally one in a billion (we have not seen too many Muslims writing blogs against ISIS, Taleban and Al Qaeda lately). And, of course, Mr Ansari should not take any credit for the mindset of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who was a converted Muslim who grew up in USA.

3. Mr Ansari laments that with Donald Trump spewing hate speech "prejudice is reaching new levels". Is prejudice bad for America? Is it bad only for America? Mr Ansari failed to mention anything about prejudice in Islamic countries.

4. It was great that Ansari spoke so elaborately about Muslim Americans. But when, if ever, will he talk about Yezidi Syrians? Or even Christians Saudi Arabians. Will a breed of humans called
'Christian Saudi Arabians" ever exist?

5. Mr Ansari mathematically "proved" that 0% of American Muslims had anything in common with the killer in Orlando. That is surely true but that became true only after the killer killed. Until the time he shot his first shot was he not a "fellow Muslim" who could do no wrong? Was he not a brother facing discrimination in America? Was he not a fellow Muslim who would never say one good thing about Jews and Israel? Mr Ansari failed to mention that it is immaterial that Muslim American admit no commonality with the Orlando killer. What is material is that Muslim Americans are doing very little to advance the cause of liberty and freedom anywhere in the world other than America.

6. Mr Ansari quotes his friend who "felt really sick ... every time a shooter is brown". Please, Mr Ansari, do not bring the color of the skin into the discussion not even as a quotation. Brownness is not an issue issue even remotely and should not be mentioned.

7. Mr Ansari recalls that in New York some one called him a terrorist after 9/11. That is absolutely deplorable but Mr Ansari failed to acknowledge that many Islamic countries around us, he might have even faced a bullet for being different.

8. Mr Ansari challeges Donald Trump for saying that Muslims "know who the bad ones are,". Indeed this statement is not correct. Not all Muslims know everyone among them who is a terrorist. But Mr Trump's statement still deserves a thought that Mr Ansari did not have. Islamic world has a bigger supply of terrorists killing in the name of religion than anyone else. Who is feeding that pipeline? Who is providing finances to run that pipeline? Who is providing the logistical support to these terrorists? It is unlikely that many Jews or Christians or Hindus feed the pipelines that kill them. Perhaps moderate Muslims like Mr Ansari should work to break those pipelines instead of writing articles in NYT that leave important issues unsaid.

9. Mr Ansari writes about shootings by white males. Yes, there have been shootings by white males but Mr Ansari failed to acknowledge that none of those shootings was to advance the cause of any religion.

10. Mr Ansari rightly said that one way to reduce terrorist killings is to keep the weapon grade weapons off the street. But once again, if Mr Ansari wanted to address the problem of violence by some Muslims of the world, he would have mentioned about bombs. Mr Ansari failed to mention that not many terrorist killings happen due to lowly guns.

Even if these omissions by Mr Ansari are innocent and accidental, he must try to address them in his future articles. Will NYT give Mr Ansari a second chance?


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (70) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Another moderate muslim speaks [547 words]PrashantJul 24, 2016 22:27230836
1Another moderate Muslim speaks [303 words]PrashantJul 29, 2016 13:23230836
2Second listening to Khizr Khan's DNC speech [85 words]PrashantAug 1, 2016 18:51230836
Ibtihaj Muhammad speaks [134 words]PrashantAug 16, 2016 19:47230836
Another apologist speaks: Islamophobia as a public health issue [372 words]PrashantSep 22, 2016 22:52230836
Oh Now Linda Sarsour shows her moral compass [253 words]PrashantFeb 5, 2017 22:41230836
2NYT article by a moderate Muslim [930 words]PrashantJul 1, 2016 20:03230243
1Moderate Muslims can't ever take a critical look at their religion! [205 words]JaladhiJul 8, 2016 14:38230243
What about IS? [8 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
JoeOct 14, 2014 02:05218694
Was not MoamarGaddafi a moderate? [16 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
sammyFeb 27, 2014 00:31213452
Qaddafi was a tyrant [60 words]Guardian of DeenFeb 27, 2014 22:57213452
Reply to Daniel Pipes- what is a moderate [231 words]SammyFeb 28, 2014 22:08213452
1The enemy within! [68 words]dhimmi no moreMar 1, 2014 00:25213452
1got it right [44 words]Gus FiggieJan 22, 2013 13:04202723
post 9-11 [90 words]stevefnp1Jan 1, 2012 01:42192175
1justice in islam [10 words]sara riazMay 16, 2011 11:50185275
"Moderate Muslims" -Appeasement Of Global Islam [332 words]steve jaubertSep 14, 2010 16:51178255
3i agree [16 words]Ravi Ranjan Singh Bharat PanthiMay 17, 2011 01:47178255
1Islam Phobia [98 words]amoralisSep 6, 2010 12:41177747
No fear [110 words]Mr.NaimDec 3, 2008 16:59144354
2Factuals [80 words]Enquiries 2001Jul 26, 2010 00:18144354
No, you can't [103 words]JPSep 9, 2012 02:40144354
1MAKING MUSLIMS CONFUSED [113 words]AAMIR AHSAN KHANMay 28, 2008 03:51130282
please [66 words]sisayJan 27, 2009 09:09130282
Democracy [99 words]Enquiries 2001Jul 26, 2010 00:26130282
Moderate Islam - I don't think so ... [79 words]OliverMay 21, 2008 16:53129440
moderate shari'moderate [246 words]stevefnp1Jan 3, 2012 12:28129440
does fundamentalism is merely religious? [183 words]Shamim Ibn AzizSep 2, 2006 13:1654703
1Islamic Fundamentalism is the problem [125 words]Joe BaginskiSep 12, 2006 01:0954703
in response to your comment " the fundamentalism is the problem" [142 words]Shamim Ibn AzizSep 22, 2006 07:2254703
fundamentalism [1303 words]B. WilliameOct 19, 2008 16:5654703
The Paradox of Fundamentalism [462 words]GabyNov 6, 2008 09:5354703
B. Williame [74 words]arsalanJan 16, 2009 10:3754703
Arsalan, youre joking, right? [174 words]B. WilliameJan 18, 2009 09:0554703
not heavnly Ideology [157 words]sisayJan 27, 2009 08:5754703
Fundamentalism [119 words]Enquiries 2001Jul 26, 2010 00:3554703
Islam Phobia [455 words]amoralisSep 6, 2010 12:1054703
What is really islamophobia? [13 words]dhimmi no moreSep 7, 2010 06:1254703
1Islam Phobia [320 words]amoralisSep 8, 2010 18:2354703
Political System in Islam [2475 words]Muhammad Shakeel FaizJan 7, 2006 06:0631222
democracy and islam [112 words]shamim ibn azizAug 28, 2006 12:0331222
2Islam isn't from God, but from Allah [294 words]B.W.Oct 19, 2008 17:2031222
1Something about Indian Muslims' problem [304 words]VishalMay 1, 2005 16:1221916
1Islam- ... [31 words]A HinduOct 25, 2011 22:5921916
Beating Fundamentalist Islam [25 words]Clifford IshiiJan 7, 2005 21:5519513
reply to Clifford Ishii [35 words]tariqJan 8, 2006 16:4519513
Reply to Mr. Tariq. [144 words]Jaisingh ThakurJul 11, 2007 02:4219513
1Islamic Secularists ? [132 words]SB PuriNov 26, 2003 14:2312329
Valid article, however... [64 words]AlexNov 16, 2002 16:033970
Let people choose their own way [246 words]C. John SmithOct 28, 2002 12:003351
Islam-phobia? [66 words]xx2342Jul 24, 2002 22:031427
What Planet Are You On? [127 words]Kevin BauerAug 2, 2006 00:221427
3ALL Muslims are extremists [50 words]SimonFeb 12, 2007 05:221427
1The Bible states it too... [23 words]CharlotteApr 23, 2007 22:061427
23Islam is a fundementally violent religion and culture, but america is not perfect either [579 words]JackMay 15, 2007 22:101427
fundamentalist islam [33 words]lourdes greenNov 28, 2007 15:201427
True in every means - [75 words]sonajiJan 12, 2009 08:401427
arguements against the article [706 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
abuJan 14, 2010 06:091427
1arab muslim? [99 words]abuJan 21, 2010 11:061427
RITE ANSWER [124 words]Mr.RiteFeb 25, 2010 04:221427
no, not imposing ideas... [117 words]tracyMar 30, 2010 12:451427
??? [264 words]some dudeMar 9, 2011 08:481427
Perspective [121 words]JohnApr 10, 2011 17:551427
this is true, [34 words]frankAug 22, 2012 19:541427
Live and Let Live [207 words]steveJul 23, 2013 20:191427
question to the writer [42 words]atif ismailAug 12, 2014 16:381427
Interesting Article! [47 words]JamesJun 29, 2002 17:251084
Muslims would rather [335 words]MaiFeb 26, 2006 03:381084
1Just a generic Westerner [635 words]ClaireMay 4, 2008 04:161084
why can't we be friends [388 words]Stan the eastern manSep 8, 2009 12:331084

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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