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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?

Submitting....

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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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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