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The Weave Of Ignorance Created By Silent Muslims.......

Reader comment on item: Spreading Islam in American Public Schools

Submitted by Renee (United States), Apr 7, 2005 at 22:12

First, Hajira, I would like to say that you should never be concerned about offending anyone. Nobody has a right to not be offended. Also, I think the fear of possibly offending somebody prevents people from being open and honest. In order to learn and have meaningful discussions, it is best to assume that there is not an intention to offend. Many times the person who claims to be offended is misinterpreting what is actually being said or the "offender" is only guilty of a poor choice of words.

You are correct when you state that those in the West have never really known Islam. Most Americans consider religion a private matter and respect the right of their fellow Americans to practice their religion as they see fit. In fact, for the last several decades, while I watched men all over the Middle East demonstrating in the streets, burning the American flag and chanting, "Death to America," the thought that Islam, or any religion for that matter, was a part of these displays never crossed my mind. After each bombing, many of which killed Americans, the media referred to them as "Arab terrorists." Connecting them to Islam in the media and in the minds of many people is a recent phenomenon and the fact is that it was those same men celebrating their hatred for MY country who injected Islam into their celebrations, yelling, "Allahu Akbar" with every death they caused. THAT was my first impression of Islam and they are the people responsible for it.

Does this mean that I hate Islam or Muslims? Not at all. The fact is that I do not know enough about Islam to have any opinion at all; however, Muslims who abhor what is being done in the name of their religion do have a responsibility to step up and show the West a different picture of Islam and work to change the "grotesque distortions the traces of which still endure in the European mind," as you put it. This is a very diverse, compassionate and open-minded country; however, we are only seeing one side of Islam because those on the other side of Islam are completely silent.

As a Catholic, I was outraged by the pedophile priests running amok all over MY country and using MY religion to molest children, and when they were exposed, the leaders of MY church only relocated them to another community of unsuspecting Catholics where they continued to destroy the lives of more children and their familles. When the public found out about this, it was the members of the Catholic Church who spoke out first and most forcefully against the priests, those who protected them and the Catholic Church itself. It was the members of the Catholic Church who demanded accountability and transparency. In addition to speaking out, Catholics demanded the resignation of several Bishops who either had knowledge of what has happening or should have known about it. Twenty-five percent of Catholics either reduced or stopped donations to the Catholic Church, and in Boston alone, donations dropped to nearly half.

Unfortunately, I do not see Muslims speaking out against their fellow Muslims who are destroying the image of Islam, nor am I hearing any explanation for their silence. Are they scared, naive, indifferent or ignorant, (by ignorant I do not mean stupid, but having a lack of knowledge about what some Muslims are doing to harm Islam)? I am not in a position to judge or make assumptions for their silence. The only thing I can say with confidence is that they ARE silent and I am confused by it. When Omar Ahmad, Cofounder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations states, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant," what was the reply from the Muslim community? Silence. When Ibrahim Hooper, Spokesperson for the same organization, states, "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future...But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education," what was the reply from the Muslim community? Silence.

So, Hajira, you are correct when you state that those in the West have never really known Islam, but the fact is that what we are now learning about Islam is through the words and actions described above, and as long as the rest of the Muslim community remains silent, it will be the only Islam we will ever really know.

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