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To Muhamed, Sidda and PDM

Reader comment on item: Anti-Muslim Racism?
in response to reader comment: ...people!!

Submitted by Farid (Germany), Feb 18, 2006 at 22:26

Sidda and PDM, I concur.

Muhamed, you're probably having trouble understanding the current wave of articles and comments which are, let's put it diplomatically, critical to Islam and muslims. I've grown up in Morocco, a country where we've never been confronted by Islam wahabbi- or salafist-style before... up to until recently. We've heard of a salafist terror cell somewhere in the algerian Sahara kidnapping european tourists, and we've heard of the Al Qaeda cell that attacked us at Casablanca consisting of some moroccans-turned-salafists. But the overwhelming majority, if asked, could not actually say what a salafist is; and asked about wahhabism, they'd say that it's a weird interpretation of Islam in Saudi Arabia, but that they're not really aware of its details. But we also know that both strains are dangerous to our society and the few extremists who are getting attracted by this version of Islam, are being under very close scrutiny (and rightly so!), and if they're not moroccans, we're actually kicking them out of the country as soon as possible.

So I've been really shocked by the rather heavy reactions of the many critiques we're reading everywhere. It seemed all so surreal. As if we were living in parallel, yet distinct universes. The Islam or muslims they are painting here bear nothing in common to the Islam and muslims I've grown up with. Are all people here crazy? Actually I don't think so. Many of them are blatantly overgeneralizing; and some of them are aggressive. But you must understand what's going on here: most critisizm I've seen here may be nominally directed against Islam, Mohammed, and muslims in general, but in fact, it's directed against Islamism (and you certainly know the difference!) and against the radical variants that are still being promoted by the Saudis as the *presumably* only valid interpretation of this religion (which is very far from the truth).

Then you've got to understand something else: people here are positively *afraid*. Afraid of terrorists, pirates (!), throat-cutting insurgents, and now embassies-torching angry crowds. Call it hysterical paranoia if you wish, but people who're afraid and scared, tend to overreact, more than just a wee bit. They see through the distortion lens of their fear; and it lies in the nature of such a lens, to amplify an objective threat (which I don't deny at all!) to immense proportions. It's very difficult to establish civilized quiet talks with scared people. You have to accept and embrace their fears and talk with them exactly about this. So even if many guys here are pretty rough and robust with their opinions, I think it's important that they speak out their grudges (or just concerns).

How could you ever hope to understand the current situation down if you don't know why so many people are reacting the way they do?
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