Opposition to Hate
Published 11/13/02 at the Duke Chronicle
Every Friday, imams and grand muftis at mosques in Yemen, Qatar, Iraq, and even the holy mosque in Mecca, pray: "O God, destroy the Jews, destroy the Christians, destroy the Hindus"; "O God, the Jews and Crusaders are the filthy sons of pigs and monkeys. Destroy the Jews who the Qu'ran describes as wicked"; "O God, destroy all disbelievers. O Muslims, rise up in jihad. Terrorize the disbelievers in their homes"; "Jewish women are yours to take, legitimately. Enslave them"; "Islam allows acts such as the Bali attack." Arab newspapers proclaim that Jews eat the blood of Muslim children for Purim and Passover, and TV stations propagate the lies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This hate reaches across the oceans.
In Greensboro on June 21 of this year, the Ameer of the Islamic Center proclaimed, "Remember, you cannot appease the Jews who run this country.... They will pursue and persecute you." On 60 Minutes, a Muslim high school student in Brooklyn declared that if she "blew up a naval base, [she] would go to heaven." Textbooks at the Islamic Saudi Academy near Washington teach that it is "okay to hurt and steal from those who are kufr [non-Muslim]" and that on Judgment Day, trees will say, "Oh Muslim, oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him."
The co-founder of Global Relief, an Islamic "charity" in the United States, declares that "financing jihad is part of Islam" and that by targeting terrorist financing, the United States is "attacking Islam." The executive director of the American Muslim Council declared in front of the White House, "I support Hamas and Hezbollah" (groups which have killed hundreds of Americans). In London, al-Mujahiroun held a celebratory conference on Sept. 11 this year titled "A Towering Day in History." Forgetting the disgusting pun, where is the outrage at this hate speech? Where is the recognition that when it comes to root causes, this cancerous venom is front and center? It is immoral to seek the protection of the Constitution yet not stand up for its principles against those who despise them. Indeed, when it comes to hate, silence equals consent.
Make no mistake: Sept. 11, where men coveted murder over their own lives, was a hate crime. The difference between Falwell and the Middle East's bigoted imams is not their hate, but that Falwell does not fund, call or inspire his followers to murder. Indeed, since Sept. 11, Americans at all levels--from President George W. Bush's visit to a mosque to Rudolph Giuliani's assigning police to protect Islamic centers on the very evening of Sept. 11 to the average citizen--have taken measures to prevent an anti-Muslim backlash in an admirable display of tolerance. Sadly, this has not been reciprocated in any substantial way by the Muslim-American community.
While Muslim-Americans hold countless protests against Israel's treatment of Palestinians, have they held a single one protesting Osama bin Laden's treatment of Americans? Perfunctory condemnations and pro forma condolences do not count; where is the fervor, the rage against the mass murder of fellow Americans as there is about treatment of Palestinians? Governments and organizations from around the world took out full-page ads in the New York Times condemning the terrorists in the weeks after Sept. 11. Was there a single one from Muslim-American organizations? While Bush was pounced on for using "crusade" to describe defensive military action, Harvard's commencement speaker disingenuously airbrushed away the call to violence associated with "jihad," Muslim-American women sue Florida and Illinois for the "right" to get a driver's license while being picture-IDed with their veils on, but emit not a peep about Saudi women not being allowed to drive.
Muslim-Americans rightly call for a dialogue on Islam, but whenever anyone questions inflammatory verses in the Qu'ran used by imams to inspire murder and justify targeting of civilians, they are ignored, accused of bigotry or obfuscated by red herrings like Timothy McVeigh and Baruch Goldstein. But McVeigh, Goldstein, etc., are universally reviled within their communities, whereas Osama bin Laden is cheered by media, mosques, and madrassahs. More importantly Islamic fundamentalists cross oceans to kill thousands, demonstrating both global ambition and reach. Young men are continually brainwashed into mass-murdering others by enticement of getting 72 celestial virgins. On Sept. 11 not only Palestinians but Kuwaitis (even the information minister) celebrated.
There is a large problem-not one or two crazies, but an ideology with numerous sympathizers-Islamic fundamentalist imperialism-that seeks to destroy Israel, shatter India, cripple the United States and ultimately convert the whole world to a perverse brand of Islam. The problem is not just terrorism but its aims. It seems to me that it is not for Americans to decree what is Islam and what it is not. The decision of what Islam is, whether it will be defined by Islamic Jihad and its ilk, must be made by Muslims, and it must be made by them assailing terrorist co-religionists rather than those outside the religion who dare to inject uncomfortable facts into the conversation.
And until moderate Muslims castrate these psychopaths as the United States did to the KKK, make their preachers stop using sex with celestial virgins to sell mass murder by suicide, preach to young men that terrorism leads not to 72 virgins in heaven but one 72-year-old virgin in hell, that funding terrorism is neither charitable nor Islamic and ultimately repudiate not only the terrorist methods but the imperialist ideology of Islamic fundamentalism, there is a huge problem for the civilized world.
For if moderate Muslims won't take out their own garbage, sadly the militaries of democracies will have to.