Murders in Nice
When the Nice attack was first announce, I am sure I was joined by almost every Muslim in silent prayers that the killer would not be a Muslim but alas, he was! At today’s count, 84 people…men, women and children, were killed and over 200 injured.
Who even thinks of wreaking such havoc on innocent people who are out simply enjoying life? The roots of such actions are easy to track even though the answer to the “why” of such actions is much more difficult; the responsibility is shared between the US, the European countries and the Muslims living in the US and Europe, perhaps in equal measure.
Muslims in the West are paralyzed communities, unable to move forward, unable to fully participate in the political arenas and unable to stand for Truth, Justice, Peace and the many other attributes that should make up the ideal Muslim. Muslims are so completely ignorant of their own faith that they allow “scholars” and “imams” to speak for Islam when those people have little grasp of what they preach and no understanding of how blood-thirsty their words can be and sometimes, are. Commonly-held slogans have been elevated to real “Islam” and accepted unquestioningly; slogans such as “Never argue with a scholar unless you are one yourself”, “Never speak ill or betray a Muslim”, anyone who is not a Muslim in the classical sense is a “Kafir” (Unbeliever). According to the Quran, anyone who believes in the One God, is a Muslims thus, Jews, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs and a whole lot of others, are considered to be Muslim (2:62, 3:113-114).
Most Muslims mindlessly go to Mosque where they hear sermons by mindless leaders, sermons disconnected with reality or with todays environment, and Muslims emerge for these places of worship, believing their job towards God is done, their seats in Heaven are reserved. When a few of the “Imams” (one who leads prayer as opposed to one who leads the congregation) go off-track, nobody has the courage to take a public stand at the time or even later, with these “imams”. On the rare occasion, if a Muslim does gather the courage to stand and criticize the “Imam”, he is shut down by the congregation as being rude and sacrilegious.
I personally know of two occasional “imams”, one in Bellingham and one in Everett, who preach intolerance and inform their congregations that it is okay to kill “the Kuffar” (Unbelievers). According to them, not only are Jews and Christians “Kuffar” but so are all the Muslims who believe themselves to be Muslim but do not follow the Imam’s line of intolerance. No member of their congregations has thus far, dared to speak out against them. No doubt, there are more such vitriolic preachers.
Some Mosques have and use, “The Noble Quran“, by Hilali & Khan, a publication by the Saudi Arabian religious establishment and financed by the government. This purports to present “translations” of the Arabic version, which have nothing to do with what is actually in the Quran; verses that have no hate or violence in them are published with hate a violence that the ignorant masses believe, is the real word of God. Some South Asian-led Mosques use a “Heavenly Ornaments” by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi which instill hate, intolerance and denigrates women by ordering them to conform to standards of being owned by the men who are charged with “protecting” them. Of course, when the men fail to “protect their women”, the women are punished sometimes, fatally because Honor has been tainted.
To be sure, the overwhelming majority of the congregation remains unconvinced about the imams’ rantings, But if just one young, naï¿½ve, impressionable fellow takes to heart, the violence in the Noble Quran or, Heavenly Ornaments or the preacher’s words, the consequences can be terrible.
So, why don’t Muslims “step forward and report” people they may suspect of going over the edge or promoting violence?
The answer is simple; Muslims are convinced that all the authorities want is to nail another Muslim without regard to his/her guilt or innocence; stopping violent activities seem to take a backseat to the first goal.
We Muslims see that the US and its allies in the West (“The West”) are all-too ready to bomb ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other “terrorist” Targets, but the evidence shows that while on one the hand, the West is keen to attack such targets and when it does, it cares not a whit, for the innocent lives claimed by their bombings. On the other hand, the same West seems not only to not mind when its allies support these same “terrorists”.
Israel provides support for Al-Nusrat, an extremely violent and merciless group that is fighting in Syria, on the pretext of “providing humanitarian aid”.
Saudi Arabia is actively bombing the Houthis in Yemen with bombing directions provided by accompanying American and British aircraft. As the Houthis retreat, the vacuum is filled by incoming ISIS forces who are then supported, financed and armed by the House of Saud and by Qatar.
In Egypt, the legitimately elected government was overthrown by a military coup that ushered in unprecedented violence on Egyptians. Not only did the House of Saud promise the military regime 10 BILLION dollars in aid, but the US has decided it can “do business” with the Egyptian regime.
Muslims wonder whether the West is really interested in wiping out terrorist movements (which we all want) or it is only interested in expanding its own influence regardless of the human cost.
At home in the US, we see the supposed protectors; the local Police and the FBI are more interested in attacking Muslims rather than people and groups who commit violence. Of course, once the FBI goes after someone, the FBI has to win regardless of facts. We see the few examples where a Muslim has the confidence to report a suspect who may engage in violence, the FBI goes after that person, destroying his life before they even have proof of guilt. The Police and the FBI seem to be focused on Muslims, not on the now highly-politicized and ambiguous word, “Terrorists”. At the same time, a violent group that plotted to kill law-enforcement officers and then to ambush the responders, was determined to be simply exercising their right to “Freedom of Speech”.
More recently, the Police chief of Redmond was invited to MAPS, one of the largest Muslim Mosque associations in Puget Sound, as an honored guest. Instead of speaking about the general efforts the Police is making to communicate with civilians and to maintain peace, the talk moved on to how Muslims are suspected of terrorism and how that is similar to the Police being seen as brutes in uniform; slap us with one hand and protect themselves with the other. Would she ever think of talking about the mafia and how Italians get a bad name if invited to an Italian gathering? Would she speak about Blacks and drugs and Black violence if invited to a Black gathering? But a casual insult to Muslims is seen as merely acknowledging a fact of life.
Muslims may not speak out, but the message of being targeted is not missed.
The only way this is going to change and Muslims can be motivated to work against violence (Note: not “Terrorism”) is if we see consistency in Western attitudes and actions that prove to us, that stopping violence is more important than targeting Muslims. The road to such a goal leads directly through our Mosques, US foreign policy and local law-enforcement training; a daunting but not impossible goal.