November 6, 2009

The Blame Islam Game

It didn’t take the hate-Islam crowd long to start blaming the Ft. Hood shooting on Islam. Almost as soon as the media began reporting on the shooting, Jihad Watch, for instance, started highlighting Nidal Hasan’s Islamic faith, attempting to tie his act of murder to the teachings of the Qur’an.

One right-winged blogger described this as “a case of a fully coherent, Muslim man, who also happens to be a diligent practioner [sic] of his Islamic faith. This has nothing to do with ‘bullying’ or feelings of discrimination, but of a pious Muslim acting out on his beliefs.”

Click through the hate-o-sphere and you’ll find many similar comments.

So it seems that Islam is to blame. It seems that Islam is always to blame. According to the hate-Islam mindset, whenever a Muslim engages in evil—be it an honor killing or act of terrorism—Islam is to blame.

Of course, the logic here is atrocious.

For example, if Islam is to be blamed when Muslims do evil, then why isn’t it to be praised when Muslims do good? Why, for instance, don’t the Jihad Watch types give kudos to Islam when Palestinians in the West Bank village of Ni’lin engage in nonviolent protests? Why didn’t they feel that this summer’s peaceful protests in Iran in some sense validated Islam?

Personal experience has led me to believe that the world contains more—many more—good Muslims than bad Muslims. So why then does the hate-Islam crowd base their conclusions of Islam on the bad minority and not the good majority?

Moreover, if the Jihad Watch crowd blames Islam when Muslims do evil, then why don’t they blame Judaism when Jews do evil? If the Ft. Hood shooting discredits Islam, then why doesn’t Israel’s assault in Gaza or why don’t all the incidents of settler violence in the West Bank discredit Judaism?

The truth, of course, is that Islam does not promote terrorism. As Bernard Lewis (himself no Islamophile) has written: “At no point do the basic texts of Islam enjoin terrorism and murder. At no point—as far as I am aware—do they even consider the random slaughter of uninvolved bystanders.”

Christian Americans are actually more likely to justify terrorism than are those living in many predominantly Muslim countries. That’s right. One in four Americans—and remember, 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians—one in four Americans believe that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “often or sometimes justified.” The corresponding numbers in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey are 10%, 14%, and 17%.

So Islam is not to blame. For the ten billionth time, Islam is not to blame. Just as Sergeant John Russell’s Catholic upbringing was not to blame when he gunned down five fellow soldiers in Baghdad earlier this year.

So don’t join the kooks. Don’t condemn the religion of one billion (mostly good-hearted and peace-loving) people because a small number of them commit evil actions. Don’t hate.


john said...

what's to blame for this massacre is the US Army for forcing someone to fight their brethren.

i also, like you, realize that christians justify terrorism.

but i also hate islam. not the people in the middle east, or indonesia, or where ever the may live. i hate it because of their treatment of women and gays. i dislike christian religions by their treatment of women and gays. it has to do with how they treat women and gays in how i feel about them.

there was a muslim theologian who lived in the 12th Century. his name was Abu Hamid al-Ghazali.
Imam Al-Ghazali is widely known for his heroic role to defeat Mu‘tazilites (rationalized movement) and revived pure Islam. While it is well known that Al-Ghazali himself intended to "shut the door of ijtihad" (the process through which Islamic scholars can generate new rules for Muslims) completely and permanently, which led the Islamic societies to be "frozen in time".

there are muslims who have "ijtihad" their societies, but they're looked upon as heretics by most muslim clergy.

if the muslim religion had the "ijtihad" all this time i think their women would be free from the shackles of the burka and hopefully gays would be treated respectfully too.

Young Activist said...

I am not religious. But I have a hard time with this vitriolic hostility towards religion. Even when criticism of religion is divorced from ethnocentrism, when it is applied to the concept of religion in general, and not specific religions, it does not lose its aurora of intolerance and hatred.

Religion is a source for most of the world's people of meaning definition in their lives. Something so intricate to so many people's self-conception deserves respect. Religion is a forum for expressing innate beliefs. It is impossible to pass judgment on a religion, or on the concept of religion, based on the actions, whether laudable or deplorable, undertaken in its name. At issue is not human spirituality, but human nature.