“Why Don’t Muslims Condemn Terrorism?”

The Islamic faith requires Muslims to believe in and practice five pillars. In our day and age, condemning terrorism committed by extremists seems to have become the sixth pillar. After any incident of terrorism, representatives of mosques, Islamic centers and organizations, bloggers, and writers sit with their fingers ready at their keyboards, prepared to issue condemnations for crimes they have not committed.

Yet, despite these clear statements stating their and the Islamic position condemning terrorism, which are diligently sent to media outlets locally, nationally, and internationally after every incident, Muslims are routinely accused of “not condemning terrorism”. There are two reasons for this.

First, media outlets are not interested in reporting the Muslim side of a breaking news story. It is neither in their own interest, nor do they feel that their audience will care what Muslims have to say about a crime committed in their name. This is why most of the time, journalists and their editors will not include a quote or statement from the many that Muslim individuals and organizations immediately send out.

Second, it is the nature of the news media to report on that which is an aberration, not the norm. In practical terms, that means they will never show the law-abiding, tax-paying Muslim. They will hone in on the exception. Such bias is nothing new. In the past, this same prejudice was exercised against other minority communities by the American media, from African-Americans to Jews to Japanese-Americans. Muslims are the current scapegoat being singled out for such unethical journalistic treatment.

An additional tendency of the media, which fuels the myth that Muslims do not condemn terrorism, is to focus on Islamophobes as spokespersons on issues. That means individuals who have made a career out of spreading hate and outright misinformation about Islam and Muslims are given ample air time to share their hateful views. This is akin to giving large amounts of air time to former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke to spout his hatred of Jews.

In the case of Muslims, hatemongers like David Spencer and Pamela Geller are featured prominently in news items about Islam and Muslims without being challenged or another view being presented for balance.

This focus on terrorism committed by extremists in the name of Islam is not only unfair, but it also paints a false picture of the most dangerous threat to Americans today - right wing extremism.

According to a June 2015 report by the New America Foundation, that kind of homegrown threat is twice as prevalent than the threat posed by Islamic extremists.

 As well, when it comes to terrorism and violence, Muslims are more peaceful than their neighbors. A World Public Opinion (WPO) survey done in collaboration with the University of Maryland reported that 51 percent of Americans believe "bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified," while only 13 percent of American Muslims hold a similar view, with a full 81 percent saying violence against civilians is never justified.

As well, 89% of Muslim Americans surveyed by Gallup rejected violent individual attacks on civilians as compared to 71 percent of Christians and 75 percent of Jews. Muslims are the least likely to justify attacks on civilians. Only 11 percent of Muslims justified that sometimes such attacks are acceptable as compared to 27 percent of Christians and 22 percent of Jews.

These facts need to be widely publicized by both Muslims and non-Muslims. The media’s wilful ignorance and/or refusal to acknowledge them, along with their exclusion of Muslim statements condemning terrorism, are fueling the myth that Muslims do not condemn terrorism.

 Muslims have, do, and will continue to condemn terrorism. It has no place in our faith. And it has no place in our world.

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Comments

I have been born and brought up in one of the only two countries where Muslims are not perpetually at war with non-Islamic culture (i.e. India and Indonesia). I have had Muslim friends since my school days and they never told me to convert to Islam, not even out of their true concern for the future of my soul. Even their parents and grandparents, who were far more old fashioned, never told me to convert to Islam and save my soul from the torment of eternal fires in hell (which was the pet theme of Anjem Choudary, the BBC's favorite bigot). This is not the case with Muslims in the UK, the USA or Europe. The Muslims living in predominantly white-Christian countries (you might call many of them ex-Christian, given the rise of believers aligned to no church) are more like the Muslims in Pakistan, Iran or the Arab / Mozarab / Maghreb countries. They are very confident of their spiritual / cultural superiority to the whites and that comes out through their speech. I am sure their white neighbors don't find that funny (e.g. why don't your girls wear decent clothes? do you know you cannot go to heaven?)
However, I totally agree with Miss Siddiqui on the point that the media's choice of community representatives has been very questionable since the second Iraq-America war. Not only have the channels invited white bigots to comment on Islamic terrorists, they have invited Islamic bigots like Anjem Choudary to comment on the same terrorists. It sometimes seemed that BBC wanted to help UKIP through choosing none else to represent the UK's Muslim community.

Location

India

Stand in the immigration queue at Tribhuvan international airport Kathmandu on any given day and wait for middle aged regional Pakistani's to invite you to Islam. They seem to forget that Nepal is a secular country and proselytising faith is not allowed, the Hindu's Buddhists and Christians don't do it so why do muslims think they are any different. What would be my chances of proselytising a religion other than Islam in Pakistan?. The bottom line is Muslims don't condemn acts of terrorism connected to or perpetrated by Muslims because the consensus is to support them. There is estimated to be 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide and yet only a very small percentage make comments such as "we condemn" or the cliched "they are not Muslim", but the fact is they are just like King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain were Catholic and the Talaat Pasha was Muslim.

Location

India

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