August 01, 2005

Condeming Terrorism

In a weekend roundup post, I said the following:

A US muslim cleric group issues a fatwa against terrorism. As admirable as that is, they shouldn't expect American commentators to stop wondering aloud why there aren't any Muslims condemning terrorism.

I was trying to be tongue in cheek, but I guess I wasn't plain enough about that. Al-Muhajabah, a Muslim whom I've known to be outspoken about the peaceful message of Islam and an advocate of social justice for as long as I've read her blog, thought that I meant what most American commentators seem to mean. She thought I was saying that Muslims hadn't made their objections clear enough and asked what else I thought she should do.

Well, nothing. But it isn't surprising to me that she thought I meant something else, considering that very little has changed in the media since the beginning of the war on terra.

Maybe the number and volume of Muslim apologies don't matter to certain American commentators because they're dumb as toast, or because they just don't care, or maybe both at once. I expect that Muslims could pull together 10,000 people at a rally in downtown New York to protest terrorism, and it wouldn't be a week before some complete idiot on the Fox network was wondering why there weren't enough Muslims coming out to oppose whatever specific act of violence-by-brown-people they were twitterpated about at the moment.

TV pundits and boneheaded columnists still ask the questions 'why do they hate us' and 'will Muslims ever come out to oppose these acts' as if the only possible answer was the chirping of crickets. I don't know whose fault that is, certainly not Al-Muhajabah's, but here are a few of other people whose fault it isn't:

The Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) has publicly condemned the violence targeting civilians in his country.

Egyptians staged street protests against the terrorist bombings in their country, stating that, "There is no God but God, and terrorism is the enemy of God."

In Britain, 300 mosques planned to read a fatwa by 500 Muslim religious leaders denouncing terrorism.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) backs the fatwa against terrorism issued by American Muslim scholars. They've also collected nearly 690,000 signatories (both group and individual) to a declaration that terrorist acts do not represent their faith, and you can view the petition counter on their home page.

Juan Cole pointed to a Fareed Zakaria column that noted the condemnation of the London bombing even by groups like Hamas, as well as mentioning that the condemnation was joined by the leaders of every Muslim country.

Cole further notes that contrary to Thomas Friedman's ignorant rantings, there have been fatwas issued against Bin Laden by several high profile Muslim clerics.

Finally, Dallas Morning News columnist Jeffrey Weiss writes about this perennial question:

Just about every time I write about Islam, I get an e-mail or three from people who want to know why “the media” gives “those Muslims” a free pass. If Islam is really such a religion of peace, as President Bush has said, why don’t the so-called moderate Muslims condemn the terrorist bombings?

Which is a fair question. Or would be, except for the answer that I already know: Muslim organizations routinely issue denunciations every time there’s a major terror attack. News releases clutter e-mail boxes of reporters as predictably as sunrise. And just as predictably, the condemnations are never considered big news.

That’s not the fault of the Muslim groups. They issue their statements. Should they take out ads? Send up fireworks? Include jugglers and fan dancers at their news conferences?

But it’s not really the fault of the media that these releases usually end up as one line in a long story, if that. After all, how newsworthy are these now-routine news releases? (It would be much bigger news if they came out in favor of the bombings…)

And yet, for a segment of the population, these releases might actually be newsworthy — proof that there are Muslims who oppose bombings. ...

I wish Weiss hadn't thrown that 'it's not really our fault' dodge in there, but otherwise he's spot on.

Posted by natasha at August 1, 2005 04:25 PM | War on Terrorism | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |