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July 13, 2005

What should we expect from Moslems

From the American Enterprise Institute:

Western Muslims feel badly misunderstood. The vast majority of them utterly abhor terrorism against the countries in which they live. And yet they sense suspicion from their fellow citizens.

Meanwhile, those fellow citizens are feeling increasing frustration with their Muslim neighbors. Since 9/11, security forces have foiled some 40 major plots against Western nations. Many if not most of those plots have been the work of local Muslims. Hundreds of European Muslims have journeyed to join the insurgents in Iraq. Extremist preachers exploit the freedom of Western societies to incite terrorism against them.

Moderate Western Muslims--and careful politicians--prefer not to acknowledge this reality. But euphemism is breeding resentment on all sides. We'd all benefit from speaking clearly. Let us be explicit about what we expect from Muslim communities:

Acknowledge Reality; accept Responsibility. Obviously it would be unjust to blame the religion of Islam for terrorism. But equally obviously, terrorism is a problem within Islam, and Islamic communities bear a special obligation to uproot it....

Isolate and Exclude Extremists. Too often, even the most moderate Western imams excuse and condone extremism....

Cooperate actively with police and security services. After the 9/11 attacks, one U.S. Islamic organization distributed a pamphlet called Know Your Rights, explaining to American Muslims that they had no obligation to answer questions from the police. From a legal point of view, that is of course correct. But one would have imagined that patriotic Muslims would want to tell the police anything that might help protect the country against future attack and bring the guilty to justice....

Stop carving out special exemptions. One important reason that Western Muslims find it so difficult to speak forthrightly against Islamic terrorism is that too many of them want to preserve exceptions in favor of certain forms of terrorism: against India, against democratic Iraq, and above all against Israel....

Accept Islam's status as one religion among equals. Western societies grant equal rights to all religions. Middle Eastern societies enforce the primacy of Islam: That's why there are mosques in Rome and churches in Jerusalem, but Jews and Christians are forbidden to set foot in Mecca. Do Western Muslims accept the Western way of doing things--or do they yearn for a Middle Eastern future? The answer is far from clear. ...

Islam will have made itself at home in the West when Western Muslims can express dislike for The Satanic Verses while defending Salman Rushdie's right to publish it; when they accept the right of Muslims to leave Islam as cordially as they encourage non-Muslims to embrace it; and when they welcome Christian and Jewish worship in Saudi Arabia in the same free and tolerant spirit that Islam has been welcomed in the West.

These changes should not be expected overnight. But they should be expected--demanded--all the same.

I've hacked quite a bit out of my quote, so do go to the original article and read all of it.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 13, 2005 09:38 AM

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