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"Placing The Blame For Attacks On Muslims Is Wrong"
September 25, 2001 9:10 PM   Subscribe

"Placing The Blame For Attacks On Muslims Is Wrong" This editorial appeared yesterday in the Ventura County Star, it was written by Roufeda Ebrahim of Ventura, a Muslim. The 18-year-old graduate of St. Bonaventure High School is a freshman at Ventura College, where she is studying journalism and English.
posted by tpoh.org (18 comments total)

 
As long as the radicals claim this is a holy war against the west and Islam, the majority America will treat it that way.

Meh...
posted by Aikido at 9:24 PM on September 25, 2001


The editorial was wonderful, well thought out, and beautifully written, I read it in my local paper and was inspred that an 18-year old could do such an excellent job with such a difficult subject.
posted by kd at 10:34 PM on September 25, 2001


Why would America believe radicals? Overall we have a very non-radical society.
posted by chaz at 11:14 PM on September 25, 2001


Us 18 year olds are under-rated..

The problem here in my opinion is, and has been for a while, the level of understanding of Islam that the majority of people in the Western world have. As a way of life, it contrasts sharply with the capitalistic ideology that permeates our society, and thus seems strange and foreign to most people - take how females cover their heads for example, to most that seems a repression of their freedom of expression and it must be the oppressive males that make them do it. The majority of time that 'Islam' as such is highlighted in the press is in connection to terms such as 'Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorist', and as such, the majority view is likely to be negative due to the lack of knowledge to contradict the stereotype. Words, as anyone in public relations would be able to tell you, are powerful things. After all, don't we separate Zionists from Jews for example? I think in this case murderer would be a more appropriate term than Islamic Terrorist..

So why isn't Islam in the news more in a positive sense? Because Islam practiced as a religion is a peaceful way of life - one that does not lend itself to headline news. Aside from major holidays such as Easter or Christmas, how often is mainstream Christianity in the news? RE for all..

Back to the post.. A lovely editorial, lets hope lots of people get to read it..
posted by Mossy at 11:32 PM on September 25, 2001


The Fact that one can put forth ones views on a Subject, that could contradict popular belief or views, be it Right or Wrong, is the Crux in the Biscuit of Freedom.
However, can I Expect the same tolerance………form All, not just the Moderate Few in those regions that so diligently follow the Word.

NO, I am not considering The Religion here at all..…
There are ones who may consider it divine and those that may not agree ( They will be going to Hell anyway ) .
posted by xxx--xxx at 2:21 AM on September 26, 2001


No one is blaming Islam (the religion). People are blaming some Muslims (practicioners of the religion), because, of course, they're guilty of doing the act, or of supporting it before or after the fact.

The relevant question is: should other Muslims in the US be deemed guilty by association? The answer, in my view, is "No, but..." with the "but" being an open-ended query regarding how many US Muslims have offered their services to the CIA, FBI and military intelligence in the past two weeks, have aggressively defended America against the calumies all too often heard on the streets from Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east, and many places in between. If Muslim-Americans won't collectively put forward a materially-significant defense of America in every way possible against their co-religionists, then they are and should be properly suspect. In the intelligence sphere, this is vital: it is simply not possible for anyone not of Muslim upbringing and descent from Middle Eastern stock to infiltrate the terrorism movement.

My guess is that this issue will simply languish, until and unless their is a second strike against American soil. Then the time will come for the Muslim American community to put their chips on the table and really decide who they're playing for.
posted by MattD at 5:23 AM on September 26, 2001


If Muslim-Americans won't collectively put forward a materially-significant defense of America in every way possible against their co-religionists, then they are and should be properly suspect."

MattD, I can only hope that you yourself are a Muslim, since you speak with such authority about what the Muslim community should or should not do.

Otherwise your offensive statements make you sound like a bigot who doesn't bother to READ.
posted by mirla at 6:21 AM on September 26, 2001


MattD: umm, okay. So how, precisely, would a Muslim American put forward a "materially significant defense" - what does that look like?

This kind of strikes me as an inwardly-directed version of Bush's "you're with us, or you're against us". That's nice rhetorical bluster, but it's hardly accurate. There is a third possibility: you simply don't care. Other nations are being allowed to not care - are we going to attempt military retaliation on Namibia for not taking sides against the (so far) exclusively Arab terrorist-harboring nations? Of course not.

American citizens should be allowed not to care, as well, be they Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Shinto, athiest, Zoroastrian, or what have you. The attack and its aftermath were horrible. But there's more to life than reacting to WTC. People are going to get bored with anti-terrorism as a national cause, bored with waving flags, bored with talking about September 11. They're going to get back to their lives.

And the moment we suspect someone for not waving the flag is the moment we, as a people, turn our back on the freedoms that define us as a nation.
posted by Vetinari at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2001


i didn't really see much point to the piece. "Placing The Blame For Attacks On Muslims Is Wrong" -- well, of course. many of us experienced a knee-jerk reaction to the events of the last 2 weeks--it is unfair to deny anyone their right to be angry--but only the most ignorant and vile among us failed to come to our senses before we lashed out.

meanwhile, the writer states "all Muslims view them (the perpetrators) as mass murderers." this is obviously not true. there are thousands demonstrating everyday their support for bin Laden and their hatred for me and my fellow americans.

MattD did use some unfortunate phrasing, but i am with him on "time will come for the Muslim American community to put their chips on the table and really decide who they're playing for." i'd like to think even the writer could agree with that, as she states "Do not fight with the Muslims or Arabs, but stand with them." Well, the reverse must also be true, missy, if we are to survive the coming troubles.
posted by danOstuporStar at 6:55 AM on September 26, 2001


Vetinari: The notion that any citizens of a people at war have the "right not to care" is laughable. Society is a compact of mutual obligations; individual liberties are a derivative and dependent of those obligations, not independent of or superior to them. No one, and I mean no one, who is prepared to enjoy the benefits of the compact of mutual obligation is entitled or should be tolerated to claim to be exempted from those obligations, particularly when the international airport offers them a convenient and honorable way to excuse themselves from the obligations by excusing themselves from the reciprocal benefits.

Mirla: as an American I have a right to set forth my views about the obligation of Americans. Whatever right I lack to opine regarding Muslims would trump my right to opine about Americans, only if those Muslims set being Muslim above being American if and to the extent those things would conflict. Persons who feel that conflict does exist, and who subordinate being American, should make their way to the nearest international airport, and depart withour rancor or resentment on either side.

A Muslim who moved to a neutral country, or even who moved to Afghanistan and took up arms against American troops, acting from a sincere religious commitment, would, to my mind, be acting in a very honorable way.

The special nature of the Muslim-American obligation in this war (to contribute to intelligence, counter-intelligence, and infiltration), should they shoulder it, is the same as the special obligation of men 18-25. Each is uniquely qualified to perform services necessary to the war effort, and are therefore obliged to tender such services pursuant to the social compact.
posted by MattD at 7:32 AM on September 26, 2001


To NOTE :

Of the people attacked or killed after the WTC Terror act;
it included most people who did not seem to fit in with the Norm. of what may be considered an American Citizen.

Sihks were the main targets too; not for their religion but appearance.

Just goes to show that ignorant people have ISLAM last on their minds.....

"Placing The Blame For Attacks On People U don't Understad Is Wrong"
posted by xxx--xxx at 9:15 AM on September 26, 2001


I've lived in several Islamic countries - Tunisia, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia - and traveled in some more, and in every case I was treated with respect and tolerance by Muslim and ethnic hosts. My Muslim friends in the States and overseas are great people.

But I mostly agree with MattD.

It's a sad day for Islamic Americans when they have to defend their reputation and roles in their own homeland, but white America didn't put them there. The terrorists put the focus on Arab-Americans or Muslims by using them as cover in this country. The motivations of the terrorists are very wrong... they exercised a severe, lethal rascism that is unique... but it is increasingly viewed as a characteristic of the Islamic world, overseas and now at home. Blending into the background of a low-key, largely patriotic Muslim America has cast a shadow on all Muslim-Americans. Now it's time to declare which side of this conflict you're on, no matter who you are. But it would be esp. useful for Muslim-Americans to declare, and loudly, for their home. Sadly, this kind of declaration - patriotism, rather - hasn't been that obvious in the past few years in the Muslim community in the States.

My mother-in-law, nearly 100% Italian-American, told me that "officials" and some of her neighbors "talked" to her family members just after the start of WWII, despite that fact that her people had been in-country for decades. That is, the family's loyalties were assessed and weighed. In the meantime, everyone knows that Italian-Americans are true blue Americans, but they still were a little suspicious back then. So were German-Americans. And definitely Japanese-Americans. So, maybe Muslim-Americans are just going thru the quintessential American hazing. When I start seeing stories about groups of teenage Muslim-American boys and girls trooping into the local Army and Marine recruiting stations, I know I'll feel better.

I hear a lot about how Muslims are offended by the current scrutiny... I say to them... go ahead and be offended, but the same thing will be expected of you as of previous generations of immigrants. This is the first, real test for Muslim-Americans as Americans. How willl they meet the challenge?
posted by Kami at 9:31 AM on September 26, 2001


MattD -
Do you also believe that Christians should do everything possible to protect America from their radical co-religionist terrorists?
posted by yesster at 9:32 AM on September 26, 2001


I've lived in several Islamic countries - Tunisia, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia - and traveled in some more, and in every case I was treated with respect and tolerance by Muslim and ethnic hosts. My Muslim friends in the States and overseas are great people.

But I mostly agree with MattD.

It's a sad day for Islamic Americans when they have to defend their reputation and roles in their own homeland, but white America didn't put them there. The terrorists put the focus on Arab-Americans or Muslims by using them as cover in this country. The motivations of the terrorists are very wrong... they exercised a severe, lethal rascism that is unique... but it is increasingly viewed as a characteristic of the Islamic world, overseas and now at home. Blending into the background of a low-key, largely patriotic Muslim America has cast a shadow on all Muslim-Americans. Now it's time to declare which side of this conflict you're on, no matter who you are. But it would be esp. useful for Muslim-Americans to declare, and loudly, for their home. Sadly, this kind of declaration - patriotism, rather - hasn't been that obvious in the past few years in the Muslim community in the States.

My mother-in-law, nearly 100% Italian-American, told me that "officials" and some of her neighbors "talked" to her family members just after the start of WWII, despite that fact that her people had been in-country for decades. That is, the family's loyalties were assessed and weighed. In the meantime, everyone knows that Italian-Americans are true blue Americans, but they still were a little suspicious back then. So were German-Americans. And definitely Japanese-Americans. So, maybe Muslim-Americans are just going thru the quintessential American hazing. When I start seeing stories about groups of teenage Muslim-American boys and girls trooping into the local Army and Marine recruiting stations, I know I'll feel better.

I hear a lot about how Muslims are offended by the current scrutiny... I say to them... go ahead and be offended, but the same thing will be expected of you as of previous generations of immigrants. This is the first, real test for Muslim-Americans as Americans. How willl they meet the challenge?
posted by Kami at 9:32 AM on September 26, 2001


Yes, MattD, do you think Christians are not putting their chips on the table for not standing up and helping to infiltrate Operation Rescue, and other extremist Christian groups linked to terrorism and murder?

I agree with your sentiment and I suspect many other Muslims do as well. But when you put it terms such as "put their chips on the table and really decide who they're playing for," you are playing a dangerous game-- you assume that by acting as normal citizens and not getting involved, just as most Christians have not gotten involved with reigning in Christian terrorists or White Supremacists, Muslim-Americans have not decided "who they're playing for."

Again, I understand your sentiment, but your words are overly dichotomized. Americans show who they're playing for by living decent lives, paying taxes, and being part of the community-- not by signing up for the CIA.
posted by cell divide at 9:41 AM on September 26, 2001


How do people feel about "people with Mideastern names or appearance, who are told they cannot fly"?

Clearly this is racial profiling and should not be practiced. It it also almost as clear that they could win a discrimination lawsuit. But what purpose would such a lawsuit serve other that increasing the divide?

Every US citizen has been negatively affected. Some effects are merely inconvenient, losing a weekend of football or spending an extra hour each day in traffic caused by extra security for instance, while some, of course, are outright tragic. But I've been very impressed by people tolerance and patience dealing with these effects.

Meanwhile these people are not saying anything like "This is wrong but I understand Our country is facing a crisis." Instead it's "hey Council on American-Islamic Relations, who should I sue?"
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:52 AM on September 26, 2001


Almost any undercover agent could convincingly emulate a far-right-Christian terrorist for the purposes of infiltrating Operation Rescue, and I'm certain that most of the law enforcement officers who have investigated every flavor of (predominantly white) American extremism have themselves been of white Christian extraction.

However, virtually all intelligence experts agree that there is no possibility anyone but a born-and-bred member of their native ethnic and/or religious community could effectively infiltrate any of the serious Middle East terrorist organization. We have been told for the past two weeks that there are millions of Arab and Muslim patriots in the US; the fact is that we desperately need a few thousand of them to get on the front lines to act as domestic and international intelligence agents and intelligence and civic affairs officers in the armed services.

I would argue that it is incumbent upon the leaders of the communities to inspire and organize the communities into supplying those spies and soldiers that we so desperately need. It would also be a gesture of great humanitarianism to their co-religionists and or former countrymen, as that kind of effective intelligence operation will be the one thing that will enable the US to avoid broader-based military operations which will have severe collateral effects.

In time of war, everyone has an obligation to contribute. If your best contribution is to joining the CIA, then off to Langley with you, no questions asked. (And, yes, when the call goes out to form up the chubby astigmatic 30-year-old Irish-American corporate lawyer batallion, I shall accept my conscription with good grace.)
posted by MattD at 12:33 PM on September 26, 2001


Muslim challenge?.. Islam's Flawed Spokesmen http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/09/26/muslims/index.html?x
posted by Kami at 7:57 PM on September 26, 2001


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