US Muslims should harshly condemn terrorist acts
In the pain-filled atmosphere after Sept. 11, I was one of the Muslims who took a public and critical stand regarding the way both my co-religionists and our government were handling the crisis. As a result, I started to receive death threats from Muslim and non-Muslim fanatics alike. The stress my family endured became unbearable when police noticed that my home was being "staked out" by "unknown and suspicious parties."
A friend of mine, an Orthodox rabbi, urged my family and me to stay with him, saying, "My friend, whatever befalls you let it befall me--we are one!"
I have lectured with this rabbi, and we disagree on practically everything related to the Arab- Israeli conflict. But in his offer of sanctuary, at great personal risk to himself and his family, he represented the best of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions. He represented what, in my view, is the true soul of our country, the United States of America. Today, that soul is endangered.
I fear that in the aftermath of Sept. 11 the terrorists will succeed in placing the American tradition of tolerance and sanctuary under siege. The social barrier against intolerance that traditionally acts to muffle religious bigots in our country has been ruptured. In one year, more than 20 hate-filled books, with titles such as "Islamic Invasion," "The Truth About Islam" and "The Enemies Among Us," have been published. Some voices that gained a public platform went as far as urging the U.S. to rid itself of all Muslims through deportation or other means.
One thing fueling this rise in public bigotry is the anger expressed by some Americans about the Muslim reaction to Sept. 11. On this matter, I think that American Muslims should take a hard look at the Muslim organizations that claim to represent them or speak on their behalf.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the leadership of these organizations has failed to establish its credibility and to convince the American public of the outrage felt by most Muslims over the tragedy of Sept. 11. Various individuals and particular organizations have issued isolated condemnations, but to date there has not been something unified and overwhelming. Muslim leadership has failed, and it has blamed everyone but itself for this failure.
American Muslims must demand that either this leadership reform itself or be changed. There are three concrete steps that already should have been taken but would still be healing and powerful.
* All major Muslim organizations should agree on a unified statement unequivocally condemning terrorism and the Sept. 11 attacks in the harshest language possible. All major American Muslim organizations and intellectuals should sign this statement.
* Muslim organizations should establish a unified task force that provides information and assistance to the federal government with the purpose of preventing further terrorist attacks against the U.S. and apprehending anyone involved in facilitating or carrying out such attacks. The point is that Muslims themselves should dedicate a considerable amount of money and effort to assisting the government in the war against terrorism committed on American land. They should also invest significant funds in independent investigation and inquiries for the purpose of combating terrorism.
* These organizations should organize a massive march to ground zero in New York to express the unequivocal opposition of American Muslims to the terrorism of Osama bin Laden and his like. As an expression of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks, the marchers should each deposit a flower or card at the site of the murders. We Muslims must send a clear message to terrorists that they do not speak for us and that they are not welcome in our midst. I even wonder why this leadership has failed to undertake such simple steps as printing and distributing bumper stickers saying, "Muslims Against Terrorism!"
Most important, whatever we do must be united, compelling and convincing, not because we fear retaliation or harm by bigots or Islam-haters but because this is what Islamic morality teaches us. And because this is our country, and we must be at the forefront of the war against those who wish to terrorize it into abandoning its traditions of tolerance and sanctuary.
Khaled Abou El Fadl is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Fellow in Islamic Law, and Acting Professor of Law, at the UCLA School of Law. Professor Abou El Fadl is one of the leading authorities in Islamic law in the United States and Europe. Raised in Egypt and Kuwait, he trained in Islamic legal sciences in Egypt, Kuwait, and the United States; he has clerked for the Arizona Supreme Court, practiced immigration and investment law, and worked with such human rights organizations as Human Rights Watch and Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights.
Why have I never heard about you?
ABSOLUTELY COURAGEOUS ARTICLE! Why is it that we only hear from the militant morons and so little from enlightened educated ones like you?
Please speak up even more publicly and loudly.
The American people need to hear you.
Yet, if one were to hear the most prominent and virulent opponents of Muslims in America- Pipes, Michael Savage, Robertson- none will openly say that the Muslim communities in America supported the 9/11 attacks. Why? Because the Muslims made it known that they condemned it. So why is the author advocating extraordinary measures for attacks that we, as in the Muslim at large, did not do? In contrast, the American govt is directly responsible for killing over 400 Afghan civilians and has no indications it will compensate them or their families. What about the over 500,000 children dead from American sanctions on Iraq? Or American 'green light' to Russian atrocities- mass executions, rapes, ethnic cleansing- in Chechnya so America could get cheap oil from Moscow?
Or American support of Muslim regimes who brutally repress 100 of millions of Muslims?
Unlike Mr. Abou el Fadl's rhetoric, Muslims should NOT aspire to be Bush's "American patriots". Patriotism is an amoral, debasing bond among humans. "My country wrong or right" is determined by the interests and motives of the ruler(s), not Allah. On the contrary, Allah instructs Muslims to adhere to their contractual obligations, including the contracts signed in order for many to come and live here. Thus, they should obey the laws and not cause anarchy, or corruption, or revolt against the govt as the contract stipulates. And that is the fundamental source of Muslim bond with Americam govt. This does not include aiding in Orwellian counterterrorism stings, mass intelligence gathering on Muslim communities, or assisting in the containment of 100s of suspects whose actual connection with terrorism is unknown to the average Muslim (but the FBI asks Muslims and nonMuslims to just trust them?!).
While your post wasn't directed at me, I would like someone to tell me why so many people think that the US is a terrorist. Seriously. So many people on this board talk like it's a given, but I don't know why. One person tried to talk to me about the US being in Lebanon, but that was going on way before they got there, and it went on long after they left.
I agree that the cruise missile attack in Sudan was a terrible mistake, but there has to be more to it than that. The US helping the mujahadeens in Afghanistan vs.the USSR could be considered aiding terrorism, I suppose, but they were there helping Muslims against Communists.
Where can I learn more about this subject?
I posted a number of posts, yet I see you haven't responded.
I would like you to make a coherent disagreement with what I said earlier, rather than talk about the times of Babylon (you're beginning to sound like a Rasta)
When Afghanistan was bombed the Muslims were full of hot air and equivocation. When the Palestinians are ill-treated we get more hot air and equivocation. When terrorism is condemned we get yet more hot air and equivocation. There is a pattern here...
PS. Fadl never calls the Jewish rabbi his "best friend" as 'nail' asserts - a deliberate distortion.
Esther, your disagreement is ...?
In 1993, the UN Truth Commission on El Salvador named the army officers who had committed the worst atrocities of the civil war; two-thirds of them had been trained at Fort Benning. In Chile, the school's graduates ran Pinochet's secret police and three principal concentration camps. In 1966, the US government was forced to release copies of the school's training manuals. For aspiring terrorists, these recommended blackmail, torture, execution and the arrest of witnesses' relatives.
The irony is that the US is also the home of some of history's greatest human rights movements, such as the 1960s epic campaign for civil rights.
Perhaps you should understand your own govt and their actions better. I dont even have to go as far back as the Indian massacres.
For your convenience I've posted an except from The New Rulers of the World, by John Pilger
"In the war against terrorism," said Bush, "we're going to hunt down these evil-doers wherever they are, no matter how long it takes." Strictly speaking, it should not take long, as more terrorists are given training and sanctuary in the US than anywhere in the world. They include mass murderers, torturers, former and future tyrants and assorted international criminals.
There is no terrorist sanctuary to compare with Florida, currently governed by the President's brother, Jeb. In his book Rogue State, former senior State Department official Bill Blum describes a typical Florida trial of three anti-Castro terrorists who had hijacked a plane to Miami at knifepoint. "Even though the kidnapped pilot was brought back from Cuba to testify against the men," he wrote, "the defence simply told the jurors the man was lying, and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting the defendants."
General Jose Guillermo Garcia has lived in Florida since the 1990s. He
was head of El Salvador's military during the 1980s when death squads closely linked to the army murdered thousands of people. General Prosper Avril, the Haitian dictator, liked to display the bloodied victims of his torture on television. When he was overthrown, he was flown to Florida
by the US Government. Thiounn Prasith, Pol Pot's henchman and apologist at the UN, lives in Mount Vernon, New York. General Mansour Moharari, who ran the Shah of Iran's notorious prisons, is wanted in Iran, but is untroubled in the US.
I have a simple question for everyone who has been 'supporting' the mythical land of freedom etc.
Who denies that the US IS THE biggest terrorist sponsor, and oppressor in recent history ?
Any takers ?
There were a lot of Muslims leaders in the US who have condemned the terrorist acts. There is the sites:
God Bless America!!
God Bless Canada!!
I would like to thank the wonderful people here in Canada who have helped me and my famliy through ruff times.
When you are referring to slavery, don't get confused with the United States of America, the country, and 'the Americas' the continents and islands. According to calculations by the historian P.D. Curtin, 399,000 slaves were brought to the United States between 1500 and 1870. Almost 10 times this number went to the Caribbean and about the same to Brazil. Spanish America got 4 times as many slaves as came to what would become the United States. While this is a lot of slaves, it is not millions. You can read more about slavery here:
Before you get to looking down on Americans, tell me your feelings about this quote from that site:
"African monarchs also often bought slaves (who might earlier have been obtained in any of these ways) from dealers, in order to sell them again to Europeans (or to other Africans, and especially Arabs)."
Anyone who brings up Hiroshima and Nagasaki is treading on questionable ground. That was war. It was not an unprovoked attack like Pearl Harbour, nor was it a genocidal massacre like the Muslim Turks perpetrated against the Armenians in the early part of the last century. Don't try to point fingers at other's past when your country's past is probably just as tainted.
If you don't think that America has a tradition of tolerance and sanctuary, it is because you have never been there. In America, you can worship in whatever way you wish. It doesn't matter if you are a Shiite or a Sunni Muslim. Can you say that for Iran? Your beloved Iraq? Anywhere in the Middle East? America might not be perfect, but I would like you to point to a non-western country which can provide more freedom, tolerance and liberty for her people.
If America has a "tradition of tolerancce and sanctuary" it is they who should be apologizing to us because we have not experienced that tradition. It is a mercy from us to America if we give a flower to a victim of September 11th, but it is our right to be treated equally. It is not something that we must grovel in order to receive.
Perhaps I didn't read the fine print that must have said, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, (but some men are more equal than others)."
First of all, this so-called "American tradition of tolerance and sanctuary" never existed. It is theoretical at best. Has Mr. Abou El Fadl totally ignored the American history of injustice and intolerance toward Native Americans and toward Africa, robbed of millions of her children who were sold to avaricious white slave masters, whose "tolerance" only applied to the white protestants who approved of their actions? Has he forgotten America's policy of domination and imperialism in the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and the Philippines? Has he forgotten America's policy of shoot first and ask questions later in countless Muslim countries or America's policies on Iraq, Afghanistan, and dozens of other countries; policies that inflict sickness and death, not on the corrupted regimes, but on the innocent people?
Has Mr. Abou El Fadl forgotten Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for which the United States still has not shown any remorse? Has he forgotten that the government agencies that he says we should assist "with the purpose of preventing further terrorist attacks against the U.S." are the very same agencies that have detained over 1,000 Muslims up until this day, who have shut down our charitible organizations, and have harassed our educational institutions and mosques?
If Mr. Abou El Fadl is an American who agrees with the above mentioned "tradition of tolerance and sanctuary", then I pray that Allah guides him and forgives him.
We do not owe America any apologies for September 11th. We expressed our sorrow clearly enough; so much so that thousands have accepted Islam after September 11th. But we will not apologize. We will not apologize because we did not fly the planes into the World Trade Center, nor do we support those who did it.
....cont in the next message
I just want to share with you a link to the U.S. department of State that sites the condemnations of the Muslims and Muslim organizations that some people might have missed.
The author suggests that Muslims in the US should undertake certain actions in response to the events of Sep 11 many of which in fact have already been done.
However, far more innocent people have died or have been killed in many other parts of the world but the author appears to think that it is OK to ignore their suffering. Many of these people have been killed by US (usually people affected by US actions are in millions like in Iraq and not in thousands)
I believe that this is the most naked form of patriotism that I have encountered from a Muslim "intellectual" as it advocates strong action to be taken when "American" lives are lost but doesn't take even a notice when millions of Muslims are killed, displaced, tortured, raped etc.
I believe finally it comes to the question as to who you identify with and the author demonstrates that he identifies with "America" to the point of disassociating himself from the Ummah at large completely as I have never heard him urging to take similar action when misfortunes and calamity has befallen the Ummah elsewhere.
All in all this shows the "patriot" Al Fadl in his complete nakedness and I beleive that he is so blind in his feelings that it is hard for him to see this.
I would suggest that you should examine some of your own exaggerations and reevaluate your conclusions accordingly.
Seems like more of the same rubbish, simply repackaged in a different form. I believe that it was Malcolm X who once said that it would be the house slave/negro who would look after the interests of and love his slavemaster more than the slavemaster would love himself. If Mr. Abou-ElFadl is so concerned about "his" country's plight, why does he not call attention to the U.S. policies which are unfortunately leading people into violence?
Better yet, if he has the guts, why not go and proclaim this nonsense (stated in this essay) in the streets of Damascus, Cairo, Karachi, or Dar es Salaam? See what kind of reception you would get from the Muslims there?
As a Muslim I could never really understand putting flowers at graveyards or even on memorials. A persons memory is in his mind and heart and his true prayers are to Allah. He(Allah)is the one who will accept and grant prayers.
Every Muslim speaks for themselves and are responsible for themselves. They do represent the Ummah. But it is they themselves who are answerable to Allah for themselves and will be judged for their actions on the day of Judgement. Organizations are not the ones who are going to be on trial on the day of judgement. Even though many organisations have condemned the actions(and rightfully so) they are still not the ones who are responsible for our actions as individuals.
As such, in my humble opinion, the best way to deal with this is not by appeals to mass emotions by going on marches, but on the individual level by making example of ourselves as true Muslims so when people see us they are encouraged to view Islam with more rational thought and approach. Finally, all victory comes from Allah. It is to him we should trust and turn, over and above all else.
This is a thought-provoking article. It doesn't only talk about what we should've done, but it also talk about what we should do. I personally had an experience very similar to the story of the Rabbi. My Jewish friend told me right after 9/11 if you need any place to stay, just come to my house. That touched me a lot and made me realize that people who wanted to put hatred in our hearts and in our society somehow failed. Non-Muslims are just like us wanting to know the truth; some or most of them don't know the real meaning of Islam. We should reach out to them and show them the real meaning and the teachings of Islam. Let them experience Islam firsthand. This, I believe, is something that each individual should and could do. This is something that no leader or organization is needed to tell us we should do it, it's a common sense. Unfortunately, though, very few do that.
'I fear that in the aftermath of Sept. 11 the terrorists will succeed in placing the American tradition of tolerance and sanctuary under siege'
Are you saying that the American Govt, who after all the 'terrorists' are fighting, is not the biggest terrorist on the planet ?
I put it to you that your little essay will mean absolutely NOTHING to all those muslims who were locked up after Sep11 with no trial, nor those who have since been deported on nothing more than minor charges.
So let me get this straight, you raised 3 actions which can be summarised as :
1) All US muslims should condemn those who carried out the Sep11 acts.
2) Muslim organisations should 'grass' on any muslims they suspect of not having any love for the US Govt
3) US muslims should have a big march and lay flowers at the 2 former towers of American greed and corruption.
I guess you would argue that all your doing is acting on the belief of 'when in Rome act like the Romans', however please tell me in all of your little 'essay' where is the Islamic perspective ?
I put it to you in quite clear words, that when you say :
Most important, whatever we do must be united, compelling and convincing, not because we fear retaliation or harm by bigots or Islam-haters but because this is what Islamic morality teaches us.
you actually mean all of the above, purely on the grounds of fear and 'retribution'.
You say :
because this is what Islamic morality teaches us
Really ? Islamic morality teaches you to make more of a fuss over non-muslims than muslims being persecuted in their own lands ?
By the way, the fact that the US has killed over 5000 innocent muslims in Afghanistan since your little 'tragedy', where were you and your fellow intellectuals ? Did you march and lay any flowers anywhere ?
I can honestly say that along with US policies, its 'intellectuals' like yourself who force the youth to take sides with people like Al-Qaeda