I am proud to be a Muslim American having diligently served my country for over 30 years. Now retired, yet active, I am distressed by a constant barrage of accusations hurled against Americans who are Muslim. These appear regularly in the comments on my articles, and of others posted online, or in the newspapers. They are highly biased and unfounded. Increasingly, we are blamed for terrorism. Undoubtedly, terrorism or killing of non-combatant civilians is a deplorable global phenomenon. It is carried out by certain individuals with a grudge, and states pushing their specific agenda on "others." It is unfortunate that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were carried out by some Muslim criminals. These horrific crimes were forthwith condemned by Muslim leaders and prominent Islamic scholars world-wide, including all Muslim organizations in the United States, although mainstream media did not acknowledge the reports. If it is any consolation, of about 2,900 who died, 358 were Muslim. Terrorism is a response of the weak against actual or perceived injustices. We witness it daily as we listen to the news. Persons of foresight connected 9/11, to our complicity with Israel in cruelties committed on Palestinians. Others, to a million children and elderly dying as a result of decade long U.S. sanctions imposed on Iraq. Subsequently, our administration invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, while no Afghani or Iraqi was ever involved in any act of terrorism against us. And what is the result? It is what is expected when wars are waged, and countries are occupied. Thousands of Afghanis killed, and hundreds imprisoned in horrible detentions centers such as Guantanamo and other secret cells within and outside of Afghanistan. The situation is Iraq is ghastlier. We have unleashed a horror, about 3,000 of our soldiers dead, and thousands maimed and injured; Iraqis about 700,000 dead, many more maimed and injured, and almost non-existing care facilities. The people there lack the normal essential facilities of water and electric, with sewer running in streets. Our presence has generated sectarian violence and a civil war. How could anyone accuse American Muslims for this debacle? The American public gave a resounding response in the last elections, telling the administration to stop this war. Even more flabbergasting are the accusations that the fault lies somewhere with Islam, or the holy Qur'an, which incite Muslims to commit terrorism. In fact these insults are directed towards the 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide, including thousands of Americans who adopted Islam after careful studies. One can render havoc with any document, particularly a sacred book, the Qur'an or Bible, by taking phrases out of text and without understanding their specific context. Thus even more terrible statements occur in the New and Old Testaments. Muslim Americans are among the highest educated with the lowest crime rate in America. Muslim doctors, specialists, lawyers, teachers, accountants and businessmen are serving all segments of American society, from the inner cities to the high tech reserves. As well as serving in the army, in substantially large numbers. Much more troubling is the fact that we have been unjustly targeted for five long years since 9/11, and despite widespread dragnet with drummed-up publicity, not a single Muslim American has ever been involved in a terrorist act. A fact acknowledged by the FBI. It is time that all decent Americans voice indignation against such wild accusations about their co-citizen Muslims. And stand shoulder to shoulder with us to remedy this widening gulf created through fabricated lies to further a bigoted and narrow agenda to ostracize Muslim Americans. Siraj Islam Mufti, Ph.D. a freelance journalist active in American Muslim affairs.
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