Muslims for Peace: How help in stopping terrorism? How speak despite fear, the effects of terrorism? Muslims against Terrorism: How be proud, I love Islam, amid Muslim violence?
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Muslims for Peace, Muslims against Terrorism: How be proud, I love Islam, amid Muslim violence?
WESTERN TOLERANCE and ISLAM
THE ROLE OF MUSLIM MODERATES -
One big question: why are Muslim moderates not protesting en masse? Why are millions of Muslim moderates, Muslims for peace, Muslims against terrorism, not taking to the street worldwide, week after week, voicing their outrage at Muslim atrocities? Why do I so often hear Muslims identifying as moderate insist that the Muslim religion is a religion of peace - and yet I only here most of them voice outrage over the Danish cartoon, and not the many Muslim violations of peacefulness.
Are they too afraid? I'm sure fear plays a part - and I can well imagine that the journey into free thinking and speaking is a much more difficult one if one starts out within Islam.
But I am sure it isn't just fear that holds moderate Muslim from speaking out. Are they too caught in the spell of the dominant Muslim voices, I ask? Many did get caught up protesting against the Danish cartoon.
My major point. The more the violence in the Muslim religion is exposed as intolerable, the better. And the more that Muslims speak out against those doing violence in the name of the Muslim religion, the better.
So I call on all Muslims for peace to protest, to denounce those Muslims who do violence. Or if they come to believe that the Muslim religion condones such violence, my suggestion is that they stand against that brand of the Muslim religion, that they become like the millions of Catholics who have turned their back on Catholicism and its being against birth control, abortion, divorce, gay rights and so on and so forth.
Those are my main points on Muslim moderates, plain and simple.
I also call on moderate Muslims - meaning Muslims truly against violence done in the name of their religion - to ask themselves a question.
Many Muslims have protested about ways they are victims of Western prejudice. Those protests make sense; it's good to speak out to stop victimization.
I suggest that moderate Muslims, Muslims for peace, Muslims against terrorism, ask themselves another question: if they are victims of something else as well? - for example of imams who have encouraged them to protest a small cartoon, to feel offended by a small cartoon, but have not encouraged them to be hugely offended by Muslim violence done in the name of the Muslim religion, who have not encouraged them to speak out en masse against genital mutilation, against inequality between women and men, and so on and so forth? Protesting about the Danish cartoon instead of horrific violence is the equivalent of someone with a heavy dose of cancer protesting violently about a pimple.
I could go further: to what extent has their religion, with its emphasis on learning obedience to authority and to following rules, worked against them, so that they may actually have felt offended by the Danish cartoon at the same time as they may actually not even feel offended by Muslim violence done in the name of the Muslim religion?
I also suggest they ask themselves why their was such pressure to protest against a cartoon and none to take to the streets protesting the huge amounts of Muslim violence done in the name of religion?
In other words, I would like Muslims to ask themselves questions I haven't often heard debated: if and how they are victims, not of the West (far less repressive, including against Muslims, than most regimes in Muslim countries), but of representatives of their religion, and perhaps also of the underlying philosophy of their religion which lays down a huge amount of rules, rather than encouraging listening to oneself?
(Note: of course I am equally against any other religion or non-religious ideology which discourages critical thinking, freedom of thought, exploration. And, if the Muslim religion were truly one of peace, just as there would be no Muslim or non-Muslim outrage if I were exploring Christian dogmatism or Communist dogmatism, likewise there would be not even the possibility of Muslim or non-Muslim outrage over this exploration of Muslim dogmatism.)
A cartoon just came to mind, not the Danish cartoon, but a cartoon of a frog dropped into a pot of water. It's from Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Drop the frog into a pot of cold water, heat it slowly, and the frog will boil to death. I think of the frog in relation to the escalating amount of violence done in the name of Islam. People get numbed. Moderate Muslims did not protest at smaller amounts of violence - just as the frog did not jump out of the water as the water started to warm up. As the violence escalates, most Muslim moderates continue not to protest.
The Danish cartoon was something new. Muslims were encouraged to protest. Perhaps there was a lot of pent-up frustration, and it all came out against the cartoon. Also humans have lots of innate aggression, and if not brought up to develop much empathy, we easily find targets to hate.
But to repeat my wish for Muslim moderates: I wish Muslims moderates, Muslims for peace, would mobilize against Muslim violence done in the name of their religion.
If Muslims marched in the streets all around the world every time a suicide bomber detonated him or herself, this would likely have a huge impact. If Muslims doing violence in the name of their religion were confronted on every side by evidence that what they were doing was considered evil by the vast majority of Muslims, if they heard coming from masses of Muslim voices that, far from going to paradise and being welcomed by virgins, they would never get near heaven, that would also likely have an impact. Questions at least might be formed in the minds of those on the route to deciding to blow themselves up in the belief that they were doing right, with a sure ticket to paradise. More and more people might hesitate: what if those other voices were right?
I come back to my core question: how to help stopping terrorism? One, think as clearly as possible. Critical thinking has been the strongest tool of the West, in its movement from far less advanced than the Muslim world to its current status. Think - and as much as possible, recognize the grip of fear, such a powerful factor in many religions, holding with the threat of hell very often, in in the case of Islam at present, the threat of physical violence, such as death threats.
Then, perhaps the largest question. How be proud - I love Islam - with so much Muslim violence?
The same has been true with whites in relation to blacks, men in relation to women, straights in relation to gays, and so on. Again, as with Germans, those who believe in equality all too easily find it hard to take pride in their group, and stand up when there is counter-hostility coming from the the non-dominant group.
Likewise, for Muslims who are outside the violence, it is likely to be easiest to deny there is something wrong with huge segments of Islam at present - as there was with virtually all of Christianity during the time of the Crusades and the European witch hunts and the pressure for conversion of non-Christians around the world. Another very likely outcome is not be able to feel pride in one's religion - a religion with Muslims, in the name of their religion, committing so much violence, jihad, suicide bombing, destructiveness, Muslim to Muslim death squads.
Christians have taken various routes. Some have distances themselves from Christianity. Others do not recognized Christian violence, etc as having anything to do with Christianity. It isn't the real Christianity, they claim. (I've already made my position clear on this: I am judging any religion based on what members do, on ACTION.) In the less religious parts of the West, many of those who consider themselves Christian have only the foggiest notion about Christianity in the past, biblical stories, etc.
I don't know how Muslims will respond, those who recognize the violence done in the name of Islam, and also recognize the ways the Muslim texts back such violence. Will there be mainly denial about any aspects of the Muslim religion that are not pro-peace? Will there be a huge unwanted inheritance of shame? Will there be angry breaking from Islam? Will there be recoil? Will there, for some at least, be pride - a pride that comes from recognizing the good from one's group while also acknowledging the faults, flows and even horrors?
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I wish you good thinking.
copyright Elsa Schieder, 2008, 2011, all rights reserved
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Muslims for Peace. Question: How help in stopping terrorism?