Jewish World Review Oct. 22, 2002 / 16 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763
Where are the moderate Muslims?
For much of the last century, white Southerners were routinely (and
rightly) taken to task for not speaking out against the violent actions of
racists. For a time at least, the Klan seemed to be able to lynch and beat
black men with impunity.
White Southern silence meant tacit approval to
many. The South eventually left its racist past behind, but only when its
politicians and community leaders spoke out aggressively against the
hateful acts of white supremacists. Silence was no longer an option for
the majority, for it became clear that the longer violence against blacks
continued, the more likely it was that the rest of the country would think
all white Southerners were KKK supporters.
Muslims worldwide face the same problem. In the last few weeks, Muslim
terrorists killed nearly 200 in Bali, tried to kill more in Kuwait. But
where were all the statements of condemnation from the Muslim "moderate"
leadership? I heard not one. This, despite President Bush's oft-repeated
reminder to the world that this is not a war against Islam and his visit
to an Islamic Center just days after September 11th.
In the aftermath of the attacks on America, Muslims in the U.S. complained
that they were being unfairly tarred by the acts of a few extremists.
"Islam is a religion of peace," President Bush himself said the week after
the attacks on America. Yet just as white Southerners couldn't shake their
racist past so long as the Klan was still kicking, Muslims will find it
difficult to shake its link to terrorism if al Qaeda continues to strike
and Muslim leaders continue to say or do little.
More people are beginning to ask why the burden should be on America to
prove to the world that we are a tolerant nation. The more appropriate
formulation: after September 11th, the burden is on Muslims worldwide to
demonstrate their intolerance for the terrorists.
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© 2002, Laura Ingraham