The Lament of the “Good” Muslim

Muslims in France claim that, just because a few so-called Muslims committed heinous acts of terrorism, that they are unjustly and irrationally being treated as if they were all terrorists or potential terrorists who hate the West. Not all, of course, but this quote exemplifies the contingent to which I refer.

As a Muslim, Amina said, she had cried when she learned that so many people had been killed. “Here in France it is very, very, very difficult to live when you are Muslim because they always think you are a terrorist. And when I heard that again, Muslims killed people because they were not OK with what they said, I was totally ashamed and I was very sad,” she said.

The issue here is not whether all should be blamed for the actions of few but whether it is legitimate to be somewhat leery of any member of a cohort bound together by the same ideology when that cohort contains violent terrorists and their supporters who justify their actions by appeal to said ideology.

Further it is claimed it is especially unfair to be treated as if one were a potential terrorist or supporter of terrorism just because they are of the Islamic faith when terrorism is completely un-Islamic.

Completely un-Islamic?

Even Peter Bergen of CNN has, with reference to the Hebdo massacres, claimed this defense to be nonsense.

Does Islam have anything to do with the terrorist atrocities in Paris last week? The short, uncomfortable, answer is: Of course it does. …

The fact that the Paris attacks have something to do with Islamic beliefs cannot be wished away either by claims that Islam is simply a religion of peace, or by political correctness, or because we live in an increasingly secularized modern era that often doesn’t take deeply held religious beliefs sufficiently seriously. …

The reason that Islamist militants can assert that jihad is necessary against the perceived enemies of Islam is that there is sufficient ammunition in the Quran to buttress their beliefs. …

Assertions, therefore, that Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam are as nonsensical as claims that the Crusades had nothing to do with Christian beliefs …

But let us say that the claim is not that there is no basis but that on balance a stronger case can be made that Islam does not promote or even allow terrorism. As usual the standard “temperate” verses in the Koran promoting tolerance and not being the initiator of violent conquest are trotted out to make this case. What is not pointed out is that these conciliatory verses are predicated on Islam not being under attack. And there is the rub. Once under siege or attack it is no holds barred and terrorism is absolutely front and center to the battle plan.

Quran (5:33)“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

That is all it takes. And, in the minds of many Islamic leaders across the Ummah, the West is not only making “mischief in the land” Islam is under siege. The insidious corrupt values of the West are seditiously promoted by Western entertainment media undermine Islam and Islamic values. It is a stealth attack and this is not even to mention overt aggression from drones to whole scale invasions – a sorry tale of propping up dictators and “making mischief in the land.”

Neither the ‘no-basis” nor the “on-balance” argument hold up. What remains then is that there are in their cohort those who hate the West (Dar al-Islam) and have vowed to destroy or subjugate the West.

Is it not then reasonable, in the absence of reasonable evidence to the contrary in a specific case, to be leery of Muslims one accidentally meets on the bus or in the market place in that they might well despise you and your values despite the courtesy that your country has shown them? This is not to say one should, only that it is not unreasonable.

Yes it is unfair (in an ideal world) to treat with suspicion those “good” Muslims who seriously reject terrorism and somehow square Islam with Western values but until they find some way to obviously differentiate themselves from those of their cohort who do not, what else should they expect?