I received an email Saturday from Errol Phillips, regarding the necessary course for America to win the War on Global Terror. Phillips contends that “our leaders” are too “P.C.” to take what Phillips contends is the necessary action of “rounding up” Muslims for the safety of Americans. Otherwise, says Phillips, Americans “will have to take matters into our own hands and do what is necessary to protect our way of life and our families.”
I could not disagree more.
As I am a Southern Baptist in doctrine, and have long noted the disparity between what is taught by the Bible and by the Quran, I certainly do not agree with much that Islam claims, as a religion. That said, I cannot condone the collective demonization of nearly a billion people simply because of how they choose to serve God. There have been, according to a site which blames Islam for Islamofascism, 5,568 “deadly acts of terror” since the 9/11 attacks. Assuming this to be true, that works out to about one act of terror for every 197,557 Muslims. Since it is reasonable to believe that the same people commit these kinds of acts, the ratio is far closer to more than one million Muslims who have never committed a violent act for every Muslim who has committed one. Frankly, that speaks rather well of Islam.
So what’s going on? What I mean is, Islam has not exactly done a great job of defending its image as a religion of freedom and peace. Groups like CAIR, frankly, do more damage than support for their cause, as they cannot seem to understand that people do not trust groups which will not be accountable for the bad things done in their name. It should be remembered that Christianity had to split in half before the Roman Catholic Church, oh so grudgingly, came about to admit that the Inquisition and things like Simony and Indulgences were not very Christ-like. I mention this, because the overwhelming majority of Protestants today accept the Roman Catholics as real Christians and brothers in Christ, and see the late Pope John Paul II as a true saint. It should also be recalled that John Paul II was never shy to criticize authorities, whether the Soviets, the Americans, the Protestants – or the Catholics.
But getting back to the point, most Muslims should not be confused, at all, with the people who claim to speak for the faith, much less the extremists who think that God is impressed by a bloodbath. I know this, because in my garrulous habit of chatting up anyone willing to have a conversation with me, I have made acquaintance with a fair number of Muslims here in Houston. They tend to keep their privacy, for a number of reasons, but when they speak they often do so with a fervor and conviction I find straightforward. For the longest time, Muslims have addressed their own community, thinking of the world as pretty much an alien place. This allows fiends like bin Laden and Khomeini an open stage to claim the mantle of religious leadership, especially since Islam teaches that a man who claims moral authority he does not really receive from God is in dire peril of his soul. The soulless, of course, do not worry about that.
I also discovered that many Muslims are unsure of American motives. We value freedom, but that freedom protects pornography and obscenity. We have laws, but the rich seem to get away, literally, with murder. We offer products at good price all around the world, but it seems that we inject our culture into everything we touch. Muslims are not keen to have their daughters be seen as sex objects, their men judged mainly on their ability to make money, and their families mocked for practicing traditional beliefs and holding closely to their culture. When America speaks to the world, Muslims worry that we are giving orders, not making suggestions. So, most Muslims are reluctant to appear too supportive of America. Even those who agree with the American way of life worry that the Arab world would misunderstand them.
The false image of America in the Muslim world is hard enough to correct, but it can be done. Indeed, the changes in Iraq and Afghanistan are going a long way to prove the extremists liars. But it is imperative that the American people, even if they do not agree with the teachings of Islam, do not wrongly blame Islam for everything done in its name.