The mobilizing utility of the “war on terrorism” label has run its course. To continue to use it for rhetorical or organizational purposes would obscure the moral, political and social responsibilities that Muslim societies must now assume to cleanse themselves of fanatical fringe groups and ideologies.
Launching a war against al Qaeda and other terrorism groups and their supporters was necessary. Pursuing it in its present form will not be sufficient, for President Bush or for President Kerry. The leadership in a broader struggle must inexorably pass to Muslims who honor tolerance and human dignity — and who are willing to place themselves at risk to defend those values for all faiths and races.
I agree. The only problem is finding Muslims who honor tolerance and human dignity without either having secret terrorist ties or making their case for tolerance and human dignity in such a way as to leave highway-wide loopholes for the activities of Muslim radicals.
So I am issuing a call today. I have done this before and come up empty, but no harm in trying again. If you are a Muslim who is willing to renounce and reject the elements of Islamic theology and law that deny equality of rights to women and non-Muslims, and that mandate violence against unbelievers, please comment here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward very much to hearing from you.