Stories like this show why CAIR can so easily portray anti-jihad efforts as “anti-Muslim”: the media uncritically accepts the group’s contention that to discuss the roots of terror in the doctrine of jihad is to hate Muslims. To criticize the elements of Islam that give rise to terror is not to be anti-Muslim at all; individual Muslims themselves may not accept or even know about the doctrines that Osama and others use to justify themselves. But to ignore these elements out of fear of being anti-Muslim is completely wrongheaded: it plays into the hands of the jihadists by foreclosing on any honest examination of why they’re really doing what they’re doing — which foreclosure, of course, destroys the chance that any positive and really effective steps can be taken to stop them.
This story should not assume that Americans are “anti-Muslim” because they think Islam teaches violence. It is a simple fact that Islamic teachers around the world today do teach violence in the name of the religion. Anyone who doubts that should search the archives here. But to take note of that fact is not to hate Muslims: it is to ask them to remove the hate from their religion, and to accept the principles of human rights that are accepted everywhere else in the world.
From AP, with thanks to Charles:
WASHINGTON – About one in four Americans holds anti-Muslim views, such as a belief that the religion teaches violence and hatred, according to a survey an Islamic advocacy group released Monday.
The survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found a majority of Americans hold positive views of Muslims, while a substantial number have no opinion at all.
Anti-Islamic sentiment surged in this country after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by terrorists who claimed to be acting in the name of the faith. Since then, anti-Muslim views have been encouraged by a continuing string of terror attacks, including decapitations, in Iraq, as well as a violent attack on school children in Russia, said Omar Ahmad, chairman of the council’s board.
“They have nothing to do with Islam. People claim they are doing it for Islam, but it’s really in spite of Islam,” Ahmad said.
I wish that just one time, Omar, you would back that up from Islamic sources when you say it, and give us a real refutation of the detailed Islamic justifications that radical Muslims have so often given for their actions. The bare assertion that they’re acting “in spite of Islam,” when put against their mountains of citations from Qur’an and Hadith, just won’t cut it anymore. If you really did this, Omar, you would dispel a lot of the suspicion you decry.
But Omar Ahmad, of course, was reported as saying in 1998 that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” He has claimed that his remarks were misrepresented, but the reporter says she remembers his statement, if not his exact words, and declines to retract her story.
UPDATE (thanks to Anthony): The German press has picked up on this story, also portraying Americans as “anti-Muslim.” (Do not adjust your set. This link is in German.)