Saturday, July 09, 2005

GLENN REYNOLDS' readers nod approvingly at Thomas Friedman's solemn warning that if "the Muslim world" doesn't start to "really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists," then Western nations will assume all Muslims to be guilty of terrorism unless they can prove themselves innocent.

Reynolds quotes one of his readers, Paul Schmidt, saying Muslims have to pour into the streets to demonstrate that they don't approve of Muslim terrorism:

If there isn't a Million Muslim March this weekend, if there aren't crowds of muslims chanting and holding signs, "not in our name", then doubt as to the existence of moderate muslims will grow, and grow quickly.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

And Reynolds compassionately notes that he, too, hopes Schmidt is wrong.

Well, not to worry: they're both wrong. They're wrong that if Muslims don't demonstrate by the millions against terrorism, they are responsible for any legal or physical discrimination, prejudice, bias, or hatred they experience as a result of the London bombings. That's like saying that if all black people in the United States do not demonstrate against street crime, then it's their fault if all blacks are suspected of being criminals until they prove they are not. It's not okay to make entire categories of people responsible for the prejudices of others. Nobody is telling corporate management in every Fortune 500 company in America to rally en masse against insider trading and Enron-type corporate crime or be responsible for prosecution unless they prove themselves innocent.

They're also wrong in their assumption that the Muslim world has not publicly opposed terrorism. The Muslim Council of Britain, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Islamic Circle of North America have all strongly condemned the bombings in London. The terrorist attacks were condemned by every Muslim government, including Egypt, Syria, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Morocco. According to Juan Cole, who is a recognized and widely respected expert in the history and politics of the Arab and Muslim world, even Hamas and Hizbollah have publicly condemned the attacks.

Hamas has long foresworn violence against American and European targets, and has been holding talks with the UK, for which it has been condemned by the al-Qaeda-linked groups. Note that only at and the Chinese sites will the unadorned truth of these Arab and Muslim condemnations be reported in detail. The Financial Times mentioned it but then discussed a few negative individual responses in chat rooms, as though the Egyptian foreign minister was only as important as some guy in an internet cafe. is here and People's Daily Online is here and also here.

Perhaps there is a very specific and particular way in which Instapundit and other right-wing pundits would like the Muslim world's condemnation of terrorism to be formatted. And if they don't see that singular frame around the condemnation, indicating that it is, indeed, condemnation, they don't recognize or acknowledge it as such.

But that says more about those pundits' personal prejudices than it does about the feelings of Muslims about terrorism.

No comments: