Hat tip to Joe for sending me this article.
Mamoun Fandy is a Muslim scholar with many years experience in the West. In this piece for Al Arabiya, he accuses the West of having an "Islam complex". He says that Muslims have a right to be outraged in the wake of the anti-Mohammad video that has been blamed for the violent protests breaking out in the Muslim world. Let's see what he has to say and then respond.
Fist of all, Fandy is trying to play the victim here. Excuse me, Sir, but we are the victims (the US). We have had 4 of our people brutally murdered in Libya and seen our flag burned in several other countries as mobs-yes mobs- attack our embassies.
Does the West have an "Islam complex"? We would have to be brain dead not to. After 9-11 and having seen daily images of violent mobs screaming, "Death to America", watching suicide bombings against innocents, beheadings and threats coming out of mosques against the West, Jews and Christians, what are we supposed to think?
Mr Fandy paints Muslims as victims, but in almost every Islamic country, non-Muslims are being persecuted, killed, driven out and their places of worship bombed or burned to the ground. Keep in mind that the producer of the video, "The Innocence of Muslims" himself is a Coptic Christian immigrant from Egypt. Perhaps, he has some grievances also. I myself would not have produced such a video, and I don't go around mocking anyone else's prophet, but a little perspective needs to be applied here.
Mr Fandy should also be honest and admit that we in the West have bent over backwards to be accommodating to Muslims and not hold them responsible for the acts of others. In fact, political correctness has placed a giant shield over them, so to speak. Mr Fandy is flat out wrong when he says that Islam is the only religion in the West that is open to criticism. Christianity is criticized every day in America because of our free speech. We complain when somebody exhibits a crucifix of Jesus Christ in a jar of urine and sells it as art. However, we don't riot and kill people, much less ambassadors. Jews around the world are subject to rising anti-Semitism, most of which is fueled by Muslims. Where do you see Jews committing mayhem in response?
Mr Fandy should examine the hate within his own community. Why the hate directed towards Christians and Jews? We know the reason. Why the hate between Sunni and Shia?
Yes, there are very negative stereotypes directed at Muslims. The innocent victims are the peaceful Muslims who have no desire to engage in any violent Jihad against anyone. The just want to go on with their lives and support their families. If they are not rioting, are they "bad Muslims", Mr Fandy?
The problem that so many Muslims in other countries have is understanding that in America, we have to tolerate this kind of speech. I do every May at UC Irvine when the Muslim Student Union has their week of anti-Israel speakers, many of whom are anti-American and anti-Semitic. I listen to them. Then I try to challenge them with my own free speech-not to insult Islam-but to point out where they are wrong and being hateful themselves. If Fandy wants us to restrict our free speech rights, he has a fight on his hands.
How do we change our "Islam complex" as Fandy calls it? First of all, the terror and the violence has to stop. The violent, supremist and hateful rhetoric against other religions has to stop. Another thing that the jihadists have to do is give up on the jihad itself. Give up the ideal that the whole world must convert or submit to Islam by any means necessary. It is not going to happen. Finally, Muslims in the West have to recognize that certain aspects of sharia law, particularly hudud sharia, cannot be practiced in the West because they violate our laws and our Constitution.
Fandy should know that you cannot stifle free discussion in the US especially on such a hot and burning issue as Islam. It is the nature of Americans to respect other religions and not blame innocents for the wrongs of others. However, if you don't want Westerners to think of Muslims as "mobs' then don't be mobs.