Mike Ghouse, Dallas,
If I were to commit a crime, I must be punished by the laws of the land. I must be blamed for it , not my family, not my neighbors, not my employer, and certainly not my religion. Even though I may claim to be a Muslim, the act is mine and not approved by the Muslim community, please just go along with me now.
I have debated about this quite often with myself and have often won and have lost a few times, paradoxically at the same instance. Please put your wisdom hat and take a look at this proposition.
The following statements and questions are the frame of reference to go further from here:
- How would you suggest I describe the terrorist attacks carried out by “radical Muslims” since they use Islam as a shield for their murderous acts?
- Using the word “Moderate Muslim” is certainly pleasing to almost all Muslims, as they are. However, Muslims have difficulty in getting classified on a group basis. It will tick the “Radicals” even more, we can choose to embrace or confront them whichever produces the best results for the overall peace and prosperity of the society.
- Please avoid using the words terrorism as a prefix or suffix to the words Islam or Muslim. We should not fall into the pit of taking out on religions - religions are always peaceful, it is the individuals who are bad. The phrases “Islamist terrorism” and “Islamist fascism” are counter productive, just terrorism would be the right choice. By just using the word terrorism, we will not be alienating “Moderate Muslims”, who make up 98% of the Muslim population.
- All wars start with words. So do the conflicts within the family, community, or friends circle starts with the wrong choice of words.
If the goal of societies is to work on acceptable co-existence, then we have the following choices to make from an extremist point of view to a liberal thought and a whole range of options in between. What would you come up with, and why?
- Explore if the actions of the terrorists were prompted by any reason that can be addressed or removed. We have to have goodwill within us to assume that they are humans and their motivations are similar to ours; a peaceful life, respect, family and worship. If we are flawed, we are no better than them.
- Get them to dialogue. The thought of wiping them off the face of the earth may subside our short-term rage, but will aggravate the conflict even more. As there is difference between child abuse and child discipline, there is a difference in how we handle the terrorists. It will take a few more generations to unburden the guilt of Holocaust.
- What guarantee do we have that we will not produce Hitler’s, Crusaders or the inquisition gang again? We did the right thing by not bashing their religions, had we done that, the conflict would have been eternal. Can we apply that logic to the terrorists.
- By barking at Muslims (insinuating all Muslims) which comes from prefixing the word terrorist with Islam or Muslim, we are being un-just and are not sincere about building goodwill - meaning our intent for peace is not forthright, we are biased and confirming it with the logic in hidden words. Let's earnestly seek the peace and work for co-existence. Let's learn to bark at the right people; the criminals. Let's not give them the privilege of the word Islam or Muslim. They are pure criminals and let's treat them as such. Those wordings will gain a lot more support from Muslims, who are great people, like the people in every faith.
- Bomb them all and clean the world of all Arabs first, next get the Muslims out, then get all Muslims sympathizers out, and finally get every one out who is opposed to wiping them off. The world would be a heaven, wouldn’t it ?
- Then the right wing extremists will clean the world of all the Jews, Hindus, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, Lutherans, Pagans and any one who is not a member of their party. Then who will be left? Remember Martin Niemöller's poem? The thought of cleansing is more dangerous to our world and is responsible for spurring terrorism.
If we understand our choices, we need to develop the attitudes that will seek solutions, and bring sustainable peace and equilibrium to the society. Our actions towards them are based on our arrogance and that makes the terrorists dig in their heels. Our cry for peace is as fake as their cry for solutions.
Terrorism is succeeding because we are pushing them. Some 20 years have gone by since the fall of the evil Russian Empire, which we eagerly replaced by Muslims as the evil. Neither our attitudes nor our actions have worked because we believe in our might and not in our wisdom.
Islam forbids war, suicide, compulsion, oppression and killing of any one, unless it is in self-defense. So is every faith! Let’s separate bad guys from religion. Throw me in the ditch for the wrongs I do, do not crucify my family, my neighbors or my religion. Don’t let me escape by broadening your shooting range to a billion Muslims.
My suggestion is to laser bark, meaning bark at the criminals for who they are. Don’t create a whole world around them to be blamed, don’t bomb the whole country for it, don’t give them a religion to be blamed, and don’t shift the blame on anything that surrounds them. Just laser bark at the criminals and then we will make progress.
If we had laser barked at Osama Bin Laden; 3000 of our men and women, 600,000 + Iraqi's, families in Afghanistan celebrating weddings. Perhaps even 2000+ Lebanese, 400+ Israeli Soldiers and now thousands of Children, men and women's life in Gaza is endangered. I seriously question if AhmediNejad would have been emboldened to make evil statements. The problem is our disorientation more so than the few Satan's tempting us. Thanks God, democracy is re-stored in America and reason and logic will prevail and once again, we will earn our name in the community of nations that we, the Americans are a fair, kind, rational and reasonable people committed to stand for the liberty and justice for all.
By barking at the Universe, we have failed to point our gun at the bad guys… Let’s not bark at Muslims or Islam, instead go after the wrong doers. Results are bound to come.
Mike Ghouse is a free thinker and a pluralist with the aptitude to find solutions. He believes that if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. Mike can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com and at the websites http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/