THE WEST BELIEVES IN PEACE, WHILE MUSLIMS LOVE VIOLENCE.
In comments on HBO’s Real Time, [Bill] Maher in 2015 said: “For the last 30 years, it’s been one culture that has been blowing s—t up over and over again”. (Here he meant Islam, not America, go figure.) (Source: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Bill Maher? By Mike Mennonno, 23 Sept 2015, The Huffington Post)
Serving as another example of grandiose malarkey: While demagogues like Pam Geller likes to say “Civilized men can disagree while savages will kill you when they disagree” (Source: Texas shooting: Who is Pamela Geller? By Ann Colwell, 4 May 2015, CNN), is she talking about Western nations who have been responsible for far more civilian deaths than all terrorists groups combined claiming to be Muslims?
BUT MUSLIMS HATE NON-MUSLIMS AND WILL NOT MISS A CHANCE TO KILL THEM.
In December 21 2015, a group of men from al-Shabab halted a bus near the town of Mandera, Kenya. They ordered all the passengers off the bus before telling them to split into groups of Muslims and non- Muslims so that they could set aside the Christian passengers for execution. The Muslims on board refused their demands. Instead, they threw a human shield around the Christians. Brave Muslim women took off their headscarves and handed them to non-Muslims to wear for protection. Standing united, the Muslim passengers then dared the extremists to kill them too. Instead, fearing repercussion from a nearby village, these misguided zealots fled the scene of the hold-up, licking their wounds from the powerful show of solidarity, people of the world today could learn aplenty from. (Source: Muslims in Kenya offer a Christmas present to the world, 27 Dec 2015, Muhammad Fraser-Rahim & Beth Ellen Cole Al Jazeera.com)
This is not a rare event and happens more frequently than is reported by the mainstream press.
In July 2017, a Filipino Muslim in the Philippines saved 64 Christians from execution by Islamist militants, after he hid them from a group of heavily armed gunmen who stormed the city of Marawi on the island in June 2017. Norodin Alonto Lucman, a Muslim former politician and traditional clan leader, opened his home to around 71 people, including 64 Christians, when they could not escape.
These are only two, of many recent examples picked up by the press.
WHY THEN DO MUSLIMS CELEBRATE 9/11?
There is no evidence of this at all. While the vast majority of Muslims around the world were horrified by the scenes of the falling towers, there may have been pockets of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world who could not help but wonder how 19 random men have finally brought the horror and destruction that the West brought into Muslim lands over the last few decades in the form of illegal invasion and carpet bombing of Iraq, dishonest brokering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, support of Arab dictatorships and many other such examples that have been exhaustively covered by renowned writers such as Robert Fisk, Phil Rees, Jessica Stern and Amira Hass among many others.
Similarly it could be argued, there are pockets of people in the West who don’t exactly mourn when Muslims are killed in conflicts far from the West. Some even cheer the killings of Muslims by the American Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere.
In fact, you will find online videos of American soldiers cheering the death of Iraqis and Afghanis (lest we forget, two Muslim countries that had nothing to do with 9/11). These cheerleaders of Muslim casualties or American soldiers who kill indiscriminately however do not represent America, Christianity or Western values the way some individuals who call themselves Muslims cheer death and destruction in the West and most certainly do not represent 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. People with varying levels of moral values exist everywhere.
ALL MUSLIMS, YOUNG AND OLD, ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR STANDING UP AGAINST TERRORISM TODAY.
When the towers fell, millions of children who are Muslim teenagers today weren’t even born then. How are they at fault and why do they have to put up with bigotry, hatred and Islamophobia so commonplace today? For some Muslims and non-Muslims alike, they are growing up with an incomplete understanding of a series of events that led to 9/11. For some it was day 1 since the world changed. To a minority within this group, most parents will find it hard yet important to explain how a series of misguided foreign policies of the West nurtured the seeds of hatred and anger in Muslim world and led a small fringe of individuals with Muslim names, who do not represent Islam or ordinary Muslims, to commit an act of terror that changed the world forever. Is it therefore, fair to expect Muslim teenagers who weren’t even born on 9/11 to defend themselves against common- place anti-Muslim bigotry today, a position of attack they did not start nor were they any part of ? Why do 1.6 billion Muslims around the world have to pay for the misguided actions of 19 individuals with Muslim names when there is zero evidence their actions had anything to do with Islam? Instead, all readings indicate their act was a violent form of political protest that led to the deaths of almost 3000 innocent lives including 60 Muslims who died on that day too. (Source: Muslims Weren’t Cheering On 9/11, Mr. Trump. They Were Grieving For Their Loved Ones by Christopher Mathias, 24 Nov 2015, Huffington Post)
“Conflating extremists who claim to be Muslims with the vast, un-extreme majority of Muslims worldwide perpetuating the assumption that extremism is the default, that Muslims share inherent traits that make them worse than others who are not Muslims, and that all Muslims are guilty of extremism until proven innocent . . .” (Source: Its not just Bill Maher: Islamophobia on cable news is out of control, Max Fisher, 8 Oct 2014, Vox.com)
MUSLIMS ENVY THE DEMOCRATIC VALUES OF THE UNITED STATES.
Never mind that the “values” of the United States includes supporting corrupt and brutal dictatorships and occupations, launching wars of aggression based on lies, violating its own constitutional principles to detain indefinitely, torture and even murder of suspected enemies (including its own citizens). Or that a small but politically powerful percentage of American citizens seem as determined to incite violence in the Muslim world as their counterparts there seem determined to launch violence against Westerners. (Source: Why ‘they’ still don’t hate us by Mark LeVine, on 27 September 2012, The Independent)
BUT SURELY, ISLAM IS AGAINST DEMOCRACY.
To illustrate Islam’s support for a democratic government, verse 4:59 of the Qur’an clearly outlines the people must take their vote as a responsibility and thus choose the most appropriate and suitable person to lead them. The Qur’an then exhorts those in authority to exercise justice . . . The Qur’an also promotes dialogue and consultation to gauge public opinion and decide matters fairly as illustrated in 42:39”. . . Therefore, if dictators in the Middle East [supported by Western governments and powerful Arab tribes] or radical Muslim preachers oppose the teachings of Muhammad (PBUH), then they’re solely to blame. (Source: The truth about whether Islamic values are compatible with Western values, Atif Rashid, 17 July 2016, The Independent)
Islam therefore can’t be blamed given its stance on freedom or human rights, something it started to espouse and establish long before Western democracies caught up just over a hundred years ago.
How is it fair to blame Islam if the rulers, autocrats and dictators in the Middle East (read: “puppets fully supported by the West”) do not want to abide by the laws of Islam?
AT THE VERY LEAST UNLIKE THE MIDDLE EAST, ALL LIVES ARE VALUED EQUALLY IN THE WEST.
In an observant article, Jewish Rabbi Michael Lerner points out the double standards of the West:
“When the horrific assassinations of 12 media people and the wounding of another 12 media workers resulted in justifiable outrage around the world, did you ever wonder why there wasn’t an equal outrage at the tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed by the American intervention in Iraq or the over a million civilians killed by the U.S. in Vietnam, or why President Obama refused to bring to justice the CIA torturers of mostly Muslim prisoners, thereby de facto giving future torturers the message that they need not even be sorry for their deeds. (Source: Mourning the Parisian Journalists Yet Noticing the Hypocrisy by Rabbi Michael Lerner, 11 March 2015, Tikkun Magazine)
In a separate article, the author points out two rather uncomfortable questions worth reflecting on:
(1) Why are our thoughts with the victims of the horrific attacks but not with those who suffer serious verbal and physical discrimination as a result of the actions of a few psychopaths who call themselves Muslims?; &
(2) Why is there an outpouring of sympathy for cartoonists whom we have crowned icons for free speech when a 42-year old maintenance worker was also killed during the Charlie Hebdo attacks and two police officers including a Muslim officer Ahmed, who was first to arrive at the scene were also part of the final death toll? (Source: Charlie Hebdo: The 12 victims of the Paris shootings, 8 Jan 2015, Clear Barrett, Financial Times)
Last but not least, the following observation perhaps says it best:
It is easy to separate wars in the Middle East with our own security in Europe and the United States. This way we the public, do not have to see what our disastrous foreign policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and beyond are doing and how our Western governments are creating the endless conditions for the rise of monstrous groups like ISIS and others, to which our homegrown lone wolves belong. (Source: How politicians duck the blame for terrorism, Patrick Cockburn, 20 March 2016, The Independent)
MUSLIMS CAN AT LEAST CHOOSE TO LIVE PEACEFUL, UNDISRUPTIVE LIVES IN THE WEST, UNLIKE PRESENT DAY MIDDLE EAST.
This depends on where you compare living in the West to:
“The fact of the matter is that the majority of Muslims like myself no longer know where to turn. The mentality of “with us or against us” remains at the forefront of both extremist ideologies. After all, both the Islamic State and religious reductionists are quick to point out comparative religious scholars like Karen Armstrong that emphasize peaceful texts as apologists for Islam. As I received death threats from ISIS, I have also been flagged in international airports as a security threat . . . Both worlds – the secular and the extremist – are limiting my voice, mobility and access . . . I am not alone. The majority of Muslims – often described as simple-minded, indifferent, non-violent, but easily misled – are being targeted by reductionist thinkers at different ends of the spectrum. They are attempting to strip away creative, new ways of thinking and force us to buy into a friend or enemy binary lens”. (Source: War on Islam Comes to Our Backyards by Manal Omar, October 9 2015, Huffington Post)
THERE IS NO REASON FOR MUSLIMS TO FEEL THREATENED IN AMERICA.
“There remains, among many Muslims, a sense of besiegement, and a growing frustration at perceived legal double standards. North Carolina authorities did not treat the February  slaying of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill as motivated by bigotry. In July , a judge permitted bail for a Tennessee man on trial for plotting to re- bomb a New York Muslim community”. (Source: For a teen aspiring to be president, being Muslim is a hurdle in post-9/11 America by Oliver Laughland in Dearborn, Michigan, and Spencer Ackerman in New York, The Guardian).
More recently in June 2017, a 17-year old teenage Muslim girl Nabra Hassanen, was grotesquely killed by Darwin Martinez Torres, a bat-wielding motorist who ran over and dumped her body in a pond near a Virginia mosque. Yet the crime was labelled “road rage” and not investigated as a hate crime (note: sentenced to life in March 2019), with the perpetrator facing no more than one count of second-degree murder, a miscarriage of justice that is slowly but steadily becoming a regrettable mainstay in the United States.
Furthermore, the fact that the Supreme court in July 2017 upheld parts of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban 3.0 and in doing so, legitimised blanket discrimination against a religious group has temporarily, enshrined a version of Islamophobia into practice, (Source: Trump doesn’t want Muslims in the US. That’s OK with the supreme court, Moustafa Bayoumi, 26 June 2017, The Guardian), with the U.S Customs and Border Protection happy to carry on its decades-long arbitrary “random profiling” of Muslims that for the first time in U.S history is backed by a seal of approval from none other than the Supreme court.
Therefore, why should Muslims not feel threatened? In fact in an excellent analogy, how would ordinary Americans have reacted if the tables had turn on the following incident? “What would the news say if a bunch of Muslims – some dressed in camouflage showed up outside a church with automatic rifles and signs denouncing Christianity? When Christians do the same thing to a mosque in Texas, it elicits little more than a yawn, however (take a look at some of the photos [visit online accompanying this article] to see whether Muslim worshippers should have feared for their lives).” (Source: Christian Terrorism by Chris Weigant, 1 December 2015, Huffington Post)
MUSLIMS HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT DONALD TRUMP.
To millions of patriotic, law-abiding Muslims men and women who serve as fire fighters, policemen, public officials, not to mention entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, lawyers and teachers born and bred in Europe and the United States as well as incoming immigrants and asylum seekers, it is important they fully understand the hypocritical right-wing polemics regularly seen on TV, online and in print is shaped less by old-fashioned racism than by a newfangled sense of fear and insecurity. Most importantly and quite unfortunately, this is not going away anytime soon.
Even if Trump had lost the November 2016 election (and regardless of whether he wins or loses in November 2020), Islamophobia would not have slunk into the shadows but by winning in November 2016, the repercussions for those fighting Islamophobia has been devastatingly challenging given the loud, inherent message that it is okay to spew hatred and vitriol as a politician against Muslims for the sake of being elected, even if it means attacking an already vilified minority with zero accountability.
His 2016 win has demonstrated how widespread anti-Muslim sentiment is becoming, especially among white Evangelicals Christians, moving up from fringe hate groups into mainstream political discourse and now, as the much-dreaded official policy coming directly from the White House.
While there are some Muslims who continue to hold out hope that Trump may be more bluster than real threat, if the President of the United States is the very archetype and instigator of Islamophobia, then vilifying Muslims, scapegoating Islam, vandalising mosques and attacking anybody who looks Muslim is only fair game, blurring the line between the person on-the-ground torching mosques and politician supporting blanket surveillance of Muslims. Words by people in public office shape perceptions, which shape public policy, which often determines whether people live in peace or chaos. (Source: Donald Trump: The Islamophobia president by Khaled A Beydoun, Al Jazeera English, 9 November 2016)
Worse still, the past and existing cabinet members and advisers of the Trump administration have thus far been discussing the real threat of extremism with all the sophistication of a middle-school social-studies class. Therefore, the American dream will no doubt become a living nightmare for many minorities (not only Muslims) under Trump’s presidency. Muslims in America and around the world indeed have plenty to worry about.
AT LEAST MUSLIMS ARE SAFE IN THE WEST AND CAN PRACTISE THEIR FAITH FREELY.
In over a decade since 30 September 2005 when Flemming Rose, the Foreign Editor at Jyllands-Posten myopically commissioned drawings of Muhammad (PBUH), well over a thousand mosques (if not more) across the United States, Australia and continental Europe have experienced at least one incident of vandalism, easily devolving into a partial laundry list including:
graffiti painted over its walls, bacon or severed pig’s head hung on the door of prayer halls, faeces and torn pages of the Qur’an thrown at the entrance, multiple gunshots, smoke bombs, Molotov cocktail and small explosive devices thrown within the mosque’s compound, attack burning down mosques, armed demonstrators picketing at mosques, group of intimidating motorcyclists driving around in circles, threatening letters, bile-filled phone and online messages as well as threats of violence and many other varied forms of attempted arson.
Therefore, Muslims in the West have regrettably been given plenty of reasons to be frightened.