In an Age of Terror, What is the Responsibility of Islam?

I remember September 11, 2001. Terrorists hijacked civilian airlines and flew them into the two World Trade towers and the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field after the hijacked passengers heroically overcame their captors.

Late in the day, our phone rang. It was a friend informing us that four of the passengers on the plane flown into the Pentagon were a couple with whom we were friends and their two young daughters.

At that point, I sat on the stairs, buried my head in my hands, and wept – for my friends and for the other 2,992 dead.

So much has happened since.  Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Boston Marathon massacre. Videos showing men beheaded and women burned alive in cages. Terror in Paris, again and again. It’s horrific savagery committed in the name of Islam.

So are all Muslims terrorists?

No. There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims in the world – about a quarter of the world population. Even if a million are terrorists (and I’m certain the real number is far fewer) that’s less than one-tenth of one percent.

So is it fair to blame 9/11 on all Muslims?

No. The vast majority of Muslims had nothing whatever to do with 9/11, and were as appalled by it as I was.  In fact, a large percentage of today’s Muslims had not even been born on 9/11. Blaming today’s Muslims for 9/11 is like blaming today’s Germans for the Holocaust.

But….

I posted my sentiments about this on Facebook a few weeks ago, and received over 800 comments.  Many people disagreed with me. A few expressed raw bigotry, and I was forced to unfriend them. But many others were worth considering.

One point they made is that a disproportionate number of modern terror attacks are by Muslims acting in the name of Islam. That’s true. But it doesn’t take a logician to recognize that this point alone doesn’t go far toward indicting Islam. It’s like saying that because nearly all acts of terror are committed by men, nearly all men are terrorists.

Another point made by some is that Islam as a religion advocates violence against non-believers whom it calls “infidels.” That’s also true. The Quran does urge violence against infidels.  But so does the Old Testament, which urges violence by Hebrews against non-Hebrews.

Implicitly acknowledging that there’s been violence in Judaism and Christianity, some of those commenters observed that they have largely put their violence behind them while Islam seems not to have.

Well, yes and no. The fact that well over 99.9% of Muslims are peaceful people suggests that Islam, too, has largely put its violence behind it.

Furthermore, violence and even terrorism are not exactly extinct in Christianity – witness the violent terrorism against civilians in Northern Ireland within my lifetime between two sects of Christianity.

And in India, it’s Muslims who are typically the victims of religious violence, perpetrated mainly by the majority Hindus.

All that said, the data does suggest that today’s backward Muslim countries tend to be more violent. But I submit that the reason is that they are backward, not that they are Muslim. When Christian Europe was a backward society in the Middle Ages conducting pogroms against the Jews, the Muslims in the Middle East were leaders in mathematics.

Here’s the strongest point offered in response to my Facebook post. Peaceful Muslims are often reticent in condemning violence and extremists who engage in it. Many Muslim organizations did condemn 9/11 and other terrorism, and for that they deserve credit.  But too often, they fall silent or issue an equivocal criticism.

For example, a newly elected Muslim congresswoman whom America rescued from violence and starvation in Somalia, and who seems to think that the problem in Washington is that too many legislators owe “allegiance” to the Jews, recently referenced 9/11.  The words she chose were “some people did something.”

That offends me. What happened on 9/11 was not just that “some people did something.”

What happened was that psychopathic Muslims in a perversion of their religion murdered thousands of innocent men, women and children in the bloodiest attack on American soil since the Civil War.

Still, I won’t blame all Muslims for that attack or for one congresswoman’s stupid remark about it. I firmly believe that to do so would dishonor my decent friends who died that day.

That leaves me with the question posed at the outset. What is the responsibility of that congresswoman and other Muslims in today’s world of terror?

It’s this: They need to step up. They need to man up. They need to Allah up. The many decent and devout ones need to distance themselves from – nay, they need to condemn, ostracize and, if necessary, destroy – the few psychopaths.

In short, the responsibility of Muslims is the same as the responsibility of Jews, Christians and all other people of faith and civilized secularists. In the battle against violent bigotry, there’s no middle ground.  You’re either with us or against us.

Be with us. Be our brothers and sisters in our battle for humanity. We want you.

If that’s not reason enough to be with us, then be with us just to be on the winning side.  Because we will indeed win, I promise you.

(Published Apr. 21, 2019 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-in-an-age-of-terror-what-is-the-responsibility-of-islam/)

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Barbarians are well past the gate

And it’s probably too late to push them back out. If you disagree, answer me these questions:

What’s up with TV commentators like Rachel Maddow?  For two years, she relished the impending impeachment of the president and built her TV ratings high as an Aspen ski gondola full of Spring Breakers.

When the investigator’s report finally debunked her impeachment fantasy, she fought back tears.

Why? I’m old enough to remember when the determination that a president committed no crimes would be seen as a good thing, not something to cry about.

But that was before cable TV news.  I mean “news.”

Here’s some more questions for you. Continue reading

Trump is a lousy fascist

Hitler murdered 6 million Jews, roughly two-thirds of the entire Jewish population of Europe. His National Socialist German Workers Party — the Nazis — performed unspeakable “experiments” on Jewish children.

Fast-forward 80 years. President Donald Trump did something that Republican and Democrat presidents promised but never did. He moved the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Jews’ ancestral home.

Even Charles Schumer, the Democrat minority leader of the Senate who disagrees with Trump on practically everything, stated, “I applaud President Trump.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Thank you, President Trump, for your leadership and friendship.”

Now, other countries from Brazil to Australia are actively considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

Closer to home, Continue reading

Conversations in the Dark

“It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”

— Leonard Cohen

God is just the explanation that people concoct for those random moments when the pain of life eases. That’s what I was told one dark night as I was going through a rough patch and heard a raspy voice in my ear taunting me.

“If there’s a God in heaven, then why all the pain, lies and destruction on Earth?” asked the voice.

“But there’s also a lot of beauty and joy,” I replied. I’ve seen it.”

“Oh? Like what?” Continue reading

Dems Shooting Themselves in the Foot with Electoral College Compact

Dems are still smarting from losing the 2016 presidential election by losing the Electoral College.

So they have an idea. Apart from the dubious constitutionality of their idea, it’s a bad one which can only help the GOP.

First some background. The Constitution says the president is elected by the Electoral College. The College comprises 538 voters who are allocated as follows: Each state gets two, corresponding to its two senators, plus a number equal to its number of House representatives, plus the District of Columbia gets three.

The effect is that the College voters are spread among the states and D.C. roughly in proportion to population. And so you might think that the College voting would be proportional to the popular vote. Continue reading

I’ll give you free stuff if you’ll vote for me, and abort you if you don’t

The former CEO of Starbucks has a marketing knack for virtue-signaling feel-goodery. He’s the one who turned Starbucks restrooms for customers into shoot-up stalls for vagrants.

Now this life-long Dem is running for president. But he’s running as an independent because today’s Dems think he’s too conservative.

In Dem circles these days, here’s what a candidate must offer to avoid that lethal label of “too conservative.” If I run, I intend to offer it. For free of course.

Free participation trophies. Limiting participation trophies to only those who participate is hurtful to the others. I’ll give participation trophies whether you participate or not.

Free Medicare. A couple of presidents ago, Continue reading

Let’s reinvent taxpayer-subsidized housing

Aspen real estate is expensive. It got so bad some years ago that many workers had to commute about 25 minutes over a scenic highway from a cool little mountain town downvalley where housing is cheaper. Comfortable buses with free wifi are available at heated bus stops every 15 minutes, but commuters always seem to like their cars better.

Many of those commuters were employees of local, big business such as Aspen Skiing Co. which found that their employees wouldn’t work as cheaply as they’d like them to if they had to suffer that 25-minute commute. Other commuters were power-laden city elites.

So, they asked, what can be done about the fact that the place where they chose to work and would like to live is expensive?

This being the People’s Republic of Aspen, and the persons complaining being the persons who run the show, the first, second and third solutions were all … make the taxpayers pay. And so they did. Continue reading