Muslim groups recently criticized President Bush for referring to a "war with Islamic fascists." In
an item titled "U.S. Muslims bristle at Bush term Islamic fascists," Reuters
quoted CAIR executive director Nihad Awad as saying, "We believe this is an
ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate
Islam or Muslims with fascism." Seconding the notion was a spokeswoman for
the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, Edina Lekovic: "The
problem with the phrase is it attaches the religion of Islam to tyranny and
fascism, rather than isolating the threat to a specific group of
Aside from the fact that Lekovic is lying (from the 2002 LAX shooter to last
month's Seattle shooter to the North Carolina University mower to the D.C.
snipers, the only "specific group" affiliation was Islam), we must
aggressively ignore these kinds of suggestions. Otherwise, we will find
ourselves in the same paralysis that Europeans are experiencing. Whenever
Europeans get together to come up with ways to combat extremism and counter
terrorism, not only do they find themselves being the ones prescribed with
making all the adjustments as opposed to the terror-prone Muslims but they
usually end up either with suggestions toscrap Holocaust Memorial Day, or with a very limited vocabulary.
Take, for example, a Christian Science Monitor article from April, titled "Fighting Terrorism, One Word at a Time":
"Officials in Brussels have embarked on an unusual exercise, combing their
dictionaries to excise words and phrases that could cause offense. When the
review is complete and the rules laid down, you will not, for example, hear
EU officials talk any more about 'Islamic terrorism'.EU policymakers worry
that it lumps all Muslims into the same category, and angers them."
Friso Roscam-Abbing, an EU spokesman, said, "'The politically more correct
term will be 'terrorism that abusively invokes Islam.'.[H]e rejects
accusations that the EU is soft-soaping 'Islamic radicals' another phrase
that is coming under the microscope." Another EU official added, "'You don't
want to use terminology which would aggravate the problem.'"
Of course, we could always just have our vocal chords surgically removed. Or
perhaps Europeans could make more headway at these summits if they stopped
inviting the terrorists?
Meanwhile, if "aggravating the problem," or using language that "can breed
resentful terrorists," as the article also suggests, is a security concern,
doesn't that demonstrate that there's some sense in "lumping all Muslims
into the same category?"
Isn't it a tacit admission of something to say that just using insulting
language can make a Muslim snap into kill mode? If policies, protocols and
language lexicons are changing based on "Let's not anger them," the
implication is that those who aren't terrorists are simply not terrorists
yet. We are being told, in so many words, that Muslims as a group are
at-risk, that the average Muslim has terroristic inclinations.
If terrorism indeed has a distinct appeal to the average Muslim, and yet the
religion is not the cause, then what is? Genetics? Is it time to start
talking about the terror gene and asking the uncomfortable question: Do
they choose it, or are they born that way?
And if Islam isn't the cause of murderous proclivities, have we considered
that at the very least it must be a symptom? Take, for example, Denver
Safeway killer Michael Ford. When he could no longer take the unspecified jabs at his religion that his
family claims he was getting from co-workers, he opened fire on them.
Admittedly, it's possible that here, it wasn't the religion which drove him
to kill, but insults to the religion.
The Reuters article "U.S. Muslims bristle at Bush term Islamic fascists"
reports that many American Muslims who reject the term "say they have felt
singled out for discrimination since the September 11 attacks."
It's time to pin down those feelings for what they are displacement. Every
other group trying to secure its place in Western society has instinctively
personalized and internalized the crimes of its own feeling a sense of
embarrassment for far smaller-scale crimes than what Muslims and Arabs
inflict on their host societies. Who can forget the Jews and the Italians
out-praying each other in the hope that the Son of Sam killer wasn't "one of
ours"? When we learned his last name was Berkowitz, the Jews plotzed. Then
we found out he was an Italian adopted by Jews, and the Jews breathed a sigh
of relief ("He's adopted! He's adopted!") while the Italians cringed.
The welcoming Statue of Liberty lets immigrants feel they have nothing to
prove, but from the beginning, every arriving group has had the decency to
not take it to heart. Until now. When you refuse to have natural feelings of
collective shame, you project them out onto society as discrimination.
Muslims outsource the guilt that they decline to feel, which then leads to
appropriate suspicions of them. In contrast, when you hang your head in
shame over what other members of your community do, the surrounding society
in turn lessens your guilt. Picking up on the good will of a community that
has those human feelings of shame, society does the work to disassociate
that group from bearing collective responsibility. Suspicions lessen, and
there emerges a functional relationship that becomes part of the social
The "discrimination" that the indignant Muslims and Arabs among us are
feeling despite our running to protect mosques and yelling "They're not all
like that!" every time they help prove that they are is their own unfelt
guilt. The resulting caution, which is perceived as "discrimination" and
which would have subsided by now, will only grow.