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January 14, 2003

Muslim Disinformation Campaign

Islam has an image problem, and American Muslim organizations know it.

If you ask them, this problem comes from people lying about Islam. Irresponsible, hate-filled Christian preachers and others decry Islam as a violent religion, Muslim spokesmen claim, and this bigotry gives rise to acts of violence against Muslims. The Council on American Islamic Relations and other Muslim groups have dedicated themselves to heading off such attacks by setting the record straight. On its website CAIR says that it was established in order to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America," and declares that "we believe misrepresentations of Islam are most often the result of ignorance on the part of non-Muslims and reluctance on the part of Muslims to articulate their case."

Laudable — but the cure offered by American Muslim groups may be worse than the disease. Instead of taking the post-September 11 interest in Islam as an opportunity for a thorough and searching examination of the root causes of Islamic terrorism and the hatred that fomented the terrorist attacks, all too often these groups have constructed a "positive image of Islam" out of smoke and mirrors. Instead of dealing forthrightly and constructively with the concerns and questions that non-Muslims have had since the attacks, CAIR, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and others seem interested in what one ex-Muslim termed "throwing sand in our eyes."