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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 12, 2003

Muslim PR

Or why we Muslims seem off the wall, as viewed through the eyes of a disaffectedmuslim
Muslims sometimes say that doing something or other (such as commit terrorist acts) will give Islam "a bad image" (the way some say it, it seems as if there is no other reason to do or not do something!) For example, the 9/11 attacks gave Islam a "bad image" (to put it lightly). Suicide bombers blowing up buses in Tel Aviv and yelling "Allahu Akbar" give Islam a "bad image" (it's not so much that they're slaughtering women and children, they're "defaming Islam!" and putting the Palestinian cause in disrepute).

That said, CAIR and other Muslim groups in the US seem to be going out of their way to be as offensive as possible, making me wonder if they actually understand American values and viewpoints. For example, they constantly use the "victimization" claim, about how they are being looked at funny and discriminated against, as well as more general complaints about how "the West" has horribly victimized Muslims for hundreds of years. Although this kind of complaining may play well among the politically correct, it will not get you very far with most Americans, who hate whiners and those who blame everybody but themselves for their problem. Also, holding on to 500-year grievances is generally not considered a productive use of one's time or energy.

Also, the double standards mentioned in the post below help even less to endear Muslims to Americans. Another major problem is the refusal to unequivocally condemn terrorism done in the name of Allah, instead utilizing weasel words like "it's bad, BUT..." followed with some excuse or humiliation that is supposed to excuse or minimize it, or claiming that it isn't really "terrorism" but "freedom fighting" (such as the suicide bombers), or indulging in tu quoque, claiming, "Well, the Oklahoma City bombing was by a white Christian!" (totally ignoring the fact that while the said bombing had nothing to do with Christianity, the attacks in question have everything to do with Islam), or flat-out insisting that they shouldn't have to apologize for other Muslims' actions (but are often all too quick to notice any offense against those other Muslims).

Then there are the Islamic fundamentalist statements that not infrequently make their way out from these Muslim organizations, wishing for the day when America is under Islamic law, or when the whole earth is under the control of Muslims. This for sure isn't going to win you any friends. Neither is the constant trashing of American values and lifestyles seen in Islamic publications, as well as the admonition not to "imitate the infidels," for fear of corrupting Muslims' Islam, or the often harsh divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, as when the Qur'anic injunction to not take the unbelievers for friends is taken quite literally. Muslims must make an effort to adapt to American society, and many have done so. But the Islamic organizations in question often take the opposite tack, insisting that America must bend to their demands, which will not win friends but only breed distrust and dislike.

To improve Muslim PR in the US (and elsewhere, when applicable), I have the following suggestions for CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MSA and the like (which do not necessarily represent all American Muslims):[more]