Yesterday I listened to a discussion between an interviewer on CNN and Iranian born Muslim author Reza Aslan who is using his voice as a means of battling Islamophobia. As a citizen of the world and a lover of the human race I made every effort to keep an open mind to what he was saying. Then I saw the video of Turkish soccer fans booing and shouting Allahu Akbar during what was meant to be a moment of silence for the victims of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris and I was startled back into the harsh reality. The problem is not how we perceive Islam, the problem is how Islam perceives itself.
I need to start by saying that I am inherently not a bigot. I am the guy who doesn’t distinguish between people I interact with, work with and socialize with based on color, race, religion or sexual preference. I generally distance myself from anyone I feel does make that distinction. That being said, the Muslim world has a major problem, and that problem is not that people fear them or identify Muslims as a dangerous threat. The true problem facing the Muslim world is an out of control growing mentality and ideology of intolerance and hate.
I don’t know enough to sit here and put this on the entire Muslim world, and quite frankly I really don’t want to. Very little would make me happier than for the peaceful and rational Muslim countries and elements within countries to rise up against the elements not just bringing their entire culture down, but attempting to destroy other cultures as well. But when Turkey, a NATO country, a European country, a country touted as moderate Muslim state displays this degree of disrespect and heartlessness towards innocent victims, purely because they are not Muslim, we get a clear picture of how serious this global situation really is.
Turkey in itself is a major problem. It’s Prime Minister shows a passionate hatred for Israel and its government, practically standing on a proverbial mountaintop and shouting to the world how evil its Jewish leadership is, but when well over 100 people get slaughtered in Paris I can’t find a comment from him anywhere. Many suspected ISIS terrorists who come from European countries and the United States are found to make passage through Turkey. To be clear, the battle against ISIS doesn’t really get serious until Turkey is held accountable for its actions and failure to take proper actions.
But here is the reason this reflects so poorly on the entire Muslim world. Reza Aslan gets in front of the news media, battles what he calls undue bigotry against Muslims, and touts Turkey as an example of one of the decent, more tolerant countries. Mr. Aslan, if Turkey is one of the good guys, the problem is not how we perceive Islam, the problem is what you perceive as good. One thing I know for sure, booing during a moment of silence and shouting the same phrase used by a terrorist before he guns down scores of people or blows himself up does more to harm Islam’s image than anything Bill Maher can say. Until People like Reza Aslan understand that, we as a global society are just spinning our wheels and deteriorating into what will be a total catastrophe, not just for us but for Muslims as well.
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