America Muslims must be proactive against Isis
The curse of the Islamic State and all that it stands for will probably now be felt adversely by the Muslims of America even more so following its boast of being behind the terror attack in Texas. It’s not as if Muslims there are having it easy since 9/11. Reports show that racism against Muslim has increased to what could be described as epidemic proportions. Pamela Geller, whose American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) is identified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is just one leader among many who has made it her profession and life’s work to demonise Muslims and scaremonger. The Center added her to its list of “hate groups” leaders, calling her the “anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.” “She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims,” the center said. She and other Islamophobic “experts” have a history of provocation. Writing for The Washington Post, Lindsey Bever said that this “wealthy housewife-turned-blogger has become one of America’s loudest voices against what she sees as the creeping ‘Islamization’ of America”. She added that following the Charlie Hebdo incident, “Geller was back in the public eye” by organising last Sunday’s “Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest” which would award a $10,000 prize to the “winning cartoon” depicting the prophet Mohammed. “We decided to have a cartoon contest to show we would not kowtow to violent intimidation and allow the freedom of speech to be overwhelmed by thugs and bullies,” she told The Washington Post in an email. Now it is interesting to note that many in Garland objected to the event. There were even non-Muslims supporting Muslims in calling it blasphemous while others cited “public safety” concerns. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), however, decided to play it down. But Geller knew what she was getting into and would not be ignored. Sadly her decision to go ahead has now led to a situation where the vast majority of Muslims will be victimised. The only victor here seems to be Ms Geller and Islamic State who want Muslims in the West to be marginalised, victimised and feel bullied so that they can say, “We told you so!” Islamic State relies on the divide and conquer approach where it hopes to alienate Western Muslims enough to then use its narrative which in part claims that the West is an enemy of Islam and Muslims. People like Geller are playing right into its hands. What the Muslims cannot do is ignore her. They must confront her in the strongest terms possible in order to show the world that they stand united against all forms of evil. Hence, CAIR’s statement of condemnation should have preceded the attack itself where it should have emphasised that while condemning Geller’s provocative stance, any violence was strictly forbidden in Islam. The organisation was, however, correct in stating: “Unfortunately, human history shows us that hatred breeds more hatred and extremism leads to more extremism. “Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Geert Wilders and the perpetrators of yesterday’s attack all seek to provoke a downward spiral of mutual hostility and mistrust in America and around the world.” “We reiterate the American Muslim community’s support for freedom of speech - even bigoted speech – and its repudiation of terrorism in any form.” It just came after the fact when it should have anticipatory in nature.