In our silence, Muslim Americans essentially collaborate with the Islamists
Claims of 'McCarthyism' in the wake of the Peter King hearings threaten to suffocate a vital discourse on Islamism just when we need it most. Even as cries of 'Islamophobia' seek to smother debate, Muslim Americans must speak up, and out loud.
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Shame is uncomfortable. Denial is cozy.
The duplicity of the Islamist operative horrifies most. A fellow passenger on a plane, a major within our ranks, a mediocre MBA at the office, always a fellow “Muslim,” the Islamist moves among us. But for Muslims, our discomfort descends deeper. Islamist operatives claim to be the unequivocal, ultimate Muslim, shaming those who refuse to join their cause as not “real Muslims.” Such shame is uncomfortable, since being a good Muslim means being part of a global brotherhood. If we separate, we reveal the fissures among us. Instead, sheltering ourselves from this distress, we falter and choose denial.Skip to next paragraph
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Denial is cozy. In its inviting comfort, we endorse causality – Islamists and their attacks are explained by alienation, psychiatric disease, disempowerment. Neatly rationalizing our distress, we foxtrot straight into the denial of our own culpability.
There, in the heart of darkness, we succeed as accessories to the erosion of our own beliefs. We commit the ultimate transgression: exoneration. In our silence, we are willing executioners, and diabolically, we essentially collaborate with the Islamists. We have a hand in Islam’s mutilation, a dismemberment as grotesque as the decapitation that set me upon this path.
We must speak up, out loud
The antidote is, like many medicines, hard to swallow: We must be bold, bolder than the boy with the knife. We must be bold at a time of fear. We must criticize, bear witness, and confront Islamist Muslims or the Islamist organizations claiming to speak for us. Be warned. They cry “Islamophobia!” while they suffocate only us. Just when “Islamophobia” seeks to smother debate, we must speak up, and out loud.
Decades into the monster of radical Islamism, Mr. Horowitz, and thoughtful others in his rank have been studying Islamists long before Muslims cared. It’s time Muslims join in this grueling, thankless work. We must say what we see. Islamist martyrdom operations, suicide bombings, make-believe martyrdom as child’s play – these, and others, are a Muslim’s malady, maladies that can only be decapitated from within.
Qanta A. Ahmed is the author of “In the Land of Invisible Women,” detailing her experience practicing medicine in Saudi Arabia. She is associate professor of medicine at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook; honorary professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland; and a 2010 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion. Follow Dr. Ahmed on Facebook, Twitter @MissDiagnosis, and her Huffington Post blog.
via The OpEd Project