Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Muslim-Americans condemn terrorism

December 11, 2014
By Alan Howard

Recently, the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, along with more than 30 mosques and Muslim organizations, put out a press release condemning the violence, terror and other criminal acts of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as well as Boko Haram. This press release ( represents how Muslim-Americans feel about these actions.

As a person who regularly participates in interfaith panels around metro Atlanta and gives talks about Islam and Muslims to churches, synagogues, civic organizations and other groups, I find that one of the most regularly asked questions is, “Where is the Muslim condemnation of this violence?”

I would like to address this head-on. The fact is, every major American Muslim organization has condemned acts of violence against our fellow Americans since 9/11 to the Boston Marathon bombing and up to the press release mentioned above.

Muslim-Americans and Muslim-American organizations have condemned terrorism and violent acts by Muslims and non-Muslims for years, but this fact is not given the press the violent acts themselves garner.

An organization giving an unequivocal condemnation of a terrorist act is not as interesting as speculating about what group was involved in the action, or whether the perpetrator was acting alone or not. Thus, the wider Muslim community’s condemnations are lost in the background noise and are not given full weight. This leads to your average American asking, “Where are the Muslims condemning these violent acts?” The acts are being condemned, but the wider media landscape is not listening or giving Muslims a podium to speak from.

There is another issue I want to bring out into the open — a tendency in the media and American society to believe that if a conversation is not happening in the U.S., it does not exist. What do I mean by this? All around the world in predominantly Muslim countries, scholars and governments are working to counter the radicalization of individuals, and to educate their youth on the dangers of joining organizations that promote violence. But because these initiatives and conversations are happening elsewhere, the Western world is not paying attention to them.


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