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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Muslim groups must decry attacks to prove ‘Islamophobes’ wrong

    In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, I find myself, along with many others, stunned and frankly disappointed by the lack of response from the Muslim community. Yes, the Arab news network Al-Jazeera strongly condemned the attacks, which I appreciate, but they refused to admit that the attacks had a religious component, and did not even mention the attack on the Chabad Jewish center in Mumbai, where Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg was slaughtered along with his wife and other Jews in the building.

    If these attacks were not religiously motivated, then why did these terrorists single out a Jewish building, which are few and far between in India? I understand that there were many others killed in the various attacks around the city that targeted random Indian civilians, and that many of the attacks were directed at the unfortunate civilians who happened to be on the wrong railway, the wrong hospital, the wrong hotel at the wrong time. In this, Al-Jazeera is accurate in that there was little discrimination. But Al-Jazeera completely ignored the religious nature of the Chabad attacks, and many in the Muslim community have remained silent when it comes to denouncing these attacks.

    When extremist Christian groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis rally, there are always mobs of Christians out there as well, denouncing the KKK, yelling at them, etc. These Christians denouncing them prove to others that even though those groups of bigots identify as Christian, they don’t represent the community.

    In the same manner, on the rare occasion of Jewish terrorism, such as when a radical gunned down innocent Muslim worshipers in a mosque in Hebron, Jews protested his actions, and the Women in Black, a group predominantly made up of Jewish women, continuously protests the mistreatment of Palestinians in Israel. So I find myself sadly forced to ask, where are the Muslims who condemn these attacks? I don’t see them in large rallies like Christians when they denounce the KKK, nor do I see them on street corners like the Women in Black. I understand that many Muslims are in fact appalled by the attacks, and would not consider the terrorists in Mumbai to be “”true Muslims,”” so they don’t feel like they need to take responsibility for their coreligionists.

    At the same time, few Jews would say that Yigal Amir, the Jewish radical who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for his efforts in the peace process in 1995, truly reflects the values of Judaism, and I have yet to meet a Christian who thinks that the KKK reflects the values of Christianity. But Jews and Christians protest anyway, because even if they shouldn’t have to defend their values, they realize that people need to see that these extremists don’t have the support of the community. In fact, it is even more important to condemn the acts of your coreligionists when you don’t view them as “”true Muslims,”” because like it or not, they publicly identify as Muslim, and the world will see them as such.

    Islam of late has had many problems in that the “”religion of peace”” is frequently represented by militants, with the result being that non-Muslims have increasingly begun to equate Islam with fanaticism and terrorism. Jews have faced the same issue in that Israeli nationalism threatens to define Judaism instead of the values within Judaism itself.

    So I am begging the Muslim community to prove “”Islamophobes”” wrong: If you really want to change the views of non-Muslims, then get out, make signs that say, “”We denounce the violence in Mumbai””, have the Muslim Student Association condemn the attacks, hold a forum – do something instead of sitting around saying, “”They’re not real Muslims, so it’s not our problem.”” Because the fact is, these terrorists identify as Muslims so it is your problem, and if you let them define your religion, they will be more than happy to do so. Salaam, shalom, peace.


    – Sarah Rosenberg is a Near Eastern studies junior. She can be reached at
    letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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