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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Don’t ask Muslims to apologize for terror

After the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, media coverage once again turned around to the question that has dogged Muslims for over a decade: Why aren’t Muslims apologizing?

On Twitter, Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp., tweeted that “Maybe most Moslems [are] peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer, they must be held responsible.” Meanwhile, on CNN, Don Lemon asked Arsalan Iftikhar, a Muslim human rights lawyer, if he supported the Islamic State, leaving Iftikhar stunned.

It’s a trend that seems to follow every major terrorist attack, with the media asking why regular Muslims aren’t apologizing for the attack and suggesting that all Muslims need to be held personally responsible for it, as Murdoch claims.

It’s also a question that isn’t posed to any other group of people.

The media didn’t ask why ordinary cops weren’t apologizing after the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown. The media doesn’t go after Americans and ask them to apologize for the U.S.’s invasions of other countries. When a white supremacist attacked and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., no one asked all white people to apologize for the shooting. The majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are done by men, according to Time, yet no one would claim that every man in the U.S. has to be held responsible for them.

The idea that all Muslims have to apologize for the attack is a double standard. The vast majority of the world’s over 1.6 billion Muslims are not terrorists, and asking them to apologize for a crime they never committed makes no sense. There is no way that every Muslim in the world even can apologize; should all of them be required to report to their nearest news station to issue a brief statement of regret? Or should every Muslim’s social media accounts be searched to make sure they’ve apologized for every attack perpetrated by terrorists?

The statements by Lemon and Murdoch, among others, also ignore the fact that many prominent Muslims have indeed condemned the attacks. According to The Huffington Post, the Grand Mosque of Paris condemned the attack, along with the Union of Islamic Organizations of France. The French Council of the Muslim Faith posted a press release on its website asking Muslim citizens to join demonstrations against the attacks.

Even international leaders spoke out against the shooting. According to the Los Angeles Times, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi, the Palestinian Authority, Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, and the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas all condemned the attacks. Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, called the shooters takfiris, or apostates.

Calling for Muslims to apologize for terrorist attacks or blaming them distracts from the actual problem of terrorism. If every Muslim in the world who wasn’t a terrorist apologized for the attacks, terrorism wouldn’t disappear. The people who are terrorists will continue to plan out attacks, as they have so far. In fact, most of the victims of Islamist terrorist groups are themselves Muslims, as in the case of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram and the Taliban.

Asking for apologies, especially when Muslims are already condemning the attack, is really just racism, bigotry and persecution of the Muslim community. And as more Muslims feel persecuted by their governments and the media, the chance that a few of them will join extremist groups increases.

The Muslim community, regardless of whether or not it supports Charlie Hebdo’s journalists, is already reaching out and condemning the attacks. One of the police officers who died trying to protect the journalists was a Muslim. Muslim groups in France are asking ordinary Muslims to join protests to show the world that not every Muslim in France supports this violence. Publications across the Middle East have printed their own solidarity cartoons to confront Islamic extremism.

Muslims are saying they’re against terrorism. It’s time everyone else stops sticking their fingers in their ears while complaining they can’t hear anything

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Ashwin Mehra is a phsiology senior. Follow him on Twitter.

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