Ever since the Boston marathon bombings, my mind has been swarming with thoughts and emotions.

I have been glued to the internet, digesting article after article, and comment after comment. I am sure I am not alone.

The American Muslim emotional roller-coaster response to terrorism isn't fresh reading. It starts with deep sadness and horror during the course of the actual murderous events, then swings into anxiety, “hope the terrorists weren't Muslims”, then finally the anxiety is replaced with fear of the backlash (if it involved Muslims).

But you see, I am quite sick of feeling guilty for someone else's actions.

Yes, someone ELSE. Not me, nor anyone else I influenced.

Every time someone who shares my faith goes wacko, almost instantaneously all Muslims are forced into the limelight, and compelled to condemn the actions, yet the same standard isn't applied to non-Muslim terrorists. And the familiar excuses are provided to explain why Muslims bear more responsibility.

So let's tackle these excuses:

1. Islam motivated the bombers to terror. As they became religious, they became terrorists.

False. By this logic, the most religious Muslims should be the biggest terrorists. However, empirical proof doesn't support this. How many Imams in USA, who ostensibly would be knee-deep in religious knowledge, have become terrorists? Hardly any! And for this logic to work, a statistically significant percent of Imams should have turned to terrorism, which is not the case.

2. We do know the older brother became religious, right? How can you deny that?

As they say, sometimes little knowledge can become dangerous knowledge. Indeed, in the history of Islam, there were some Muslims (called Khawarij), who were ruthless and killed many of their own. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said of them that they would be dogs of hellfire, even though they were Muslims. Very practicing Muslims, yet their knowledge of Islam was limited to rituals and window-dressing. Two points that would shock anti-Muslim bigots: (i) Just because someone is a Muslim doesn't relegate him or her to a heavenly position in the eyes of other Muslims and (ii) the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself distanced Islam from this murderous type of Muslims.

3. So are you saying that religion has nothing to do with it?

No, except in an indirect way. And this has to do with the concept of comradeship that Islam or any other religion, ideology, nationalism inculcates in its members. As Tamerlan Tsarnaev reconnected with his faith and his people (Chechens), it is likely he felt a deep sense of anxiety with how Russia brutalized and terrorized his native Chechnya. Perhaps he knew that he was being watched too closely to do anything in Russia. It seems likely that he extended the comradeship concept to Afghanistan, Burma and all the other regions where Muslims are being routinely oppressed and killed.  We do know that Tamerlan had become quite angry towards American policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. And perhaps his anger boiled over ultimately into the Boston savagery. No one knows exactly what went on in Tamerlan or Dhozakar's heads, but we do know that statistically there is no correlation between radicalism and piety. In fact, in polling done by Gallup in the Muslim world,

In Indonesia (the largest Muslim majority nation), those who condemned terrorism (the moderates) cited humanitarian AND Islamic reasons for holding their views [such as the verse “Killing one life is as sinful as killing the entire humanity”- Qurʾān 5.32]. And what about the radicals? Not a SINGLE respondent from Indonesia who condoned the 9/11 attacks cited the Qurʾān as justification. Instead, the responses were “markedly secular and worldly” (such as “The US government is too controlling toward other countries”).  [See more in this book synopsis of Who Speaks for Islam by Dalia Mogahed]

4. But Muslims are causing problems all around the world!

This is precisely the reason that many Muslims feel so much anger and distrust towards the West. Because this is like rubbing salt in an open wound. Like it or not, our government has been engaged in some of the worst foreign policy decisions possible. From the disastrous war in Iraq to the frequent drone attacks in Pakistan, from our eerie silence on brutal genocide of Muslims in Burma to the acquiescence to dictators in the Muslim world, it is obvious to any fair-minded that our government is doing more to radicalize Muslims than any online preacher. Unfortunately there are very few Glenn Greenwalds in the media who have consistently preached this very same message.  And that message is clear as the sun on a cloudless day: “Its politics, not piety, stupid!”

5. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.

When a non-Muslim carries IEDs into New York just a week before the Boston bombings, and no one has heard about it, then you can understand why I cannot blame people who think like this. The only terrorist events (or plots) that are reported ad nauseam are those involving Muslims. This is just the fact. Otherwise if Muslims had a monopoly on terrorism, how can you explain that 88% of domestic terrorist plots in USA since 1995 did not involve Muslims?

6. So you are saying Muslims couldn't have helped prevent this?

In fact, Muslims have been at the forefront of preventing terrorist attacks from their ranks, as Sherriff Lee Baca testified at the Pete King's hearings (witch-hunt) on “radical Islam” that American Muslims have reportedly helped foil seven of the last ten plots propagated by Al-Qaeda within the United States. As recently as last week, an editorial in the Toronto Star gave credit to Muslims for thwarting Toronto plots.

7. So why didn't Muslims prevent the Boston bombings?

Muslims are not Homeland Security or FBI. We are not authorized or responsible for monitoring other Americans. In this particular case, there is no evidence that the terrorism suspects talked about their intended actions in the mosques. As anyone in law enforcement will tell you that it is virtually impossible to uncover plots by unconnected (to wider networks) individuals. Had these Boston bombing suspects made any reference to terrorism in their mosque, it is unlikely that they wouldn't have been reported or counseled. An interesting case that speaks to this is of the FBI informant, Craig Monteilh, whose open jihad talk led to him being turned into the FBI by the community members in Orange county, California!

8. What is needed then to prevent radicalism then?

Of course, the root of the problem is political and until the oppression of Muslims stops, until drone attacks stop, until Western led wars in Muslim lands stop, it will be virtually impossible to stop the endless supply of radical material made available to disaffected youth. Of course that seems like a distant dream. Until then, we have to focus on band-aid measures.  As we have talked about on MuslimMatters for a long time, a key source of radicalism is the internet (see these two posts from 2010: MM on CNN and Lure of Radicalism by Yasir Qadhi). Moderate websites need to be propagated and radicals need to be defeated in the battle of hearts and minds with the true merciful message of authentic Islam. The negative energy feeding angry Muslim youth needs to be tempered with non-violent alternatives. And since the radical political message is being fed within shrouds of religion, the counter-message also needs to be religious and “fundamentalist”. In fact, there is no stronger antidote to radicalism than a strong orthodox Islamic approach

In conclusion, the Muslim community has nothing to apologize for.

We are as saddened and traumatized by the terrorist attacks as any other American.

We feel the pain of innocent individuals, men, women and children who have lost their lives or their limbs to the actions of the Boston bombing butchers.

We are further angered that these terrorism suspects had anything to do with Islam, further complicating the already fractured brand-name of Islam and Muslims in Western societies.

We hate the fact that this incident has given fresh oxygen to the anti-Muslim bigots who make their living as parasites on this hatred.  But we are not responsible for the attacks, and we will not apologize for it.

And you, the anti-Muslim bigot, is welcome to sprout and expose your hatred by saying how much you want to nuke all Muslims. But great good that will do.  Your hate will just gnaw inside you and slowly eat you up.

As 1.6 billion Muslims (over 1/5 of all humanity), we are very much bound to each other, whether you are a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist. Instead of hating, get to know a Muslim. You will be surprised to know how much we are just like you in our humanity.

Further reading:

88 Responses

  1. Sandra Amen-Bryan

    Br. Amad, you speak for many American-Muslims who are also refusing to apologize for actions they had nothing to do with. None of us get to share in the achievements, or success of any one muslim person but we are ALL expected to suck up the blame and guilt when ONE of them becomes violent? Sorry, we are not playing that game any more. I can mourn the loss of life without getting on the collective guilt train.

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      • maliurj

        Bro. Amad I truly enjoyed your thoughtful and well researched article.However, I would like to say that those of us who worry about whether or not it was a Muslim that committed any heinous act, are more worried about their own personal comfort and safety than anything else. Some of us do not want to be taken out of our comfort zones while living the “american dream”. Hence, we worry about the outcome of another Muslim ‘making waves’ or rather “rocking the proverbial boat’. As an American, living in Egypt, I have been bombarded with questions about my choice of migrating to this desolate country, as some unfortunately describe it. No one acknowledges the fact that Misr is the birthplace of one of the Nabiyoon, Musa AS, and that it is an honor to walk the path he walked on his physical journey in pleasing Allah. Everyone has become overwhelmed with the intoxicating fumes of life in the West and once they accomplish the goal of getting there by hook or crook, they lose all sense of self. They become addicted to illusionary lifestyles and dismiss the thought of ever reconnecting with their roots. The challenge is to take away the label of Muslim and respond to violence of this caliber and every other wrongdoing in the world as a member of humanity. When an African-American child gets killed in a drive-by shooting on his/her way home from school by a non-Muslim, do the Muslims in America, cry out against that heinous attack on an innocent human being?? I can assure you, that they don’t EXCEPT those Muslims who share the same ethnicity…African American, Puerto Rican or other Muslims from the same socio-economic roots. I am sad to say that that sends a message of double-standards bordering on hypocrisy regarding our understanding of our faith/deen and our relationship with humanity. This situation is not so cut and dry as we would like it to be. There is a catalyst to all what’s happening around us…which Islam teaches us about and that is the condition of the heart. Allah reminds us that He will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in their hearts. The same thing we are outwardly criticizing is a reflection of what is within each of us. As Salaamu Alaikum

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      • Hyde

        Excellent point. Most muslims in America get their thoroughly secularized education from the fancy schools, get their nice jobs, move to New Jersey, and start living their “American Dream”. They become so disinterested in Islam, and they only speak about the recent tragedies when they are distributed from their “American utopia equilibrium”.

        Indeed God will change us, if we do not change ourselves.

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      • cyprian2

        O.K., here’s my question. “Maliurj”claimed that the Muslim god,”Allah”, won’t change the condition of a people until they change their what is in their hearts. So…if that’s true, you need your god to do…what, exactly? If I can change my own heart, what do I need a god for?

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    • walebalogunk

      May Allah increase you in knowledge. i will post this concluding comment on facebook for people to see. Thanks once again

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  2. Gibran

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Awesome article Amad jazzakAllahu khair may Allah accept it from you. It was really one of those hard hitting articles-drives the point home.
    I do have one suggestion though.

    “strong orthodox Islamic approach”

    That bit could be changed. The word orthodox and other terms which have entered our lexicon are foreign and damaging. It is enough to call ourselves Muslim. This is what Allah and His Messenger promised and they spoke the truth.

    It was narrated on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed that the Prophet, , said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they enter the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too.’ We said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?’ He said: ‘Who else?’” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

    Also, An-Nasa’i recorded from Al-Harith Al-Ash`ari from the Messenger of Allah , who said:

    «مَنْ دَعَا بِدَعْوَى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْ جِثِيِّ جَهَنَّم»

    (Whoever adopts the call of Jahiliyyah, will be one of those who will crawl on their knees in Hell.) A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, even if he fasts and performs Salah” He said,

    «نَعَمْ وَإِنْ صَامَ وَصَلَّى ، فَادْعُوا بِدَعْوَةِ اللهِ الَّتِي سَمَّاكُمْ بِهَا الْمُسْلِمِينَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عِبَادَ الله»

    (Yes, even if he fasts and performs Salah. So adopt the call of Allah whereby He called you Muslims and believers and servants of Allah.)
    http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2484&Itemid=77

    JazzakAllahu khair

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    • Amad

      Actually we call ourselves sunni or shia for example and that is well accepted. Muslims are not monolithic and actually it is important sometimes (depending on context and need) to distinguish between types depending on situation.

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      • Sunarty

        Allah forbid us to do bombing, why did you do that.
        I know Al-Quran tells us to be Terrorism, and Ulama tells us lies but don’t follow this. you must be a good Islam, but do not follow the Al-Quran tells you to be Terrorism

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    • Hassen

      I think this is a very extreme opinion, Br. Gibran. Are you saying that using the term “orthodox” is both following the Jews and Christians as well as the call of Jaahiliyyah, which leads to Hell?

      *If this term was written in Arabic it would read “ahl-assunnah wal-jamaa’ah” (that’s clearly what’s intended), wallahu a’lam.

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      • Gibran

        Fear Allah. Would you like to deviate even slightly? Allah is more of a knower of what you do and where that will end you up. It’s not necessary argue.

        wa kanal insanu akthara shay in jadala

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      • Hyde

        AHL-ASSUNNAH WAL-JAMAA’AH…loud and clear, just in case.

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      • Gibran

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Ibn Abbas ra first used that term. We follow the Sahaba, not Jews and Christians.

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    • cyprian2

      Is it possible for muslims to quote from the writings of their predecessors without always trying to throw Christians and Jews under your pseudo – theological bus?

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      • Mahmud

        Psuedo-theological bus? Only ridden by nonbelievers. Join our club and you can ride the true theological bus.

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  3. anon

    Actually Tsarneav identified with America–thought himself as American and therefore identified with the atrocities HIS country was committing rather than Russia—American Islamophobia alienated him from his American identity making him feel he did not belong—and this alienation caused him to go mental.

    Americans don’t apologize for the terrorism they cause in other countries…………

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    • Muslimah

      Assalamualaikum, I agree that we shouldn’t have to apologize for radical Muslims, but also, not all Americans should have to apologize for the actions of some. It’s best to be the bigger person and show by our actions that we won’t generalize as well inshaAllah.

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    • Sunarty

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  4. Ummer Farooq (@faro0485)

    Quran 68:35-36

    أَفَنَجْعَلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ كَالْمُجْرِمِينَ

    (Shall We treat the Muslims like criminals)

    مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ

    (What is wrong with you, how do you judge)

    Accusing Tamerlan for Boston, is as good as accusing the prophet peace be upon him for massacring 600-900 jews of Khaybar.

    What a shame that those who call themselves muslims abandon muslims for the sake of those in authority.

    We should not only refuse to accept combined guilt, we should direct the guilt away from the innocent and to those who not only benefit from the bombings but to those who actually did it.

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    • Gibran

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      I don’t know why some people believe Qurayzah didn’t happen….it did.

      I believe it was technically Sad Ibn Muadh RA who ordered that the men be killed and the rest be taken captive. It’s in the books, there is nothing haram about it from an Islamic perspective, and in times of war this is what was done.

      That being said, we should give our prayers on Johar and his family as well as Tamerlaen’s widow and her family. They are going through a difficult time. SubhanAllah, Christians were giving prayers for Johar. Our ummah must be more merciful as we are the final ummah and the only ummah now that may enter Paradise.

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    • amad

      I am not sure where you are going with this, but if your line is that this is a conspiracy despite the overwhelming evidence that the brothers were directly involved in the bombings, then I am sorry but I want none of it.

      If you’d like to believe in conspiracies, then that is your prerogative. For the majority of people, it is what it is, and we have to tackle the ground reality. Because perception is almost as important and sometimes more important than reality.

      And for the record, I find it incredulous that in the day of internet and social media, people really think that such clear operations can be “created”. Tamerlan and his brother have been pretty much caught red-handed in their savage operations and they have not only killed and maimed innocent civilians, they have also once again put Muslims on the back-foot and pushed back progress in “our genuine causes”.

      PS: I don’t want to divert this discussion towards conspiratorial line so any further discussion towards that may just be removed. Thanks for your understanding.

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      • Hyde

        Dear Brother Sir,
        I agree with you and disagree with you. To think that the conspiratorial view of history is completely apocryphal is not correct, since there is plethora of evidence to the contrary YET the idea that everything happens because the government is behind everything is ludicrous as well. This was a well written essay and flushes out the anxieties that Muslim are feeling very well.

        The brothers were caught and we must deal with that.But if someones is to apologize for the crime then obviously he is accepting the crime in the first place. This is not a Muslim problem, nor a Chechen problem but an American problem. They were radicalized here, not 10,000 miles away (although they may have been influenced by events far away). Americans must see this as an American problem. Scapegoating a religion or a culture is not going to prevent the next tragedy nor heal the past ones.

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      • Hyde

        You know this reminds me:
        “There was this young girl who was hiding in the attic and wrote in her diary that when a Christian does something wrong, a Christian is punished, but when a Jew does something wrong Jews are punished”…one can take that to this time and age and state when a Muslim does something wrong, their entire religion is put on the stake; 1400 years of history come into question. The question has to be asked that in this police state, is the problem with terrorists, brown people, arab people, muslim people or with the Islam itself ?

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  5. Reena Siddiqui

    I do not live in America but my heart was aching when at the end the media declared them Muslims! Really, really loved the article. I feel like a heavy burden has been removed!
    May Allah SWT protect us. Ameen.

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    • Amad

      That’s great to hear, jazakillahkhair. We all still have a burden, to spread the word and ensure that we don’t make Islam the burden :)

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  6. Fred Sahakian (@Fred_Sahakian)

    Amad, I truly understand and respect what you are saying. It must feel frustrating to feel “deputized” for a cause when you have your own life and family to focus on, I truly empathize. However, I do believe that these apologies can be disarming of critics, and maybe they were helpful during the Boston Bombing. I saw so many non-Muslims speak up against Islamophobia after the bombing. The support of the Muslim community by non-Muslims sounded much louder in recent weeks than it ever has been over the past decade, and I’m sure it’s thanks to brave men and women like yourself who have apologized for the horrific actions of others.

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    • amad

      Thanks for your message. I really do appreciate your tone and language.

      But I must say that the distinction between sharing our anger and sorrow versus apologizing is being blurred. How many white right-wingers or Christians apologized for McVeigh or for Brevik? They also shared elements within these two terrorists like Muslims share elements with the Boston bomers.

      The apology narrative is driven by collective guilt. Why are we guilty of anything? I agree that the terrorists’ family needs to apologize. I agree that anyone who influenced these terrorists into the action needs to apologize. But I never met them, never talked to them, never even heard of them. Why should I have any guilt or responsibility for this?

      The other narrative is that Muslims are partners in peace and we need to all work together, and because we are positive part of the American fabric (not a cancerous tumor), we should redouble our efforts to talk to our friends and neighbors about Islam, have more youth counsellors to identify troubled kids earlier, and so on. And this is not because we are compelled to, but because we want to. Because we love this country as much as anyone else and want to prevent harm from it.

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  7. American Muslimah

    There is something I keep hearing Muslims say – but doesn’t make sense to others. When we ask why people don’t associate actions from other wrong individuals with their faith – it’s because those people don’t claim to represent the call of action in their faith.

    With other Muslim terrorist actions – they are trying to make the claim they are performing jihad, following Islam, and that what they are doing is permissible. If we keep denying this point, people aren’t going to understand us, and we sound weak.

    In the weeks surrounding the weeks of Boston, I saw posts all over Fb wondering why no one on media blamed the religion of something like Columbine, or the movie theater guy who killed people during Batman – and why no one is calling them a terrorist.

    But it’s obvious why not, Otherwise, we’d be looking at gang members here in LA who wear crosses on their necks, and trying to say Christianity promotes racial violence, gangs, and murder. But these people don’t claim to be killing in the name of God….where are those who say they are Muslim and terrorists did in the past, such as 9/11, and moving forward.

    So, I wholeheartedly agree with you – I don’t need to feel guilt or responsible because this isn’t what Islam teaches. At the same time we can’t point out to the world our Ummah connection with Muslims all over the world in one sentence, and then try to be suddenly only American Muslims disconnected from the actions of others in the next.

    And really, I don’t blame people for their fears and feelings, and while in regard to civil liberties we have to take a stand for our Constitutional rights and to protect our rights as citizens like everybody else – I think we should do all we can to make our average neighbor, co-worker, and so forth know what we DO stand for.

    One of the signs of a believer is that a neighbor feels safe from our hands and tongue – that we won’t cause harm. I don’t think our job is done yet if we haven’t accomplished that yet for the majority of Americans. Our voice, our contributions, our trustworthiness, our dignity isn’t known enough, and I think we need to accept that.

    I really feel sorry that people see me and feel afraid, perhaps, or wonder what I’m teaching my kids, – and I think it’s my duty to go out of my way in everyway possible to do the da’wah – starting with actions, and behavior to ease those fears.

    With non-Muslim family, I can assure you, even with me IN the family – they think Muslims in general “over there” are more prone to violence and don’t respect the values of America. Media and news has a greater control over people – it’s what they are fear – “war on terror” night after night after night.

    We have to accept that reality – like it or not. It’s our test right now, our generations test.

    I know people really appreciated seeing so many Muslim organizations speak out against Boston – and trust me – many American people NEED to hear that, and I feel that if that’s what it takes for people to feel comfortable – let’s do it.

    We can feel like victims, or we can feel like ambassadors for the truth.

    Again, on a political level – there has to be a legitimate fight for our rights to remain – but we also need to realize that politics starts not just from the top, but from the ground too.

    When people are afraid – they stop caring about equal rights – they’ll do anything to sleep in peace at night – and so no, we aren’t guilty, but we are responsible to continue to let our voice heard loud and clear what Islam is, and what it is not. We are responsible, as you said, for taking care of our youth, being aware that radical websites do exist and building successful communities and platforms for the spread of Islam according to The Qur’an, and the Sunnah.

    And as you said, we shouldn’t be compelled to take extra measures, but want to because we care about people in the place we live.

    But the sheer fact that we admit – there is a problem with “radicalization” and “fundamentalism” remains enough of a reason for people to continue to fear us – because they never know who was radicalized, and who wasn’t.

    That last line plays on fears that aren’t simply irrational because 9/11 did happen, Boston did happen – and people wonder “what’s next?” and Muslims carry that fear too because if it is a Muslim, we Do have to worry about backlash – a sad reality.

    I don’t think we should apologize – but we should always empathize, take a stand, until the greatest common perception is the truth of what Islam is.

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    • Amad

      I get your point about perception. And there is a vicious feedback loop that happens between media and public due to cognitive dissonance. That is why you see that one media outlet (can’t find the source right now) gave some “brown color” to the two bombers!

      Read this article: http://muslimmatters.org/2011/01/24/cognitive-dissonance-the-psychology-of-double-standards-around-jared-loughner-arizona-shootings/

      Basically, it is easy and acceptable for average Americans to perceive Muslims as bad guys without any qualifications. But if it were white non-Muslims, you’d have to add some qualifier (loner, crazy, or have you). And I agree that we have to do a lot more to make Muslims also get the same benefit of doubt. As I said in my article, echoing what I think you are trying to say:

      Let there be a “Muslim Charities” working hand in hand with “Catholic Charities”, let there be Muslim mayors, judges and leaders, let there be Muslim CEOs, let there be Muslim Larry Kings and Jon Stewarts, let Muḥammad and Aisha be names of men and women who are part of the American fabric at every level and at every rung. Only then will we stop being the “other”, only then will our next Muslim criminal be put in his place as a criminal, just a criminal – no religious qualifiers needed. Only then will the “Muslim” tag no longer reduce dissonance, and “acts of monstrous criminality [will] stand on their own”.

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      • Mansoor Ansari

        Amad,

        The magazine was ‘The Week’

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  8. azmathmoosa

    I’m an indian muslim and I was wondering if you guys genuinely believe that america wants good for the planet and as such is spending billions and billions of dollars to spread democracy in the muslim world. that drones are to kill the terrorists and make the world a safer place. and that collateral damage is ‘accidental’. and that the american regime really feels ‘sorry’ for the civilian deaths.

    I was made to believe (and it seems logical) that americans deliberately kill/rape/torture innocent muslims because they are christians (not the peace loving, but the Fox news guys) and hate us.

    because of what I believe, i can’t help but feel that america deserves more and more such calamities…

    i dont understand… i wish the world was black and white

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    • Indian expat

      All humans have the spirit of Allah breathed into them. All human life is scared.

      The innocent 8 year old will surely question on judgement day “what wrong he did”?

      People lost their arms and limbs which are irreplaceable items.

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    • gunal

      Azmatmoosa, you have no right to judge Americans that way! (Only God can do that)

      Anyhow, your judgement is flawed. You generalised to the extent that all Americans kill/rape/torture innocent Muslims, forgetting that most Americans are just ordinary human beings like myself. And, America must have some Muslim Americans too.

      Take into consideration of those facts before throwing your accusations, and, if one day (God forbid) you get a chance to take all American people’s justice into your own hands. Don’t forget the most important fact: Only Allah can judge! He is the Most Just!

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  9. Ramy

    SA, excellent points. I agree that our religious teachings and the actions of people we don’t know, are not valid sources for us to feel guilty.
    But the 85% of American Muslims who voted for Obama (who is as much a terrorist as “Muslim terrorists”) should feel guilty for endorsing state sponsored terrorism which feeds revenge-based terrorism.

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  10. wandpen

    Jazakumullah khairan kaseera for this well-thought-out article. Very comprehensive and well done.

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  11. Gudda

    Good article. I would read # 8, then go back and recommend re-reading #2. It’s all about knowledge and the source of knowledge. Is it from a well-known scholar in the Islamic world or from a “Shiakh Google-Joe-Blow”?? All the time (Hundred-ten percent), they are paralyzed or influenced by the latter.
    I love the answer in #7, especially the first sentence. Yes a person would be responsible or should be answerable if he/she knows something is going on wrong around him/her and deliberately does does not inform the proper authorities. My two cents.

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    • Amad

      You’re right… I did go back read 8 and 2 and saw the connection…

      Indeed the internet can become a major source of fitna and for a restless young man, the wrong clicks can lead to disaster!

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  12. safa

    I couldnt have said it any better. You definitley hit the point in this article. MashaAllah. JazakAllah Khayran and May Allah bless you.

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    • Amad

      waiyakum and ameen…. safa… and thanks for stopping by… hope you will share it with others….

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  13. amjad.

    Jazakallah brother ..need to spread the correct teaching of Islam now a days it cleaf fact the wrong doers are continuously spreading the hating message and misd-conception about Islam, only for want to block the road specially for those who have in-sufficient knowledge of true religion.We are last ummah and its our duty to spread truth specially to those who have until in darkness..yes …the opponents hijacking the such type incidences and imposing blame on islam.am not american ,residing at pakista, and have more wisdom that what are happening at our countary as well as neibour (afghanistan).Only one thing remain kept in mind that how many had killed until there innocents??? and for what purpose???? so….some time came feeling so hard when any one know the real picture of invaded regions. May Allah SWT give u more wisdom..good work u done. Our prayers remain with u .There is need of time to spread dawah work with true spirit continuously,keep trust on Allah SWT in every situation and condition. Enshah Allah tala situation will change and many brothers and sisters will come in the light of Islam here at ur country.

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    • Amad

      waslaam… i think you are confusing the “underwear bombers”. Sh. Yasir is talking about Umar Farooq Abdullah who tried to detonate his bomb in Dec 2009.

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  14. Stephanie George

    And remember what Prophet Muhammad said any life lost is like losing all of humanity. A muslim is no better than a non muslim their life is just as important as a muslim. Do we not all come from God? In the end are we not brothers and sisters in God eyes? I believe so. To not care just shows the meanness in that person. They say the West doesnt care yet do you know what prayer I say for the muslims behind closed doors? Have you count the tears that I have cried just for them? Have you felt my heart ache for them? Of course not only God knows. So to the writer go ahead hate the West don’t feel bad for the 8 year old who lost his life. Remember the hate and carelessness in your heart.will carry you forth on the day of judgement to a very displeased God. You don’t know what.we.Americans say for you in our prayers but at least we care through prayer even if we can’t help physically and that at least is something

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    • azmathmoosa

      in that case my sister in humanity, you are the only one. Watch this video as a bunch of unscrupulous monkeys (nationality: america) discuss what their great country, the land of liberty and justice, should do regarding the ongoing massacre in syria:

      [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVFLZ_jV-fs?feature=player_embedded&w=640&h=360

      Understand why the muslim world hates america. We have genuine reasons to hate you. But we do condemn killing of any innocent, including americans.

      At the end of the day God IS Just. and the wrongdoers, american/non-american will be brought to justice.

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    • Amad

      Dear Stephanie
      Thank you for your prayers and sympathies for all victims, Muslims and non-Muslims. It does not appear you have read my article carefully, otherwise you would not have been come to the conclusion that I don’t care about non-Muslim victims or that I hate the West. In fact, I love America (even as I might hate some of our government’s domestic or foreign policies), and like any “normal” human being, I am greatly saddened by the loss of innocent life.

      As I said in the article,

      We are as saddened and traumatized by the terrorist attacks as any other American.
      We feel the pain of innocent individuals, men, women and children who have lost their lives or their limbs to the actions of the Boston bombing butchers.

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  15. muslim convert of 24 years

    We might never know what really happened and maybe it doesn’t matter. I am so happy someone articulated the feelings in my heart, it made me feel better to read this article….We as Muslims are not guilty for what random Muslims do or do not do. On the Day of Judgement, we all stand alone.

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    • amad

      Happy to hear that i made a small difference in your life :)
      thanks for leaving the comment

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  16. Pooja

    dear Brother,
    I read your article, and found it very well written and insightful, it conveyed a lot.
    I am a Hindu, and personally wish that we(as siblings in humanity) were all friends. I am sorry that with media and politics, your end gets put under the wrong light, it hurts me deeply, I trust you, I hope that trust is mutual
    You know how the whole world is- it is UTILITARIAN. It will see what is put forward, what shows, not the intention that we bear in our hearts- that we will never be given credit for. I believe that we humanity-siblings, should come forth and SHOW we love and care for eachother, so that we override all the negative forces, that steal the limelight and cast the wrong image.
    With all faith in goodness,! <3
    your Sister from India

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  17. Asim Razi

    Assalamualikum Br. Amad

    Excellent article, mashallah. May Allah (swt) reward you well. I am using this and the Cognitive Dissonance one in my essay at school (I live in Australia). But as I was researching, I realised how the bitterness, the victims of the attack and their families, must be feeling so as to render them insensible (probably) o any plea from Muslims not to smear an entire religion because of it. Would this really be the attitude of the people, or is it different? I really feel sad for what has happened. But I really wonder whether we should so be so conclusive about their involvement since they are still called “suspect”…

    Wassalam

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    • Amad

      wasalam Asim
      thank you for your heartening comment.
      No doubt, it would be very difficult for families of victims to think completely reasonably. This would be the same sort of blind distrust I might possess if a certain category of people hurt my family. However, even though people feel connection to other people of similar type, and feel some hurt, as the relationship gets further away, I suspect people would be more reasonable.

      That is where cognitive dissonance comes in. For example if a Buddhist had done the same act, you could expect a great amount of dissonance in the average american’s mind because the portrayal of Buddhist is extremely peaceful. Yet, we see some Buddhists committing a genocide in Burma/Myanmar. So the actual reality of any people is not what counts, but the perception. And so if it were Buddhist, you’d expect people to focus more on him being a pscyho or a loner, etc. rather than anything to do with religion.

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      • Asim Razi

        Thanks for the reply! That explains what cognitive dissonance is really well.

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  18. Gunal

    I have just realised something br Amad,thanks to your article and to such diverse comments left… I realised that why, I myself, like many others, feel not responsible for this kind of action from muslims and feel not apologetic, yet, deepdown feel like I ought to!

    I always feel frustrated learning what is going on in the muslim world and usually choose to ignore and change the channel. When they brought up this changing the idea of Jihad for eg. I couldn’t believe that so called professionals would think this was going to change meaning to a lifelong belief (for some people). I am angry that even muslims were joining in. I was angry because that meant for me that; even the muslims didn’t understand the meaning of Jihad. Not the way some people carry it out to be anyway.

    Meaning of Jihad for me still stands as; ‘protecting one’s religious beliefs’. One of the comments here said ; “On the Day of Judgement, we all stand alone.” Yes but why then there was Jihad in Muhammed (sav) ‘s time? Because their belief was under attack. Needed to be protected from people who wanted to demage it and eliminate it. Not for their own sake! Because once a true believer will always go on believing. This was for their children, for their future generation.

    Yes everytime a muslim terrorist blows up a place in the news, it becomes more and more difficult to clear our good Muslim name for our children. Perhaps this all started as a clever propaganda by someone who hated Muslims and wanted to end it. They’re certainly making it sound like a disrespectful belief. and even a stupid one (ones who needs to be tought what a Jihad is)…

    Therefore, I must feel responsible for the demage these explosions are causing, yes it is not because I caused the explosion but somehow I have let it happen. Because I can see my child suffering and being embarassed, and most importantly, scared to call himself Muslim. Yes you might be right to blame America for lots of bad things in the world. But wake up! That is how politics work. If they can use your religion to get what they want, why not! Why don’t you blame your stupid government officials who can not see and deal with how America manipulates them.

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  19. Abu Balkan

    I think this is the first time in history of the ummah that Muslims are refusing to bury another Muslim. Americans are ready to distance themselves from such action by proclaiming that they’re not barbarian. Unfortunately, some Muslims in this country don’t feel the same.
    We know that many of us will stand up for a burial of any person whether they prayed or not, committed major sins or kufr. Let’s assume the individual is guilty as charged he still is a Muslim deserving of a burial. I denounce and distance my self from all those who think otherwise especially the “imams” in the state of MA.
    Shame on you!!!

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

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    • Hyde

      Actually there is a new trend of scholarship in this deen, especially from the American community. The likes of SHY are slowly coming to end and this breed is more acquiescing to then sticking to tradition. Just read some other blogs (i.e. goat milk) to see what scholars of tomorrow are thinking about. Very slowly Islam will become a stranger entity.

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      • Gibran

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Who is SHY?………

        Also, have what Wajahat Ali has said about liwat in his recent blog post, how can we possibly consider him to be a Muslim? There is a different between sticking to a group for cultural affinity and actually being a Muslim.

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      • Hyde

        @MM Why didn’t my reply to Gibran show up ? (it was showing up before ?)
        -Thanks

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      • Hyde

        @MM DiscoMaulvi…cool I understand, no name calling, but man, “they” sure can get on the nerves…but anyway at least I guess I can tell brother Gibran that SHY stands for Shekh Hamza Yusuf

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  20. sohail ahmad khan

    i think, people need to understand the basic things that injustice in any form results in violence. if we will not remove the causes of such reactions then i am afraid we cant control it . all the big powers invest on things that bring inequality, deprivation and starvation. we need to invest on peace of world.

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  21. critic

    Sorry, your article is utter nonsense. Please stop parroting the Jihad apologist line that : “It’s all the US’s fault” and stop quoting far-left lunatics like Glenn Greenwald, who is only taken seriously by other far-left propagandists and by Muslims. It’s NOT the US’s fault, it’s the fault of the victimhood mindset that many Muslims are taught to embrace right from childhood.

    What “US Imperialism” did these two Russian Muslims of Chechen origin have to live under? Did they have any blood ties or organic ties with Iraq or Afghanistan? What “Western Colonialism” or “Drone Strikes” did they personally have to experience that would rile them up to murder and maim the very same people who gave them a safe refuge from their war-torn native homeland? How can the US even be remotely responsible in this case?

    What about the 7/7 London bombers or the two Muslims who beheaded a British soldier just yesterday? Why are people born and raised in a Liberal, Democratic, and highly free society, who enjoy all the perks and benefits of the West, with NO blood ties or organic ties with Iraq or Afghanistan, who have never personally experienced any of what you accuse the US (or the West) of doing, lining up in droves to destroy the very same society that has welcomed them with open arms? How does that work exactly?

    Answer — It’s that titanium reinforced herd-loyalty and group thinking, which renders most Muslims incapable of divergent thought. Everything is viewed thru an “Us vs. Them” lens. An example of this is how Muslims who are born and raised in the West seem to feel a stronger affinity towards their beloved Ummah and their Muslim brethren there, rather than the land that they’re mooching off. They feel the need to blame the very same country that protects them, for all the misdeeds of the Muslim community. This explains why Chechen Muslims in the US are so angered by what the US does in Afghanistan, which they never personally experienced, and why British Muslims of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin are so angered by “Zionist Occupation,” which they never personally experienced.

    Let go of this herd loyalty, and learn to think independently. It is NOT the US’s fault. It’s the fault of the way Muslims think.

    DO NOT blame the US or the West. THEY are the ones who took you, or your parents or your grandparents in, gave you/them a safe refuge from whatever you were escaping. Even if you were not escaping anything, the West is providing you with perks and comforts that you would have NEVER gotten in ANY Islamic country.

    You as the author are just as guilty of this collectivist “Muslim Victimhood Industry” mindset, and you HAVE to apologise and feel guilty, because YOU are perpetuating the same line of thinking that is a breeding ground for further terror attacks.

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  22. Omar

    More muslims need to protest the “fake” muslims who kill innocent people for their ridiculous beliefs. Why aren’t your people doing more to separate yourselves from those “other” muslims who kill for Allah? It seems like your religious group isn’t doing enough to prove that following Islam doesn’t mean you are a bomb-wearing, baby killing machines? The problem you all have is that there is a HIGH public media appearance displaying Islam as a violent and barbaric way of life. If it is not, more of you boys and girls need to hit the streets, get on a soap box and start educating people about public figures in the middle East who are not followers of Islam but say they are. Attack those “fake” muslims publicly. Break them down. If they are evil for what they believe and how they strive to hurt people, don’t look or act like them. Start a new revolution against them. For the rest of us, if you don’t willingly separate yourselves in a obvious way, then it demonstrates to everyone that you support them.

    Take a lesson from the Christians fighting gay marriage. True Christians are fighting false Christians who want gay marriage ceremonies to take place in the church. Christians have NO problem speaking out against the false faiths misrepresenting Christianity. Why can’t you do the same?

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  23. priya

    ans me some quest…..
    why most islamic nations hav strict blasphemy laws?
    why other religions r percecuted in muslim majority nations?nd NO body cares!
    why do ISlAMIC nations control activities of other religions?
    why do they have so sexist nd racist laws? nd body speaks bout it?
    i agree muslims r nt same….indian muslim or american muslim is nt responsible 4 wat bucthery pak does!!
    but in d west nd other democracies v tok bout equality bt in midd east!!!
    y mostly islamic nations violate d rite 2 religion?saudi arabia says dey follow wat islam says!!!ppl frm islamic nations hardly tok bout dat der stupid laws nd everything is seen as a western media conspiracy nd nyl muslims can stop this fundamentalism nd backwardness bcoz wen non beliver says…its met widl hrass reactions!!u said persecution against muslims in burma nd other places must stop nd wat bout persecution nd forceful conversion of non muslims?wen in Us or ind v say muslims r discriminated …islamist get an excuse 2 do wrong!Dey belive in tit 4 tat wat if other ppl start doin it???
    no religion is wrong bt non is perfect also!i bein a hindu reject cast system dat does nt make me ny less hindu!!!!i m waitin 4 ur honest nd logical answers nd btw HaPpy DiWali!!:))

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  24. balafama

    Boko haram is killing Christians in Nigeria . The very same Christians on whose land the oil resources that helps the Muslim north is derived from. They want islamization of Nigeria despite the fact that they have sharia law in the states with Muslim majorities , approved for them by a Christian president. Their people are dying from common diseases, poverty, illiteracy .While the christian southern Nigeria is timproving Itself And Has Much Better Standard Of living. Tell me what has Nigeria government got to do with Iraq or Afghanistan, but we are still being terrorized by this lowlifes. Islamics have problems with every other religion..they want to be superior to others but lack intelligence, technology know how all they want to do is study Koran and can’t understand why there is poverty , ignorance and disease.prevalent in Islamic countries.you are not the only aggrieved group but muslims easily resort to violence rather than dialogue
    And negotiations. Muslims need to reform themselves and know they don’t have a monopoly on violence. You are currently the most hated religion on the earth. Most countries are weary of Muslims and are already taking measures to halt immigration of muslims.

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    • Riz Khan

      Brother, Islam is religion of peace. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all are dubbed as Abrahamic religions. we have many similarities. If you read Quran; you would find that it promote friendship especially with Jews and Christians. Those who kill innocent are criminals…they have no religion, that is simple.

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      • Mahmud

        Assalamualaikum

        Riz, that is TOTALLY false. NOWHERE are we promoted to having friendship with Jews and Christians. On the contrary, there are a number of ayat condemning the Jews and Christians for their disbelief.

        Furthermore, those who kill innocent people while being Muslims are criminal, but murder doesn’t expel one from the fold of Islam!!! So you are doubly wrong there!!!

        Fear Allah!!!

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  25. Dave

    I don’t want or expect you to feel guilty for a crime you did not commit. I do however think that in general most Muslims do not stand up against the radicals enough within their religion. If more Muslims stood up against the radicals then I think more non-Muslims would treat the average Muslim better. Keep in mind that actions speak louder then words and action to stop the radicals is what needs to happen not just idle talk.

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  26. Mirror Reflection

    Mr. Shaikh, I applaud you and every Muslim that takes a peaceful interpretation and pathway in Islam, but many of your points above look good on the surface but do not reach the root. The root lies in the dichotomy within Islam’s own doctrines, and there is an open door always available for the justification of the slaughtering and oppression of individuals and societies, and the pursuit of global conquest by any means (violence, murder, multiplication, politics, deceit, taxation, etc) as long as it is done in Allah’s name because it is either written in the sacred text or promulgated by the keepers of sacred teaching. Even for a peace keeping Muslim, how is he/she to contend with these contradictions? Do non-aggressive Muslims effectively condone the actions of those who commit acts of terrorism, murder and oppression? The answer is yes, even if it is unintentional, the answer remains, yes. So then, how does this door shut – this gateway that has burst open under the guise of politics but is really about religious domination? Can outsiders do it? The West’s concept of individualism given and granted by a benevolent Creator prevents the annihilation of all those with this creed (although many in frustration imagine such atrocity to be a viable answer – but it isn’t, and thus remains a shield to all Muslims from Western powers). Surely, the change must be from within – and until there is a movement within an entire generation of Muslims on a global scale to take responsibility for their violent counterparts there will be no change. No longer ought any, either from the impoverished or prosperous Islamic nations, point the finger of blame the West for this thing or that thing to justify their passions for jihad when three fingers point back to themselves. Maybe you didn’t pull the trigger, and you didn’t teach or tell someone else to do it. But a hands off approach makes them red, too. I have peaceful Muslim friends and acquaintances, and when I think about them, I remember that this is no easy task – but, it is the peacemakers that must take equal to or greater action to counterbalance what continues unabated in the world of Islamic hatred of anything it does not yet dominate.

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  27. bg

    I am peronally sick of you ppl trying to influence how we as americans live. There will never be a majority islam here no allah no crazy laws of yours “sharia”, none of that. Everytime something happens here its bc of a muslim. Im so sick of it you need to go back to iran or iraq or egypt or whereever we are a christian nation that loves jesus the true religion here in America! Also what happened at Rutgers is pathetic you all should be ashamed. I believe you must serve in our military to even be allowed here. Happy memorial day God bless our troops!

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