CONDEMN THIS NOW

Here are four thoughts that normally go through my head when folks ask for individual American Muslims to condemn some foreign group of people claiming Islam while doing terrible things:

1) Muslims regularly speak out when people try to abuse our faith or use it as cover for atrocities. It seems that a combination of things limit the reach of our voice: we are not good at getting our message out and people often are not truly interested in what Muslims actually have to say.

2) Personally, I'm tired of playing the condemnation game and I find it a bit offensive when people question if I disagree or am appalled when some crazy people do horrible things, while claiming that they are Muslims or that they are acting in accordance with Islam. That's because it should be expected that I'm appalled and the question itself makes me wonder about the questioner. It makes me think that when atrocities are committed in the name of something they identify with do they support the atrocity?

3) I've also noticed that there is a huge double standard or in the best cases severe cognitive dissonance in the people who regularly ask for or “need” to hear condemnations from others. They tend to broad brush groups, while ignoring either the problems in their own communities or more commonly the fact that they openly support things that directly contradict their stated values when done in support of causes they are sympathetic to. This brings me back to wondering if/when the shoe was/is on the other foot would/do they speak up?

4) If it is the case that we struggle to live values-based lives, avoid hypocrisy and create a better world, it is not/shouldn't be considered hard to be against people abusing one's own faith or cause. It is much more difficult to be morally consistent in all areas of our lives.

The world needs a lot more honest introspection and a lot less finger pointing. Gandhi told us a long time ago to be the change we wish to see in the world.

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