Friday, February 24, 2006
  Are Muslims so unique?
Ok, given the nice comment I received yesterday about the "great horror" of Islam and Muslims, I'd like to take a moment to reflect. Are the Muslims who have been rampaging for the past few weeks so unique in their violence and destruction?

I seem to remember the murder of 6 million European Jews, and countless Catholics, Poles, Slavs, and homosexuals, at the hands of... was it Muslims? Oh no, it was Europeans.

And how about the deaths of some 2 million Cambodean people. Gosh, that wasn't Muslims either. That was at the hands of the communist Cambodean government under Pol Pot.

And lets see, 1 million dead in Rwanda... that must have been the Muslims. Oh, no, that was the Hutu, one of the three ethnic groups living in Rwanda.

How about the rape of Nanking, the genocide in Bosnia, Pinochet's reign of terror in Chile, Sabra and Shatilla, etc, etc, etc.

These all took place in the past 60-70 years --within the memory of people alive today. It's not ancient history.

And how about terror tactics -- again just in the recent past, within the memories of people living today -- kamikazis, the IRA, Basque sepratists, the Irgun gang, drug lords... yeah, there are plenty of instances of people using terror to try and get their way.

Clearly, no race or nationality can claim innocence.

One might argue that the most violent peoples have been the white Europeans who are now so condescending to their brown Muslim neighbors. Starting with the Crusades and the slaughter of the entire population of Jeruselem (a massacre of 60,000 souls carried out by hand), moving to the slow decimation of Native populations in North and South America, continuing on to the genocide of the extremely well integrated European Jewish community, from the IRA mailbox bombers to the ETA carbombers, it is clear, we are a people who should call for tolerance, justice, and an end to violence not with haughty arrogance and condesending pretentions of superiority, but with the humilty of knowing our own history.
"Clearly, no race or nationality can claim innocence."
Pamela, this is so patently true that I can hardly believe Gravelrush could leave such a post and then claim him (her?) self to be part of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is what appalls me about the conservative right: this arrogance that they, and they alone, can judge who is right and who is wrong. Christ Himself taught not to do that; the most important of His commandments was to "Love thy neighbor." He didn't say, "Love the neighbors who agree with you!" Gravelrush needs to examine his conscience, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and have the courage to face what he finds there.
Louise, I know so many Christians who strive on a daily basis to implement this beautiful teaching. Truly wonderful people. It is sad when the most strident, hateful voices are the ones that get heard.

Of course, when you are dealing with a population of 2 billion a "tiny" minority of only 1% is still 2 million people!

We have the same problem in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad said, "No one is a true believer until he wants for his fellow man what he wants for himself." The radicals who would like to ignore this and the teachings of religious tolerance, may be a tiny minority, but with such a large community that translates into millions of people.
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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