The “All-American Muslims” of All-American Muslim may be entirely sincere when they claim that Bin Laden is not a Muslim. After all they are Shiites and he’s a Sunni. Al-Qaeda has targeted Shiites in its massacres. The Shiite view of Sunnis and the Wahhabi view of Shiites tend to be equally ugly. And Shiites and Sunnis often persecute each other in Muslim countries.
The problem is that while the All-American Shiites may reject Bin Laden, they don’t reject the Ayatollah Khomeini and Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah. If they did then Abdul Latif Berry and Husham Al-Husainy wouldn’t have a place to promote themselves on All-American Muslim.
Most Muslims reject some form of terrorism, but not that many Muslims reject all forms of terrorism. There are always exceptions and exemptions. Whether it’s Shiites who want to give Hezbollah a pass or Sunnis who think that Al-Qaeda goes too far but that Hamas is just right, what is lacking in the Muslim community is a wholesale rejection of all forms of violent Jihad.
It’s not enough to reject Bin Laden in order to participate in commemorating September 11. Not when a Shiite Bin Laden like Hassan Nasrallah or the Ayatollah Khomeini are still okay. And even those Muslims who do reject terrorism in all its forms must still address the widespread affinity for terrorism in the Muslim community. An affinity so widespread that even a television series like All-American Muslim whose entire reason for being is to present a positive non-terrorist image of Islam is still unwilling or unable to keep Imams like Husainy and Berry off the stage.
An honest admission that their community has a problem combined with sincere mourning for the dead without any of the self-serving victimization that characterizes episodes like The Day the World Changed would go a long way toward easing the minds of Americans. It would also change the dialogue from dishonest platitudes and denial to a meaningful exchange of feelings and ideas.
September 11 is first and foremost a day to remember the horrors inflicted on this country and the grief of those who were lost amidst the flames. Truly All-American Muslims would use that day to join the national grieving, rather than bringing to it their own victimization agendas. Above all else it is unseemly for a community where a man like Husham Al-Hussainy remains a respected figure to present itself as the real victims of an ignorant backlash when it has clearly not even come to terms with the conflicting demands of American values and its own religion.
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