U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi has responded to a question posted in an Islam Online forum regarding the Fort Hood Shooting. In the statement he excoriates U.S. and Western media, as well as Western society in general, for what he perceives as a vast, deep-rooted prejudice against Muslims:
The American media and many other western media were quick to blame Islam and Muslims for the incident, in spite of Muslims’ condemnation. How do you see this matter, and what is the right course that Muslims should take in order to refute such accusations? How should Muslim communities in the West react to this massacre?
Answer Blaming Muslims, or worse even, blaming Islam reflects a possible combination of the following:
1. Ignorance of genuine Islamic teachings, whether due to the lack of authentic information or accessing twisted and erroneous information about Islam. Also due to interpretations of the scriptures that are driven by political and/or religious extremists’ agendas, thanks to the main media outlets and Islamophobic blogs. 2. The attitude of the anti-Islam hatred and sentiments inflamed again by media and others with questionable agendas. 3. Irrational negative stereotypes against Islam as a faith and its normative teachings. Also stereotypes against Muslims who, like other major world religious communities, are people; good apples and bad apples. To blame 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide or even 6-8 million Muslims in the US is as irrational as blaming peaceful and decent American Christians for the evil committed by Timothy McVeigh, murdering a 168 innocent people including 19 children in Oklahoma city. 4. Double standards and failure to look oneself in the mirror. Mass irrational criminal shootings are part of common occurrences in many parts of the world including the US. No one keep harping on the “religious” background of the murderers. What we commonly hear is that such murderers may be deranged or responders to harassments or bullying or simply being psycho-paths or socio-paths. Only in the case of Islam, if the murderer is a “Muslim”, devout or not, or when the name sounds Muslim or Arab, many will jump to conclusion that the 6-8 million American Muslims are to blame as if they were co-conspirators or even perpetrators of that crime. That is done irrespective of the fact that the mainstream Muslim community has nothing to do with such crimes, planning or executing such a crime and irrespective of their clear, direct and unequivocal condemnation of such crimes.
One wonder whether this attitude of gross injustice is one subtle manifestation of racism, false sense of superiority, “holier than thou” attitude, or simply failure to look oneself honestly in the mirror. Hours after the tragic events in Fort Hood, a former employee of a company was involved in an indiscriminate act of shooting resulting in murder and injury of innocent employees. No big questions were raised about his “religious” backgrounds, which church he might have been frequenting and how did the sermons of his pastors or minister might have motivated him to commit such a crime. What we heard is that he may have been deranged or bitter about the loss of his job or was under severe distress and “snapped”. Suppose that a deranged person shouted a Christian symbol such as “Hail Mary” before murdering others, what would be the rightful Christian response? A lot of decent Christians will say that he abused such a religious symbol; as such his action or his crime has nothing to do with the Christian faith. As a Muslim, I would certainly agree with their response.
Worst even is to blame Islam itself (a centuries-old universal faith) for everything that goes wrong with Muslims in violation of its own teachings. This is just as irrational and prejudicial as blaming the Christian faith for the Crusades, Inquisitions, and abortion clinic bombings. Or blaming for that matter Judaism as a faith for the crimes, including war crimes, committed by the Israelis in the brutal massacres of the Palestinian people especially in Gaza.
Important members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and their organizations have often claimed that they are America’s “best ambassadors” to the Muslim world. Yet, Dr. Badawi and other Brotherhood leaders have consistently and publicly said for many years that Muslims in the U.S. are held to “double standards” and the subject of s systematic campaign to deprive them of political enfranchisement. Dr. Badawi’s statement is perhaps the single most vociferous to date and comes at a time when U.S. and Western media would seem to be taking great pains to examine all possible motivations for the shooting.
Dr. Badawi is a leader in many of the most important organizations of the global Muslim Brotherhood including the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations (Canada), the Fiqh Council of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the European Council for Fatwa and Research. As previous posts have noted, recently released documents indicate that he was (and probably still is), a member of the leadership structure of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. He can be characterized as one of the leading ideologues of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and has traveled widely all over the world as a representative of the U.S. Muslim community.