Whenever a terrorist attack perpetrated by a “Muslim” occurs, a parallel message is relayed to Muslims in tandem with the information on the tragedies themselves: A terrorist attack happened (usually in a different part of the world) by people we have less than zero connection to. BUT – because we happen to share the same religion (on paper, anyway), all 1.6 billion of us are still somehow expected to immediately rise up and clearly apologize for and denounce events we have no connection to.
Some people find this whole “Muslims condemning things” to be excessive and prejudicial. But personally, I am aaaaall for it. Here’s why I totally think it’s legitimate, logical, and fair to ask all Muslims to condemn terrorism all of the time.
1. Because it’s only fair!
I mean, aren’t the requisite ethnicities/faiths always apologizing for a history of brutal colonization, slavery, native genocide, and imperialism that extended to almost every corner of the earth?
Are they not?
Well, maybe society doesn’t require them to apologize for these things cause like UGH, that was so long ago it doesn’t even count. Most people nowadays aren’t even connected to those events, except directly through their ancestors and privilege. And it’s not like Black, Native American, and Latino individuals still suffer from cripplingly unfair systematic and institutional racism, right?
Forgive and forget!
So how about more modern atrocities? Didn’t we demand all Christians denounce the Bosnian Genocide of 1992? Or the 6,000 people who have been ethnically cleansed by Christian militias in ongoing Central African Republic civil war? Well, how about something small fries – maybe just denounce Anders Breivik killing 77 people in 2011?
Oh, c’mon, didn’t we at least demand all white people – or at least men – denounce Timothy McVeigh, Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Dylann Roof, Elliot Rogers, Columbine, Christopher Harper-Mercer, Craig Hicks, Eric Rudolph, Wade Michael Page, or Robert Lewis Dear? How about all Americans apologizing for deaths of 1.2 million+ Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis in the War on Terror?
Naw? Hm, well that’s weird. OK, let’s just move on to the next point then.
2. It’s only a matter of time before it’s culturally appropriated, right?
If there’s one thing that Westerners love to do, it’s to take elements of other cultures and adopt them into their own. Even Chris Columbus’ genocidal rolling through North America was initially intended to find spices n’ shit to appropriate into Europe. While some natives find this practice to be flattering and others offensive, it’s just a fact of life that elements of various international cultures are going to be co-opted by middle America, resulting in Vindaloo ketchup being sold at your local Wal-Mart. As seen below, turbans, Bantu knots, bindis, henna, rapping, and every single kind of traditional garb have not been spared, so why should condemning terrorism be any different?
Just give it some time guys. Based on precedent, it’s only a matter of time before we have a hijab-clad, bindi-wearing Iggy Azalea rapping heartfelt apologies for the Gulf War while assuming an overly complex yoga pose and eating biryani.
3. It obviously protects us from prejudice and backlash.
Sure, hate crimes against Muslims spike dramatically following any terrorist incident; there were 15 hate crimes against Muslims in the mere 48 hours following the Charlie Hedbo attacks, there has been a 500% increase in physical and 100% increase in verbal assault against Muslims in France alone in 2015 (including a brutal stabbing murder) and Islamophobic hate crimes increased by 300% in the U.K. And let’s not even get into the fact that hate crimes against Muslims saw “an unprecedented spike” following the Paris attacks (here’s a running list of hate crimes).
The important thing to remember here is that there’s 1.6 billion of us, so without the condemning, it could have been a lot worse for all we know, right? Perspective, people!
3. It’s very helpful from a PR standpoint.
Any time there’s a terrorist attack committed “In the name of Islam,” Muslim organizations and leaders are on top of it: For instance, condemnation of the recent Paris attacks from various organizations around the world were swift and clear, as were condemnations for the San Bernardino shootings. In fact, the condemnations were so universal that Even Hezbollah and Hamas condemned the attacks.
But I guess because the website Google.com is just really obscure/difficult to use, these statements fall on predominately deaf ears. According to interfaith activist Rabbi Marc Schneier, Muslims’ “responses are not being heard, barely registering in the public consciousness,” in the case of denouncing extremism. Guys, only 14 years have passed of constant, breathless condemning that goes mostly unnoticed…maybe we just need to keep practicing?
Better it falls on deaf ears than on no ears, so let’s keep chugging aimlessly along.
4. Because there is absolutely no power in suggestion.
When society asks Muslims to condemn terrorism, they are indirectly suggesting that not doing so means we support terrorism. And having to prove our humanity again and again doesn’t wear on us at all! It’s totally fine guys!
5. It really helps unity within our communities and nations as a whole.
Look, I’ve been in 5th grade, and I’ve seen “Mean Girls.” I know what’s up. In order for society to function properly, it’s like super important for each member to know exactly where our social standing is in relation to others.
When society feels entitled to have one group prove their humanity over and over and over and over while not requiring the same from others, it really bonds us together, doesn’t it? Nothing strengthens the ties between people like a good dose of hypocrisy with a reminder of a very stringent social hierarchy on the side.
6. Because it clearly, obviously, really deters terrorism.
“A random girl in Denver, Colorado denounced terrorism on her Facebook and Twitter?? Wallahi, call off my suicide mission!” – Every terrorist ever, amirite?
7. Because it is all about the comfort of others, which is obviously the most important thing at a time like this.
Making sure that the random casual racists from my undergrad courses know for SURE that I don’t support terrorism is of the utmost importance following terrorist attacks, especially given that I’ve not seen most of these people in over a decade, probably never will, and most of our post-collegiate interactions have involved passive aggressively disagreeing on the Black Lives Matter movement.
8. It is an oversimplification of a larger and very complex issue, and reductionism = second most important thing at a time like this.
Sure, you could delve into the history of the region and its instability and our culpability as Americans or how terrorists kill more Muslims than non-Muslims or how White males are actually more of a threat to the average American than jihadi terrorists.
OR you could simply conclude that terrorism is rooted in Islam, demand that 1.6 billion people denounce it to convince you otherwise, and then go back to Netflixing something really awesome and informative like Homeland.
Who doesn’t love a good binge-watch, especially when it so sexily demonizes an entire group?