Approaching Muslims about terrorism

April 16, 2008 at 11:09 am (Islam, Islamism, World War III)

Marianne commented:

the average muslim goes by what they are told…….TV…internet….they do not religiously study the quran….although they have some idea what it says…they just go about their daily lives…..

their TV is awful….lots of propaganda….

the internet is not always friendly towards them, so they develop animosity that way too.

people have to be honest..but they need to stay in balance…and not condemn everyone for what the terrorists are doing….their religion teaches this..but the average muslim does not care …he wants to be accepted…criticism will drive them toward the terrorists it is really complicated.

Reformatted, I’d like to emphasize one point made: “And not condemn everyone for what the terrorists are doing. Their religion teaches this, but the average Muslim does not care.”

It cannot be denied that extremism (and perhaps even terrorism) may be justified by the fundamental sources of Islam. But this does not mean we should confront every Muslim because of it. Most don’t care for such an interpretation; many oppose such interpretations (although based mainly on gut feeling rather than based on the fundamental sources); and very many are thoroughly embarrassed by the extremists. Many Muslims want to move ahead and forward in the modern world, and resent being dragged down by extremists and fundamentalists.

In this case, we have to be strategic about discussing Islam and extremism or terrorism with Muslims. It will not serve us to constantly harp on what is obviously true. We can win much of Muslims’ trust by assuring them that we will not blame terrorism on them personally.



  1. Kevin said,

    I would like to speak with one who is embarrassed by the extremists. How would I meet one? How would I tell the difference?

  2. Old Iron said,

    Or you could try what seemed to keep extremism out of the people and environments I dealt with in the U.A.E. (I lived there for a year); give all walks of life access to commercialism and actively support capitalism. It becomes a tool for communication. An example:

    I was in one of the souks (sp?) about two years ago and walked into a knock-off watch shop that I had been to a few times. My interpreter was with me at the time as well and we started to look around, but first thing I noticed was that the two guys behind the counter had been having a fairly animated conversation,only to inturrupt it to “My friend, my friend, you buy” -me to death. I did eventually get a couple of watches after haggling them until “you are taking food from my 12 children’s mouth!” -was said (I am NOT lying) and as my interpreter and I were leaving the shop the two owners started their conversation back up.

    A few steps out of the store my interpreter decided that it was time that I knew what the guys had been talking about. Apparently the conversation was over what the local Imam had said of commiting global jihad against the unbelievers, the Westerners …i.e. ME. The conversation as I was told had taken on the classic protagonist / antagonist format, with one for and one against, but it was halted after we had walked in. Hearing this I was a little nervous, but Assad (the interpreter’s name, I just remembered) started laughing.
    “What’s so damned funny Assad?”

    “There is no need to worry sir. As we were walking out the on turned to the other and said ‘See? If that person that I was to commit jihad on had not been in this shop we would have had no sales for the day!”

    I’m telling ya that the best way to level the playing field to talk about extremism (or to invalidate it) is to introduce money into the equation. Now I am not saying that you need to pay people off in order to fight muslim extremism, but from my experience Jihad will never get in the way of a Muslim’s ability to turn an honest buck.

    -Just sayin’

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