Should we blame Islam?
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New York. Bali. Madrid. London. Sharm el-Sheikh. Each time, the victims are innocent civilians. Each time the bombers are Islamic radicals. Should we blame Islam?
Each time the bombers strike, we hear Islamic organizations cry out "Don't blame us! The deed was non-Islamic."
And fundamentalist imams still preach a message of hate in the mosques. Islamic charities raise funds in the mosque superficially for the poor, but mostly for weapons. Young people are still recruited by radicals in the mosque. And they are sent off to madrassahs where their lessons in memorizing the koran are interrupted only by messages fostering a sense of grievance, encouraging a hatred of the West, and recruiting for terrorist training camps.
Then, when the bombs explode, Islamic organizations proclaim "Islam is a religion of peace."
After the London bombings, Britain's leading Islamic organization issued a fatwa stating such action was un-Islamic. After! Not before. Not after New York. Not after Bali. Not after Madrid. No! The bombings had to reach Britain before they decided to say it was wrong. After the fact.
I accept that most Muslims in the West object to the actions of the few. They do not support mass murder of civilians. I do not think the Muslims living among us should be blamed for what has happened.
But, it is up to them to change things. It is up to them to replace the fundamentalists preaching hate in the mosques with more moderate imams. It is up to them to ensure that the Islamic charities that take their money are using it solely for charitable work. It is up to them to kick the radicals out of their mosques, out of their youth organizations. It is up to them to ensure their young are taught Islam by more reputable schools than the madrassahs of Pakistan.
I don't blame Islam. I do not blame the Muslims living among us. But if they expect us to accept that their religion is one of peace, then it is up to them to make it so.