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Home > Secteur-English > General > The Deafening Silence of American Muslims.

The Deafening Silence of American Muslims.

Jews and Muslims are not perfect. Moreover, it is obvious that there are immutable difference between them. But something has gone terribly wrong when Muslims from Pakistan can attack Jews who are praying at a synagogue in West Jerusalem, killing 4 of them, and ne’er a Muslim in the United States expresses her or his disapproval of such a horrendous act of evil. This is an instance of what is known as deafening silence. And let me repeat : I am under no delusion that Jews are always right and Muslims are always wrong. I think no such thing about either group.

I shall not use the reality of Pakistani Muslims attacking Jews who are praying as an excuse to be angry at all Muslims. I have taught and I am now teaching Muslim students. Indeed, I have admired numerous Muslim students whom I have taught. And I have no intentions whatsoever of becoming hostile or wrongly treating any Muslim, be they students or not.

But the moral posture on my part that I have just described has no bearing whatsoever on the point that I am generally making, namely that there is deafening silence on the part Muslims in America. A Google search does not seem to turn up any reaction on the part of American Muslim of the truly horrendous behavior of the Pakistani Muslims in killing Jews praying.

And this ever so mightily raises the issue of basic moral trust. It is probably ever so reasonable to say that Jews and Muslims (mentioned in alphabetical order) will never see eye-to-eye about how land should be parsed out in Israel. But that truth is compatible with another truth, namely that some forms of behavior are utterly despicable notwithstanding the disagreement between Jews and Muslims regarding the parsing of land in Israel.

If being a committed Muslim means that it is utterly unacceptable to criticize another Muslim no matter how despicable the behavior of that other Muslim turns out to be, then Islam has a truly warped view of what it means to be committed to Islam. It is surely possible to respect a person’s commitment to her or his religion and nonetheless regarding that person’s behavior in a specific instance as entirely unacceptable. I would spit in the face of a Jew who took an innocent Muslim infant and killed that infant in the name of getting even the wrong that some Muslims committed. The point here is very simple, being a devout Christian or Jew or Muslim does not excuse any harm that such an individual might do to a person who belongs to one of the other religious traditions.

I take it as a given that Muslims would be furious if any person, whatever the person’s religious commitment might be, if that person walked into a mosque and killed several Muslims who were praying. In this instance, surely what is known as the Golden Rule is ever so applicable.

Of course, I fully understand that Muslims in the United States are not fighting the horrendous war that is going on the Middle East between Jews and Muslims. And I fully respect the faithfulness of anyone to her or his religious tradition. But faithfulness is ever so morally bankrupt if it is not permissible to express moral outrage over what unequivocally morally despicable behavior, as is surely the case with killing Jews who are engaged in morning prayers.

In effect, the silence of Muslims in America with respect to such an evil instance of behavior amounts to none other than a form of moral approval of the evil behavior. Indeed, the silence of any religious group in the face of its members engaging in such evil behavior would be a form of moral approval of that evil behavior. Muslims are not the exception to that principle. Jews are not the exception to that principle. Christians are not the exception to that principle.

There need not be complete agreement between groups in order for there to be basic and solid trust between them. But it is utterly indefensible for any group to think that it is morally acceptable to kill the members of another group who simply in the midst of saying basic prayers. That entails have a level of moral callousness that can only be properly described as being the handmaiden of evil.

© Laurence Thomas

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