We all are familiar with Islamic groups (prominent ones of which shall remain nameless) that only pretend to be dedicated to constructive action in these United states, and of course it is no mere coincidence that the terms “jihadist” and “terrorist” are virtually synonymous, with millions of Muslims worldwide in the thrall of virulently and often violently anti-Western, anti-Christian, doctrines that actually celebrate the wanton murder of those they see as infidels. We all know that the existence of that strain of Islam is an incontrovertible fact. Meanwhile, as an avid supporter of the state of Israel, I myself am not in the least bit sympathetic to those peoples, mostly Islamic, who refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist and who rain rockets and terror onto Israeli lands and people.
For the second time in the past month, though, I am moved to remind people that not all Muslims feel and act this way. Some, like Salam al-Maryati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who was one of about nine people on a visit to Guantanamo that I made in 2007, are patriotic Americans. Salam had an excellent essay the other day at the Huffington Post. I don’t agree with every word or every sentiment, certainly, but the overall tone is admirable, obviously heartfelt, and constructive. Do read it. Here’s an excerpt:
“America is our home, and it is our country to defend. It is in our hands to define who we are….Unless we clearly define who we are to the rest of America, the pre-existing vacuum will be filled with the only image available to the public: a Muslim American member of the U.S. military gunning down other soldiers on American soil…The loss was our loss. Those Americans who were killed at Fort Hood dedicated their lives to defend our democracy.” And this: “We have only one option available to deal with ideologically motivated violence: the Islamic theology of life must overcome the cult of death.”
Voices like Salam’s need to be heard more loudly and more regularly. They are welcomed, and should be made to feel welcome. And they surely are far more numerous than we ordinarily may recognize. Whatever political differences we may (or may not) have with Salam, we should tip our hat to him for such an essay. May peace be with us all.
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