Deacon Ian Punnett –
On November 30, 2014, when Pope Francis revealed he had told President Barack Obama, “… it would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn (terrorism), because this would help the majority of Muslim people,” it echoed a familiar refrain: Why don’t the “peaceful” Muslims condemn the actions of terrorists more often?
This ancient fallacy – “good” Muslims do not condemn the “bad” Muslims – and the implication that all Muslims are secretly rooting for the terrorists – has been going around for years. Other non-Muslims such as Sarah Palin, for example, also exploited this same prejudice during the debate over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” when she tweeted, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate (sic).” By the way, don’t bother looking up “refudiate,” just go with it.
Of course, in reality, the repudiation – or refutation, or whatever – of terrorism has been offered regularly by Muslim leaders and international Islamic organizations for decades. In the view of some, however, the routine should be (a) wake, (b) wash, (c) pray fajr, (d) publicly condemn terrorism from the nearest podium, and then (e) get some eggs. Sadly, public leaders such as the pope and Palin (God forgive me for this sentence so far) get a lot of publicity for condemning the supposed lack of condemnation from Muslims while remaining silent about all the times that “good” Muslims risk their lives to save others.
The most recent example is the unidentified Muslim woman who tipped Belgian police to the whereabouts of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the fugitives of last year’s Paris terrorist attacks. “It’s important the world knows that I am Muslim myself,” the woman told the press, “It’s important to me that people know what Abaaoud and the others did is not what Islam is teaching.” For the time being, she is in protective custody.
This is exactly the kind of leadership that Pope Francis was referring to when he said, “… this (condemnation) must come from the mouths of their leaders, from religious leaders, academic leaders, intellectuals and political leaders” – and yet, not a word from the Holy Father on this story. No tweet, no Facebook posting, no praise in the press for a life-saving informant that may have just signed her own death warrant.
Pope Francis, Sarah Palin, and anybody who demands that all Muslims account for the actions of fanatics and maniacs, are morally obligated to promote this anonymous woman’s actions publicly, at the very least. If you ask me, this Muslim in the crosshairs of ISIS would be much safer behind the walls of Vatican City or holed up in a luxury home in Wasilla, Alaska, surrounded by guns and reality TV show cameras. Try refudiating that, Sarah Palin.
In the end, we can only wonder: Why don’t the “peaceful” Christians promote the actions of Muslim fighters of terrorism more often?