By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Editor-in-Chief of The Muslim Observer
In the just-concluded Republican National Convention, the party nominee used the term Radical Islam three times without elaborating what that is. So far, most Muslims are silent. Muslim Republicans are either ignorant, confused or supportive of the statement. We have not heard many voices from these party loyal challenging McCain on the usage of this term.
McCainâ€™s statement is rooted in the presidential politics as he knows it more than anyone else that the people he is describing radicals were supported, financed and injected with the ideology of hate and violence in the name of freedom by none other than his ideal and idol Ronald Reagan during the Afghanistan-Soviet union War. At that time, they were called freedom fighters and liberators.
The main architect of mobilizing Muslim youth from all over the world was Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, Azzam Tamimi and many prominent Muslim organizations, who were given billions of dollars by our secret agencies secretly to prolong the war. Some reportedly went into the personal pockets of the middle men. At that time, it suited our national leaders to call them liberators. The propaganda that deafened our ears was so intense that we could not see anything beyond the smoke screen created around us.
Our national leadership basked in the glory of the Afghan war and celebrated the victory against the evil empire. Now, our national leadership is using the same people to serve another purpose. This time they are being used to create the Christian-Muslim divide and create fear among none other than their fellow citizens. So when McCain talks of Radical Islam, we feel that he wags his finger vaguely in the direction of all Muslims including American Muslims, and in fact at Islam in general.
The very fact that he uses the word Islam and Muslim before or after radicalism or extremism or terrorism suggest that his problem is with Islam and Muslims.
As one who claims to have as a spiritual guide the hateful evangelical leader who keeps on giving us different dates for the arrival of Jesus so that Jews could be annihilated, his feelings against Islam are well known. He may say whatever he chooses to say, but he cannot deny the fact that he is not willing to see Islam as a divine light helping millions to lead their life in an orderly manner. We wish we had a strong media presence in these campaigns so that we could ask questions seeking clarification on these issues.
Conspicuous is the silence of our Muslim leadership. We talk a lot about Islamophobia, yet we are not willing to take a stand against the Republican nominee or anyone who speaks like him. Is this not a time for Muslim leadership to come together and talk about it? Is this not an appropriate time for Muslims to develop a unified strategy to counter such a propaganda.
If Muslim organizations mobilize their interfaith resources, they can certainly organize a petition against this racial and religious bigotry. We should be confident in our ability to stand for our country and community. Some of us feel that since we are new immigrants, we may not have the same privileges or rights like others.
We should come out against this pessimistic view and take a stand on such matters. We should not allow McCain to get away with this nonsense. He should be challenged. We must ask Muslim Republicans to take a stand against this. They should ask party officials to say no to this bigotry. Otherwise, these attacks against Muslims will end later rather than sooner.