Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Where are the Responsible Islamic Leaders?

Arizona Central:
With a barrage of suicide bombings racking Iraq, London and, now, the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, the grating, difficult questions that have gnawed at Western society since the advent of radical Islamofascism are back:
Where are the responsible Islamic leaders?

Where are the imams condemning the murderers who have hijacked their religion?

Why are the mosques not ringing with condemnation of al-Qaida?
Erupting in frustration over the weekend, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told CNN that mosques are effectively enabling terrorism by failing to take a hard line objecting to its spread.

"I think until the mosques in the Muslim world and the imams in the Muslim world in a major way issue fatwa after fatwa denouncing jihad and denouncing terror that we're not going to make any progress," Feinstein said. READ MORE

Plenty of responsible Islamic leaders would take strong issue with the conclusions of Feinstein and others who criticize the "silence" of Muslim religious leaders. One such leader, in fact, Dr. Arif Kazmi of Chandler, does so in a letter to the editor today on this page. As he notes, Kazmi has organized a rally in Tempe for Friday. It is our fervent hope that the Valley's imams join him and lash out unmercifully against the men who kill in the name of their religion.

For their efforts to decry the destructiveness of radical Islamists, such Muslim leaders as Kazmi and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, another Arizona physician who has organized rallies in Phoenix against terror, can be described only as brave. But that, indeed, is part of the problem. They must be brave because there remain far too many Muslim hearts and minds aligned against them. A survey of British Muslims conducted after the July 7 attacks in London for the Daily Telegraph newspaper pointed to distressing results.When asked whether they had sympathy with the feelings and motives of the four British Muslim bombers, 13 percent of respondents said they had a lot of sympathy. An additional 11 percent said they felt a little sympathy for them.

If accurate, one in four British Muslims feels at least some kinship with the men who killed 56 people in London. Too many Muslims in London are not getting the message that the carnage visited on that city's mass-transit system is evil. It shouldn't be this way, of course. Another London poll taken for the Sun newspaper indicated that 91 percent of Muslim respondents do not feel that suicide bombings are justified by the Quran, the Islamic holy book.

Religious leaders of Islam could provide their faithful with no more vital message than to instruct them, in no uncertain terms, that Islam indeed does not countenance such violence. It is not as though Muslims are an unwilling audience. On Sunday, 1,000 Egyptians, many of them hotel workers, marched against the bombings at the Red Sea resort, chanting that "terrorism is the enemy of God." And an Islamist call in Pakistan against a nationwide crackdown on militants fell flat, drawing a handful of protesters. Hopeful signs. If, as Kazmi says, the media have failed to cover the Muslim outcry against violence, then there is but one response to that failure.

Cry out louder.

And more fervently, until no one, including the killers, can miss the message.