In my last blog post, I asked my Muslim readers some hard questions regarding the recent unrest in the Middle East: the killing of an American ambassador and others in Libya, the storming of U.S. embassies in Egypt and Yemen, and the week long wave of angry (and sometimes violent) protests which have now spread to more than 20 countries around the world.
I asked if these events – and others like them in the past – might play a significant role in “Islamophobia.”
Finally, I asked my Muslim readers to speak up regarding the violence and terrorism of those who call themselves Muslims but give a terrible image of Islam.
In this blog post, I think it is important to give needed balance. Mainstream American media generally only covers the extremists of the Muslim world. We see highly emotional videos and pictures of faces filled with hatred for America but our media gives precious little time to interview genuine Muslim peacemakers or show pictures like the ones shown here.
I think my non-Muslim readers need to see that there have been expressions of sorrow from the Muslim world regarding the loss of our ambassador and the 3 other fallen Americans.
I think my non-Muslim readers need to read expressions of love and gratitude from the Muslim world for the American people as well as strong condemnations of violence. Here are some of those expressions from Muslims in the Middle East as well as Muslims in America:
The President of Libya, Mohamed Magariaf
“We refuse that our nation’s lands be used for cowardice and revengeful acts. It is not a victory for God’s Sharia or his prophet for such disgusting acts to take place. . .We apologize to the United States, the people of America, and the entire world. We and the American government are standing on the same side, we stand on the same side against outlaws.”
Dr. Laila Bugaighis, Chair of the Libyan National Protection Against Violence Committee
“We the citizens of Benghazi denounce the barbaric actions of attacking diplomatic delegations of all countries, and above all, those of the countries that stood by us and helped us win our war against the terror of the previous regime. What happened in Benghazi yesterday is shamefully horrible, but should not be misinterpreted. There is never an excuse to barbaric action. Those who claim it was stirred by some silly movie that attacks the Prophet of Islam are just trying to find an excuse for selfish violence. . .Benghazi will never forget what the American Government did for us, and their humanitarian stand with the Libyan people is something that can only inspire gratitude.”
Aref Nayed, Former Ambassador of Libya to the UAE
“This is to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his fallen colleagues, and to the American people and government. I had the honor of personally knowing Ambassador Stevens. . .I am shocked and deeply anguished for the loss of a dear friend. . .It is outrageous and totally unacceptable for criminals to kill and destroy in the name of defending Islam and its Prophet. . . .”
The Islamic Networks Group
“Islamic Networks Group (ING) and its Affiliates across the nation condemn in the strongest possible terms the extremist attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya and Egypt on Tuesday, September 11th. . .As with previous instances of the Danish cartoons or Qur’an burning, it is important to emphasize that it is a greater defamation of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an to react with violence and murder of innocent people – one of the greatest sins in Islam – than any claimed insult from an Islamophobic film. Such extreme responses, in fact, can only help Islamophobic interests. Such actions and reactions are but a useless cycle of hate that benefit no one and as occurred yesterday, can be potentially dangerous and even deadly. ING and its Affiliates are committed to upholding the right to freedom of expression and unconditionally condemn any use of violence as a means to protest offensive or hateful speech. In the United States, this fundamental, inalienable right is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The answer to speech we find deeply offensive is more speech – speech that tells the true story of Islam – not censorship or violence.”
More of these kind of comments can be found at the website of The American Muslim (TAM) – http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslims-and-muslim-organizations-condemn-attacks-on-u.s.-embassies/0019348. This is their logo:
Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers” (The Holy Injil, The Gospel of Matthew 5:9).
May we who are Americans – particularly non-Muslims – receive these expressions of sorrow and love with open minds and grateful hearts. May we strive to be true “peacemakers.”