Reading the Al-Jazeera article on “Muslims Tackle Looters and Bigots” (1) suggests so much about the difficult situation that many Muslims in Western countries appear to be in.
Whenever a national, ethnic or religious group is discriminated against, their situation will often give rise to a range of different responses from them and from those who discriminate against them. Leaving aside what the actual situation of both groups may be, both enter a mental and emotional territory where reactions can be heightened or exaggerated, leave off having an actual basis or foothold in reality, and so on.
Many times in history, the response of the discriminating group was to characterize the original situation and the growing problems that resulted as being associated with the group the wider society was discriminating against: thus we heard of the Jewish Question or the Jewish Problem at the turn of the twentieth century, or the Asiatic Problem, Sikh Question or “Hindoo” Problem (as it was often called then), etc., although the problems so discussed did not originate with the religious or ethnic group in question, but with the wider society that was discriminating against them.
The more discrimination occurs, the harder it becomes to eventually restore relations to balance, fairness, and mutual respect. However no campaign of discrimination or persecution has ever succeeded or will ever succeed on Earth and so sooner or later the ones discriminating or persecuting face eventual defeat and the need for making amends and reconciling themselves with their victims.
I’d like to make some very tentative remarks about the current situation of Muslims in English-speaking Western countries. I say “tentative” because I don’t make claims to knowing these situations in depth and am for the greatest part speculating or going from historical knowledge rather than present-day knowledge.
The main thrust towards contemporary vilification of Muslims appears to have come about as the result of the “association” of Muslims with two “terrorist” episodes: 9/11 and the London bombings. Muslims have been painted as terrorists, ready to die for Islam and to take everyone around them, if necessary, down with them, etc.
In fact, the truth of the matter appears to be that Muslims were not responsible for either episode. The September 11 attacks were orchestrated by a shadowy group suspected of containing many of the Bush cabinet, the CIA black ops unit, MOSSAD, Northern Command and NORAD, government and civil service officials in federal and New York City positions, and high officials in many companies from security firms to banks.
The London bombings were thought to have been caused by a similar range of British officials, with the addition I would expect (I don’t know) of MI5 and different military units.
Both attacks were blamed on Muslims; neither attacks can actually be plausibly traced to them. Any amount of investigation reveals the insuperable obstacles in the path of holding the official story together. But, regardless of that, most of the American and British populations have bought into the allegations and regard Muslims with suspicion and mistrust.
One upshot of this situation is that Muslims themselves, who may not know the truth of the situation any more than any other segment of the population, can respond from a number of heightened postures. Some may feel they need to prove their patriotism and virtue. Others may feel stung and resentful against the way they are portrayed and regarded. Others may feel their situation hopeless and actually take to acting out against the social order that they feel despises them, which can make the false attribution of terrorism to Muslims a self-fulfilling prophecy for some.
Meanwhile, the non-Muslim population is regularly whipped up by the same people who engineered the attacks in the first place. In the United States, terror alerts, TSA groping, regular news analyses focused on terrorism, and a wide range of other strategies and tactics continue to feed the fire of anti-Muslim sentiment and the population responds by campaigns against Muslim centers, support for anti-terrorism legislation, agencies, and wars, etc. I would expect that Britain has its own version of these strategies as well.
Both sides move more and more into heated ways of responding to life that increase the difficulty of re-establishing amicable relations in society.
That is not to say that real issues don’t exist that need actual responses. Some of the practices that go on in societies whose populations are heavily Muslim (but also heavily populated by other groups as well), such as honor killings, female genital mutilations, stonings, dowry deaths, and the subjugation of women will never be accepted by western societies.
I’m not trying to say that the Muslim populations in Western countries wholeheartedly support these practices either. Many would resist those who tried to introduce them into Western society. I’m not trying myself to exaggerate or overlook any situation. Nor am I saying that this is somehow a “complete” look at the situation; I’m sure it’s not. I don’t want to be blind to any situation or any aspect of a situation in the name of addressing a cause. The truth alone will free; exaggeration or partial truth of any kind will not.
What I am trying to say is that we have our work cut out for us in re-establishing friendly relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Western societies and it’s work that I wish we were beginning now, rather than in some distant future. To those truthseekers who feel that the quest for truth around 9/11 and the London bombings is an unpromising, uphill battle, I’d like to infuse them with the inspiration that may come from remembering that the establishment of the truth will go far towards righting relations between Muslims and those who at present accuse them of being responsible for the attacks.
I’d also like to see, on this tenth anniversary of 9/11, a significant component of 9/11 truth be the establishment of the truth about the innocence of the Muslim population in regard to those events.
If we are here to serve others rather than our own self-interests, I can think of no better gift to our Muslim brothers and sisters than working to prove that they had no role as a religious or an ethnic group in those tragic events.
Once we’ve destroyed the stereotype of the Muslim “terrorist” and settled responsibility for those events where it belongs, we’ll have made a tremendous stride, I think, towards righting the wrong that we’ve perpetrated, whether knowingly or not, against Muslims.