Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"We need to acknowledge that there is a problem."

The following is excerpted from "King's Muslim Hearings Are No Witch Hunt" by American Muslim journalist Asra Q. Nomani, writing for the Daily Beast:
Far from being harassment, Rep. Peter King’s upcoming hearings are a chance for U.S. Muslims to acknowledge the local extremism that has caused some young men to go fight in Somalia, writes Asra Q. Nomani, herself a Muslim.

In recent days, Rep. Peter King has been accused of starting a “witch hunt” by holding hearings, starting this Thursday, called “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response.” As an American Muslim woman who has lived in this country for 42 years, I firmly believe the hearings on Muslim radicalization are not a witch hunt and King is no Joe McCarthy, the senator who led hearings on communism in America. Our worst enemies in America, I would argue, are Muslim interest groups and leaders, who do more to deny the problem than defeat it, thus furthering frustrations with the Muslim community. We need to acknowledge that there is a problem ....

In the years since [9/11], our community has launched obtuse PR campaigns that don’t address issues of radicalism head-on. We live in a culture of denial. Muslim communities, like so many, are largely shame-based societies, and they don’t take easily to admitting their problems. From my vantage point, we have to shake off the fear of shame and own the problems inside our community. In a sense, we need to be shameless. We have to realize that neither our community nor Islam has to be defined by criminals such as Maj. Nidal Hassan and Faisal Shahzad, but they will be if we don’t disavow these men and their ideologies. Muslim communities may have legitimate grievances about U.S. foreign policy, but those grievances, too often, become excuses for avoiding the ugly truths about radicalization in our communities.
Read more about Asra Q. Nomani here:
Walking the lonely road (The Hindu)
Woman-led Friday prayer sparks controversy in the US (Pakistan Times)
Muslim Woman's Prayer Causes Stir (CBSNews.Com)
Woman Leads Muslim Prayer Service in New York (New York Times)

Other stories by Nomani:
New Details About Daniel Pearl's Murder
Christian Mom Faces Execution in Pakistan
What Hogwarts Can Teach Muslims
Let These Women Pray!