20 October 2002
Islam as ventriloquist's dummy
Jamil Sayah, writing in Le Monde, finds that more-militant Muslims are arrogating to themselves the right to speak for all Islam: "[a] ventriloquist Islam which speaks through our mouth so that they make it say [both] one thing and its contrary," he asserts. Most of the proffered excuses for terrorism simply don't wash:
Well if so many precedents militate against terrorism, how come Islam remains one of the last civilizations to produce Bin Ladens, regularly and on a large scale? Our numbers? Are we more numerous than the Chinese? Poverty? Africa is far poorer. Imperialism? Latin America, having suffered a far more oppressive American domination, produced sympathetic heroes. Palestine? Who can honestly predict that terrorism will come to an end with the peaceful resolution of the conflict?
Cinderella Bloggerfeller, who posted the original English translation (and whose title I swiped), points out that this is further evidence that "there are some voices in the Islamic world calling for a long, hard look at what really causes Muslim fundamentalist terror." It's no longer enough to point at the Americans or at the Jews or at McDonald's. The militants will get the bulk of the news coverage because that's part of what militants are trained to do. But in a war on Islamic extremism, we can ask for no better allies than non-extremist Muslims, who care enough about their religion to oppose those who would make it into a weapon. There don't seem to be a lot of them at the moment, but I believe that as we keep the pressure on, their numbers will inevitably grow.