February 26, 2020

Out of Context (Part 6) – The “All-Terrorists-are-Muslim” Myth

In Part 6 of the interview with Dallas-based Pastor Mike Baughman, Imam Omar Suleiman dispels the myth that all terrorists are Muslim, noting the huge disparity between the amount of media coverage given to the rare cases where perpetrators were actually Muslim and when they were not. He also explains that this biased media is quick to jump to conclusions when there is a Muslim name at a crime scene, discarding all nuances such as mental health, workplace issues, unstable families and a slew of other mitigating factors that are automatically afforded to other killers. This myth is also historically false, says Suleiman, explaining that the last century saw the killing of over 250 million people who were not killed in the name of Islam, or any other religion, but were killed in the name of fascism. The Quran explicitly states that whoever kills a soul, it’s as if he has killed all mankind and Prophet Muhammad urged his followers, in an authentic narration, never to wish to meet and enemy in battle. That said, once a battle becomes inevitable, Islam says that there is glory in dying to defend a just cause, just as it is glorious to die for one’s country. But this never included the killing of innocents. Statistically less than two percent of Muslims are radicalized and according to one study, in the U.S., since 9/11 43 people have been killed in the name of Islam while double this number have been victims of white supremacist. Why is that not terrorism? Suleiman concludes that we must look at this entire situation through a comprehensive lens because those who are radicalized don’t live in healthy contexts then suddenly start reading the Quran and become terrorists. When places like Iraq and Syria break down politically and economically, they become breeding grounds for extremist thought and fertile soil for mercenary terrorist groups like ISIS to recruit. It is essential that Muslims in the U.S. be given the outlet to hold the government accountable for its foreign policy decisions and not to fall into a 21st century McCarthyism where those who voice any criticism are ostracized and silenced with fear and accusations of being unpatriotic. Political rhetoric to the effect that we are at war with Islam must also stop because it feeds into ISIS propaganda that Islam and America are not compatible, an appealing recruitment message to those with serious political grievances.

Omar Suleiman

Spirituality and Da‘wah Specialist. President, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. Co-Creator, “Inspiration Series”. Founder, Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs. Resident Scholar, Valley Ranch Islamic Center. Co-Chair, Faith Forward Dallas. Bachelor’s in Islamic Law. Master’s in Islamic Finance. Master’s in Political History. Completing PhD in Islamic Thought and Civilization.

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