Thursday, December 22, 2005

The state of the debate in the American Muslim community

An interesting article on tcsdaily today. Stephen Schwartz, who has written quite a bit on the American Muslim community, presents a piece on "Why American Muslims Stay Silent" in the face of Islamic extremism.

His answer might surprise you. It certainly did me. Schwartz says the American and British Muslim communities are more dominated by Saudi- and Pakistani-influenced extremists than many Islamic nations in the Middle East.

His primary culprit is something he calls the "Wahhabi Lobby" (catchy, ain't it?), primarily consisting of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is backed by donations from Saudi Arabia as well as the noted humanitarians organization Hamas. CAIR is often in the thick of any conflict regarding "Islamic sensitivities" in the US, crying foul whenever Muslims are portrayed in a less-than-flattering light.

CAIR is also, Schwartz says, active in shouting down moderate Islamic voices in the US. They are quick to pounce on Muslims who speak in conciliatory terms or who urge moderation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or other Muslim-world hotspots.

It's this pressure, says Schwartz, that keeps moderate Muslims from speaking out in the West and which, in my opinion, furthers the image of the Islamic faith as one of extremism and intolerance.

It's thought provoking reading. I encourage you to check it out.

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