Save the Misunderstanders of Islam!
By Robert Spencer
Why don’t the leading Muslim groups in the United States care about Muslims?
It’s a serious question. Its urgency became clear yet again last week, when three more warriors of Allah got their just desserts: Tarek Mehanna, a young Muslim in Massachusetts, got seventeen and a half years in prison on Thursday for conspiring with jihadis to murder American soldiers in Iraq. The same day, Agron Hasbajrami, a Muslim who lives in Brooklyn, pled guilty to trying to aid terrorists and attempting to go to Pakistan to join them. And Jubair Ahmad, a twenty-four-year-old Muslim from Woodbridge, Virginia, was sentenced Friday to twelve years in prison for aiding Lashkar-e-Taiba, a jihad terrorist group in Pakistan. But these cases point up yet again an even larger problem: the denial and deception of Muslim spokesmen and organizations in the U.S.
Nowadays when fresh arrests, trials, guilty pleas and convictions of jihad terror plotters come down the pike, Muslim leaders and Islamic advocacy groups like the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) don’t even bother to issue condemnations. They don’t have to. After over ten years of constant propaganda from the mainstream media, government and law enforcement about how Islam is religion of peace and how anyone who commits violence in its name is misunderstanding and misusing its basic tenets, most Americans take for granted, if they hear about the likes of Tarek Mehanna, Jubair Ahmad and Agron Hasbajrami at all, that they are not true Muslims.
It is immediately assumed that the major Muslim organizations in this country, and all prominent Muslim public figures, reject and abhor the actions of any Muslim who commits violence in the name of Islam. Indeed, even now, over ten years after September 11, most Americans assume that the Qur’an teaches peace, and that if it contains any violent passages at all, well, so does the Bible. It is an official U.S. Government dogma, not to be questioned on pain of charges of “Islamophobia,” that any Muslim who invokes the violent passages of the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad’s battles to justify terrorism today is misinterpreting all that material, and that jihad terrorists worldwide are not really inspired by the Qur’an and Sunnah as they claim to be, but are driven to violence by poverty, racism, or “Islamophobia.”
This means that Tarek Mehanna, Agron Hasbajrami and Jubair Ahmad, and so many others like them, drastically misunderstand the religion to which they have dedicated their lives. Very well. If our present political and media elites force us to believe that Islam is a religion of peace, in the teeth of the evidence of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and the statements of countless imams around the world throughout history and today, then we have every right to call upon America’s Muslim advocacy groups to act upon these beliefs as well. If Mehanna, Hasbajrami and Ahmad really misunderstand Islam, Hamas-linked CAIR, which professes to be an advocacy group protecting U.S. Muslims, should care.
CAIR would show this concern by trying to keep more young Muslims in the U.S. from misunderstanding Islam the way Ahmad, Hasbajrami and Mehanna did.
But in reality, they demonstrate with every new jihad plot that they don’t really believe that Islam is a religion of peace at all, despite their claims to do so and vilification of anyone who dares suggest otherwise. All this misunderstanding of Islam is sending young Muslims to jail, and yet Muslim leaders and groups are doing nothing to keep more young Muslims from getting locked up. One would think that they would be more proactive in teaching against the misunderstandings of Islamic doctrine to which Mehanna, Ahmad and Hasbajrami succumbed. Yet there is nary a program in any mosque in the U.S. to teach against the jihadist understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah.
This is a fact to ponder. If Islam is a religion of peace and jihad terrorism is a misuse of its doctrine, then it is inexplicable. Why wouldn’t groups who profess to reject a doctrine that is leading so many of its young believers into crime teach against that doctrine and try to stop its spread within their communities? The fact that they don’t, however, indicates that they know, despite their public protestations, that Islam doesn’t actually teach peace at all, and that those who do violence in its name aren’t really misunderstanding its tenets.
It is long past time to call their bluff, and ask the leaders of Hamas-linked CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood groups in the U.S. why they have no compassion for poor misled Muslims like Jubair Ahmed, Agron Hasbajrami and Tarek Mehanna. Why don’t they do anything to save the Misunderstanders of Islam?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, will be available April 23.