Today's Topic



Response to
Abdal-Hakim Murad

Natalia J. Garland

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Perhaps the easiest way to access essays written by Abdal-Hakim Murad is to go to Masud Ahmed Khan's Homepage on the internet. There are several essays at this website, written by Muslim thinkers. Non-Muslims might find that these works deserve prime importance in attempting to understand the Muslim perspective on religion, terrorism, politics, and secular society. Murad, for example, has written on Islam as well as on topics such as "Diana and Dionysus," (an essay on the death of Princess Diana), and "A Muslim Perspective on the Trinity." The essay that I wish to discuss is "Recapturing Islam From the Terrorists."

Murad condemns the September 11th attacks. He states that terrorists are not Muslims, and that true Islam "has produced much of the world's most sensitive art, architecture and literature, and has a rich life of ethics, missionary work, and spirituality." Rather than killing innocent civilians, real Muslims prefer to "make friends of our neighbors." Murad compares Islam to Christianity in this respect. When extremist groups such as the Branch Davidians claim to act in accordance with Holy Scripture, mainstream Christian churches are quick to distinguish themselves and defend true Christian beliefs, values, and lifestyle. Murad encourages Muslims to find their voice and do likewise on behalf of true Islam.

Murad also asks that bewildering question: Why do people hate Americans enough to kill them? His personal answer, however, seems to be found in corporate America's monetary power and in American-Israeli foreign policy. Corporate America. Political America. Please take a look at the average American who is not geopolitical by nature.

A few years back I was fortunate enough to take a vacation to Egypt. This area is mostly Muslim, with a Coptic Orthodox minority. What I learned during this vacation is that the average Egyptian Muslim is very much like the average American Christian. They are trying to make a living, to survive, and to take care of their families. I found most Egyptians to be friendly and honest. The average Egyptian Muslim is not involved in terrorism any more than the average American Christian is involved in geopolitics.

If anyone hates Americans for geopolitical reasons, then they are really ignoring a greater reality: American art, literature, morality, and philanthropy which has been influenced in a positive way by Christian values and democratic ideals. The average American also needs to find a voice and claim back true Americana. It is because of our democratic foundation and equal opportunity that many others want to live in this country, including Muslims.

Murad continues, "The controls of two great vehicles, the State Department, and Islam, need to be reclaimed in the name of sanity and humanity. It is always hard to accept that good might come out of evil; but perhaps only a catastrophe on this scale, so desolating, and so seemingly hopeless, could provide the motive and space for such a reclamation." Christians and Muslims have much in common which was not so apparent before September 11th. The commonality is the preservation of family, community, and culture in the face of hatred. Theological differences might have to be set aside as a luxury which we presently are not able to afford.

United We Stand: hardworking Americans from all walks of life, also making friends of our neighbors. In the 1960's there used to be a slogan: Power to the People. It was this kind of grassroots empowerment that enabled the civil rights movement to succeed. Even in those days, however, there were extremists who would have interpreted that slogan to suit their anarchist tendencies. People do not need excuses to hate. They only need targets to take their hatred out on. It is up to us to recycle that grassroots energy and let the terrorists know they cannot destroy our highest values and ideals. (Written 04/15/02 - Revised 12/01/03: bibliography available.)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2002, 2003 Natalia J. Garland