Ever since 9/11, we’ve heard the hue and cry from various voices in this country that there needs to be much more of a public condemnation of that atrocity from Muslims. Especially the opinion-shaping influentials, whether they are religious or political leaders. Both American Muslims as well as those overseas, especially our “friends,” a number of whom pay fundamentalist protection money to stay in power.
We are yet to see such a massive outpouring of unequivocal condemnation. What we do get tends to come with qualifiers. Often with an undertone of moral equivalence. As in our innocent civilians had it coming because American foreign policy is too complicit with Israel.
It was, thus, with considerable interest did I note a letter in today’s St. Petersburg Times — from an Isam Sweilem — which was a response to a previous writer who had lamented that not enough Muslims were condemning terrorism.
Mr. Sweilem took umbrage at the allegation and “as a Muslim, as an Arab and as an American” then obliged. He condemned those who “benefited from the attacks on the World Trade Center,” as well as the anti-Chechen Russian government, Saddam Hussein and the “daily terror perpetrated against Palestinians.”
He then condemns those “who would use him (Saddam Hussein) as an excuse to attack and kill thousands of innocent people for their own gain.” F-16’s and Apache helicopters are also found condemnable, as are the “detention and imprisonment of the innocent.”
What is missing, however, is a condemnable omission. Nowhere does it condemn those who specifically, intentionally and horrifically target civilians, including children. Especially homicidal, suicide bombers. How did such evil, egregious acts not make Sweilem’s short list?
Also noteworthy was the context of his condemnations: “as a Muslim, as an Arab and as an American.”
In that order.