A few weeks ago, near-simultaneous sermons by two California imams included anti-Semitic rhetoric of the most murderous kind, some of which constituted direct calls to violence. Shireen Qudosi examines the response of Muslim Americans:
The war-mongering rhetoric of [these] imams was not a matter of slips of the tongue or offhand comments. Their rhetoric is the same packaged radical ideology churned out in madrassas, terror camps, and online extremist publications. These are calculated and crafted messages that appear to convey the assumption that [these imams’] religious authority will not be challenged. Their words were not indicative of American Islam or [Muslim Americans as a whole]. Within days of the sermons, [a group of liberal Muslim organizations] launched a petition against Imams Ammar Shahin and Mahmoud Harmoush, calling for their immediate termination. . . .
This silent refusal of many [other] Muslims to condemn [physical or rhetorical] attacks that are openly inspired by Islam does not come from [actual sympathy with these attacks], but from a fear of challenging religious authority or . . . of holding our own community accountable. [The truth is, most] Muslims are not worried about what Jews, Americans, or a new presidential administration will do. Many [instead] fear first and foremost . . . the ostracism and harassment they risk from within their own community if they express dissent. . . .
Within days, the petition received literally thousands of signatures. All it demanded was that those imams be fired. The truth is that the entire mosque board that defended and allowed these imams to speak at length, without interruption, should step down. Members of the so-called “interfaith community” also need to take a hard look at their own complicity. Partnering with Jew-haters is of no service to anyone—not Jews, not Christians, and not the Muslim community. There is also the larger issue of the ineffectiveness of many interfaith groups and their tendency to be used as props during public-relations disasters such as this one.
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