Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mr. Awad’s Take

Written : Jan. 19, 2010

”It’s in our best interests… We have to do all we can to assure the Muslim world that the War on Terror is not a war on Islam.” Who said it? The quote can be attributed to Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. While I don’t agree with everything he says, Awad carefully walks a tightrope during his public appearances. He’s an astute politician, and he’s one of the world's best modern diplomats. He avoids being a target of the extremists while stoically explaining moderate American Muslim thought. For the most part, I admire his approach. And, I admire him - while maintaining a healthy skepticism.

It’s interesting to hear Awad’s analysis of America’s reaction to the Christmas Day "underwear bomber" on the international flight bound for Detroit. He says we (and he means “we”, as in we Americans) overreacted, giving Al Qaeda what it wanted; a sort of panic. This came in the form of scrambling in the ensuing week when the Obama Administration made up ridiculous, impossible rules to follow and then rescinded them. Some of us on the right called – metaphorically, of course - for heads to roll, and Mr. Awad explained the terrorists liked that reaction, too. But, should we really care what the terrorists like or don’t like? Wouldn’t such empathy, cowering, and/or catering also appear to the terrorists as a victory they should savor?

Mr. Awad said we should profile, but not by race. Behavior is the key, I agree, but as several callers on the CSPAN show on Jan. 9, 2010 pointed out, most recent terrorists have been young Muslim men. Awad countered by saying it was mainly Caucasians who gunned down abortion doctors. I didn’t like his answer, but if you think about it, aren’t the results of such behaviors similar in nature to terrorism? Don’t they terrorize, too? Think of Columbine and church shootings and mall massacres. Still, Awad’s example was out of context, and doesn’t apply to the “War on Terror”.

Muslims are not heard condemning terrorism and terrorist groups enough in our media. I want to hear more of it, don’t you? Perhaps it would put them at some moderate risk, but speaking out against terror would also embody bravery, heroism, and express the right message. Regardless of how you feel about Islam or religion in general, it’s important to hear and consider the opinions of many.

You can read about Mr. Awad’s group at the home page of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In addition, a link to the very CSPAN segment with Mr. Awad I watched can still be found there. Just below the video area, click a few times on the pair of right-carets (>>) at the top-middle of the page at: CAIR


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