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It has been some time since the tragic American Embassy bombing in Libya. We are now learning that this was probably an act of planned terrorism and not the random acts of an angry mob. I have heard speculation, but I have not heard that any particular terrorist group has claimed responsibility. I have also not heard a single report that anyone in the Muslim community of countries has condemned the attacks (Maybe there have been some that I haven't heard; I invite my readers to educate me).

As most of you know, this cowardly act of multiple murder was, supposedly, carried out in response to an anti-Islamic Internet movie. The film maker has proven to be a fraud; his professed identity has proven to be a sham and he has no connection to any particular, peace-seeking country. I believe that in the final analysis, he was from Egypt. If this was an act of planned terrorism, it may have had nothing to do with the movie. However, when the movie was sought to be an incentive for the bombing, United States representatives quickly responded that the movie was a despicable portrayal and its actors publicly indicated that they had no idea that they were making a film that mocked the Muslim religion or the Prophet Muhammed. Those were the only conciliatory statements that I have read of found in any reporting of this story; I have heard nothing in the way of conciliation or apology from the peaceful Muslim world community, which brings me to the point of this post.

Where are all of the peaceful members of the international and American Muslim communities? Why do they not condemn these and similar acts of terrorism in the name of Islam? Why do they allow the radical fringe of their community to speak for the vast majority of "peaceful" Muslims? Are they afraid? Or are they silently complicit? This failure to repudiate terrorism, to reject association or affiliation with terrorists, has bothered me for years. Timothy McVeigh was captured, tried, convicted and executed in the very country that produced him. Even though this is a free country, we didn't see mass quantities of people cheering for him and celebrating his actions. We immediately condemned him and his heinous actions. We then did what we do in America; we afforded him due process and when the system worked, we executed the bastard. His cowardly and murderous acts were repudiated by his country; the message was heard, loud and clear, throughout the world. America will not tolerate home-grown terrorists.

Is this true of the Muslim community of nations? I do not hear loud expression of repudiation of these terrorist acts. I do not hear apologies from the countries where terrorists originate and thrive. I do not see these countries hunting down terrorists or cracking down on them. I do not see citizens demanding that their governments stop condoning, and in some cases, sponsoring, terrorism and permitting all of our world's citizens live in peace.

I do not think that God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha or any other supreme religious being stands for intolerance, violence, or terrorism. I believe that religion was intended as a mechanism for peaceful co-existence, yet most, if not all, historic wars have been fought over religious or cultural differences. Does anyone honestly believe that the "Holy One", whatever your particular religion calls him (or her), meant for us to kill those who don't worship him (or her) the way you do? Whichever supreme being you believe in would not care about the ideology one chooses to worship; he (or she) would only care that one chooses to believe, worship, and stand for peace and justice for all mankind. Jesus, for instance, is known as the "Prince of Peace". What would he think about the things happening in the world today in the name of "religion"? The Prophet Muhammad stood for Salaam, "peace on you"; he indicated that Muslims will not enter paradise unless we are kind to one another and warmly say "Salaam" to each other when we meet. Does that sound like a prophet who condones terrorism? How would he feel to know that terrorist actors are invoking his name when they commit mass murder?

I have used a Martin Niemoller quotation in my previous writings. I have done so because it is such a powerful indictment of those who do not speak out against atrocities. Niemoller was a German theologian opposed to Hitler during the 30's and 40's.. He was eventually imprisoned by the Nazis for "not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement". He was confined for eight years before being released by the Allies in 1945 .The quote is limited to certain social and religious groups, but can be broadly applied to all types of silence in the face of oppression and tyranny. It goes like this:

First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

I have done so and I do so, here, because it is a powerful indictment of those who are politically, socially and religiously apathetic, those who stand around, saying and doing nothing while prejudice and atrocity happens around them. Are they as guilty as the actual perpetrators of violence? It is my sense that if terrorism was condemned, repudiated, and combated by the very community in whose name it is pursued, it would die a quick death. I will let you be the judge. My question is: Where are all the peaceful Muslims?

Mark M. Bello is CEO and General Counsel for Lawsuit Financial Corporation. He is actively blogs about legal issues and has written numerous articles for a variety of legal publications including the Legal Examiner and the Safety Report. He is a JusticePac member of the American Association for Justice, a sustaining and JusticePac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, an associate member of several other state TLA's, and a proud member of the Injury Board.


  1. Gravatar for S. McLaughlin

    Really? You have not heard any American Muslim or Society condemn the attacks or the other violent protests around the world? Please check the news. Two of the largest Islamic organisations in the US, CAIR and ISNA, spoke out. American Islamic scholars have spoken out, Muslim communities all over the US have spoken out. Every time something happens Americans ask why the Muslims do not speak up. They do, the media does not put them in prime-time or the front page, but statements are put out all the time. I think most of the time Americans ignore the statements to prove their own prejudices. Why don't you call a local Islamic Center or CAIR or ISNA and ask them before you attack people erroneously.

    The peaceful Muslims are out there. Violence makes the front page and sells papers not peaceful statements of condemnation.

  2. S: The post contains no "attack", no need to circle the wagons. Blaming the media is a tired response. And, clearly, I was speaking to other countries, not to America. I am aware of what formal American Muslim spokespeople have said and done. They were not the target of the post. Until Muslim nations around the globe condemn this abhorrent behavior and the governments it controls track down and punish the offenders instead of silently applauding them, these atrocities will continue to happen. The post is intended to invoke a constructive dialog, not to "attack". I am posing a question, not exhibiting a "prejudice". I support global human rights for all.

  3. Gravatar for joseph_c

    I read your article and it prompted me to question. So I went to Google, typed in "Muslims peaceful", and this was the fourth link on the first page. Your article was the first news link; congratulations on that! I also respect the way that your article provokes but does not insult.

    Blaming mainstream media for everything might be a cliche answer, but in this case it's accurate. It just takes using a search engine to find non-headline posts online.

    I would truly love to read what you want to say in response. You would certainly agree that this is an issue of cultural consciousness that needs to be addressed.

  4. Joseph: Thank you for the thoughtful comment and the link. "Enduring insult without retaliation" is exactly what I am talking about and looking for from the Muslim community. The Egyptian Mufti is to be commended for his public plea for tolerance of different, even insulting, points of view. His is the response of a civilized society and the start of sensible debate. I am pleased andthankful that you located this article. It is only one voice, but an important one, indeed. Nobody says that sensibilities should not be offended, but the rush to senseless violence, especially against innocent Americans who had nothing to do with the film in question is where behavior crosses the line from "protest" to "terrorism". And, of course, there is growing evidence that the initial heinous act was planned terrorism, not film protest. I still believe that organized, nationally sponsored, condemnation of terrorist activity is lacking, generally, in Muslim countries. I pray that more and more people of sensibility share in and join the Mufti's views. Thanks again for writing. Regards, Mark

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