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.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.