Friday, September 01, 2006

Western Muslims: Finally Ready to Help Fight Terrorists?

From the Associated Press:
After the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings, distraught U.S. Muslim leaders feared the next casualty would be their religion.
Islam teaches peace, they told anyone who would listen in news conferences, at interfaith services and, most famously, standing in a mosque with President Bush.

But five years later, the target audience for their pleas has shifted. Now the faith's American leaders are starting to warn fellow Muslims about a threat from within.
Five freakin' years? Well, better late than never, I suppose.
The 2005 subway attacks in London that investigators say were committed by British-born and -raised Muslims, and the relentless Muslim-engineered sectarian assaults on Iraqi civilians, are among the events that have convinced some U.S. Muslims to change focus.
The nineteen Muslims who perpetrated 9/11 didn't convince them? And only some are convinced? What will it take to convince the others, a jihadi smithereen commando reciting the Shahada in front of them before blowing up an orphanage?
Muslim leaders point to two stark examples of the new mind-set:

_A Canadian-born Muslim man worked with police for months investigating a group of Islamic men and youths accused in June of plotting terrorist attacks in Ontario. Mubin Shaikh said he feared any violence would ultimately hurt Islam and Canadian Muslims.

_In England, it's been widely reported that a tip from a British Muslim helped lead investigators to uncover what they said was a plan by homegrown extremists to use liquid explosives to destroy U.S.-bound planes.
A good start, but even these informants have critics among "moderate" Muslims:
Safiyyah Ally, a graduate student in political science at the University of Toronto, wrote recently on that Shaikh, the Canadian informer, went too far.

She said the North American Muslim community "is fragile enough as is" without members "spying" on each other. Leaders should counsel Muslims against violence and report suspicious activity to police _ but nothing more, she argued.

"We cannot have communities wherein individuals are paranoid of each other and turned against one another," Ally wrote.
Here's a clue, Safiyyah, if one of your brethren is planning to commit mass murder in the name of Islam he's already turned against you.
Yet some leaders say keeping watch for extremists protects all Muslims and their civil rights.

Salam al-Marayati, executive director of Muslim Public Affairs Council, an advocacy group based in Los Angeles, says working closely with authorities underscores that Muslims are not outsiders to be feared. It also gives Muslims a way to directly air their concerns about how they're treated by the government.
This guy has a clue. It's just too bad that it's taken five years for this really basic idea to start sinking into the consciousness of the Muslim community.