Opinion: Dishonest denial



By Elie Dvorin

For two straight weeks, I’ve taken a verbal beating for acknowledging what we see, but can’t say in our world of political correctness: The obvious link between terrorism and Islam cannot be ignored.

This is not to say Islam inherently promotes terrorism, but rather a significant number of people commit murder in the name of Islam. As a result, moderate Muslims must start taking a definitive and unequivocal stance against terrorism, a stance that has not been as vocal as it should be.

Yet despite this seemingly evident truth, people have strongly disagreed with me. I’ve received three different letters – all of which try to deny that a problem exists by changing the context of the debate.

The first type of letter is religious-based. It typically states “the Quran preaches non-violence” or some derivation of that argument. That might well be the case, but it still fails to address that too many Muslims either don’t subscribe to that interpretation or ignore that component of Islam altogether. Either way, Islamic terrorism still is running rampant globally. Those letters also accuse me of dishonestly depicting the religious tenets of Islam. Considering my column did not mention the Quran, Allah or any of the teachings of Islam, this seriously baffles me.

Personal experience letters also have been used to discredit my claims. These generally take the form of “I know plenty of good Muslims that never would commit acts of terrorism.” Had I argued that all Muslims were terrorists, those accounts would be sufficient. However, I made it clear that only a small percentage of Muslims do commit terrorist acts – yet this small percentage is significant enough to seriously threaten the security of the Western world.

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For the most part, I’d like to believe those who responded to my initial column with religious or personal letters did so with good intentions, even though they were misguided. On the other hand, those who couldn’t rationally deal with harsh criticism of terrorism discredited their message.

Instead of taking a moment to reflect and ask, “What can I or the people of my faith do to condemn terrorism and prevent this perverted, militant view of Islam from spreading,” they took the cowardly path of denial and character assassination. I was called a bigot, a chauvinist, a radical, a Nazi, an extremist and an ethnocentrist – and those are the printable ones.

The logic behind this approach is that if they can convince enough people that the rationale behind my column is rooted in racism and bigotry as opposed to good will, they have no reason to address the content. For a lot of these readers, my column hit too close to home, and it was frightening. People are perfectly happy condoning terrorism if it’s used against the right people (U.S. citizens, Israelis, etc.). Their justification is rooted in “the United States’ occupation of Iraq” or “the poor treatment of Palestinians on the West Bank.”

This group of terrorist sympathizers doesn’t want to be forced to take a definitive stance against terrorism, which is why instead of taking the moral high ground and denouncing all terrorism, they called me racist. Sometimes, it’s easier to level those charges when they’re supported by a plethora of random organizations unwilling to directly address the important issues at hand, as was the case last week. If a passionate desire to rid the world of terrorism is defined as racist, then I’m as racist as they come.

In my previous column, I said: “Enough atrocities have been committed in the name of Islam for people to now ask hard-pressing questions without being labeled a bigot.” To those that demonize me for addressing this issue, I ask you: How many more people must die in the name of Islam before the moderate Muslim community takes action? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m afraid by the time this column makes it to print, a few more will be added to that list.

Elie Dvorin is a junior in LAS. His column runs Thursday. He can be reached at [email protected].