Muslims see double standard in ‘Terrorist’ label

OMAR SACIRBEY- April 6, 2010 from NewsOK


Pict. Source:

(RNS) When 19 Muslim men crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, it was widely labeled “Islamic terrorism,” even as many Muslims cringed at the term.

So when nine members of a Michigan-based Christian militia, fueled by visions of the apocalypse, laid plans to gun down police officers, is it “Christian terrorism?”

Many Muslims, and others, think it should be.

”In cases of violence committed by Muslims, when it’s politically motivated, yes, call it Muslim terrorism. But when other faiths or ideologies commit violence, it has to be the same,” said Alejandro Buetel, the government liaison officer for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington.

”We’re calling for consistency.”

Recent charges filed against the Michigan-based Hutaree militia are just the latest indication that terrorism is not unique to Islam, they say, and that other religious and ideological groups can commit violence for their cause.

Muslims aren’t alone in seeing a double standard in the way terrorism is linked to Islam but not often to Christianity or other religions.

”I understand their frustration,” said the Rev. Joel Hunter, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of Northland Church outside Orlando, Fla., who says the Hutaree militia gives the same bad name to Christianity as Osama bin Laden does to Islam.

”I can feel what Muslims feel when they watch those mischaracterizations of their faith, and wanting people to know that that’s not what their faith is about.”

The Hutaree militia isn’t the only group that has issued an ideological call to arms. After Congress passed health care reform in March, at least 10 House Democrats reported receiving death threats, incidents of vandalism, or harassment, presumably from conservative opponents. In February, a Texas man, Joseph Stack III, flew his small airplane into an IRS office building in Austin, killing himself and an office worker.

”Terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the faith, race or ethnicity of the perpetrator of the victims,” said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a statement that called on the U.S. government to condemn the Texas attack as terrorism. “If a Muslim had carried out the IRS attack, it would have surely been labeled an act of terrorism.”

Muslims complain that although they and their leaders have condemned terrorism countless times, some of their critics still accuse them of not condemning it strongly enough. Given the recent acts of Christian and conservative terrorism, Muslims leaders said it’s now up to Republicans and other conservative figures to condemn those acts.

”It’s fair enough to say, ‘Where do you stand on this?'” said Pamela Taylor, a Muslim activist in Cincinnati. Added Buetel, from MPAC:

“The inconsistency is politically irresponsible.”

Despite warnings about right-wing militias and the Hutaree arrests, many Muslims believe conservative figures —especially those who have embraced terminology like “Islamic terrorism” — have remained mostly silent on condemning right-wing violence.

Muslims point to the different labels used to describe Stack, the Texas man who flew his plane into the FBI office, and Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who’s accused of gunning down 13 people at Fort Hood. Both men showed signs of mental instability, and both had political and ideological motivations for their violence, but Muslims say many of the same people who were quick to call Hasan a “Muslim terrorist” preferred to call Stack “mentally ill.”

Muslim commentator Yasmin Mogahed, writing on, pointed out that after the Hutaree arrests, she saw no experts on TV exploring whether Christian doctrine condones violence, the same way experts often are invited to search the Quran for verses condoning violence.

”If there’s news of a Muslim terrorist, Islam becomes complicit in the crime. Yet few people are going to accuse Christianity of motivating the terrorism of the Hutaree militia,” she wrote.

Despite their grievances, most Muslims interviewed said they don’t want people to start using the term “Christian terrorism,” but prefer that no religious adjective precedes “terrorism.”

”There shouldn’t be any schadenfreude. That’s a selfish motivation that doesn’t serve the greater good,” said Taylor.

 “The idea of Christian terrorism is ludicrous, in terms of theology, just like the idea that Islamic theology is responsible for terrorism is also ludicrous.”


Even though other faiths are now exposed to the same association with violence that has dogged Islam in recent years, Muslims are keeping their expectations low that anything will change.

”Muslims are still ‘the other,’ and it’s easier to say Muslims are violent or prone to terrorism,” Taylor said.

“But Christianity is something very familiar to most people in America, and it’s hard for people to say ‘Christian terrorism.'”



Filed under America, Islamophobia

2 responses to “Muslims see double standard in ‘Terrorist’ label

  1. D.I.D.

    This is a dangerous game that the Western right-wing is playing. True, there are radicals in Muslim communities (albeit, they are a tiny minority) but this double-standard is the start of a slippery slope towards the loss of the freedom that Steyn and Co are so enthusiastic about.

    In their zeal to destroy the “terrorists”, the right wing has struck (and unnervingly, enjoys to strike at) the wrong targets. Listening to Geert Wilders talk about how the Netherlands should impose a “head rags tax” to discourage women from wearing religious attire makes me want to vomit; does this rube realize that many of these women want to be able to express their faith in this manner? Furthermore, I fail to see how this restriction is any morally better than the “infidel tax” that Wilders so fears.

    So rather than get to the root of the problem, which is that many Muslims hail from traumatized homelands and so will have a proportionately higher number of extremists, the right-wing gets its tights in a twist over something as harmless as the burka and hijab, and proceeds to villainize the entire Muslim community. Which will, inevitably, sow the seeds of domestic ethnic mistrust, something I wished that the West was over. Apparently not…

    How long will it be until this failure to strike at the real enemy degenerates into open and hostile discrimination? How long will it be until we repeat the mistakes of the past?

    In WWII, the ethnically Japanese citizens of Canada (and America and Australia, I believe) were rounded up, had their homes confiscated, and were placed in what were essentially POW camps for the “odious crime” of hailing from a nation that was currently an enemy. This was wrong and foolish, and yet many extreme right-wingers would like to see Muslims rounded up in a similar manner!

    Something needs to be done with the problem of extremists in Muslim communities (and any community, mind you…) but regressing towards how we treated the Japanese is moronic and ultimately will not do any good. We need to find out how to protect our societies without the use of something as divisive and destructive as ethnic profiling.

  2. Pingback: Islamophobia Rising! Heck Wake-up!!! « The Key To Power

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s