Arabs shouldn't have to apologize
- Mansour El-Kikhia: Arabs shouldn't have to apologize
San Antonio Express-News
I am fed up with the ceaseless requests by columnists, religious
personalities and other American public figures for Arabs and Muslims
to apologize for terrorist acts committed by thugs and murderers in
the name of Islam.
As far as I am concerned, the final straw came a couple of weeks ago
when the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, paid for a
national advertisement repudiating terrorism in the name of Islam.
As soon as the advertisement was broadcast on America's media, I read
a column by one of the nation's most ardent Islam-phobic columnists,
Cal Thomas, now also a FOX News personality, which plowed into CAIR's
reconciliation efforts. Long before 9-11, Thomas' writings were full
of venom for Arabs and Muslims. He represents a despicable and
ignorant attitude that, unfortunately, a sizable segment of America
has come to share. There is nothing American Muslims can do to satisfy
this group short of packing up and leaving the United States.
I disagree with what CAIR did, and I also disagree with this groveling
and begging for forgiveness, as though American Arabs and Muslims are
responsible for those atrocities. CAIR knows better, and those running
it know that Islam rejects all acts of violence outside self-defense.
Arab and Muslim Americans are responsible for neither the twin towers
nor the London subway bombings, and as Americans they should never
accept responsibility for actions they did not instigate, commit or
Furthermore, in spite of the fact they are constantly condemned for
one thing or another, they â" like other Americans â" are victims of
these murderers. Does anyone think they are pleased to have their
movements and telephone conversations monitored or that coercive and
freedom-depriving laws are tailored for them? Does anyone in his or
her right mind really believe that being an Arab American or a Muslim
is pleasant in America today?
The United States has lost 3,000 souls to terrorist thugs, but that
figure is miniscule compared to the 60,000 Algerians or the 25,000
Iraqis who also have died at their hands. These thugs don't
differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim, Arab and non-Arab when
they plant a bomb or enter a village at night and murder everyone.
It is rejection of U.S. and British policies in the Middle East, not
Islam, that has promoted terrorism against America. And for the
benefits of those who do not know, 95 percent of Middle Easterners are
Muslims. Hence, it is only natural that those opposing the United
States and Britain in the region would be Muslims. In India, they
would have been Hindu; in Latin America or Northern Ireland, they
would have been Catholic.
More important, it was the British and the United States that drew
first blood. The Middle East didn't come to America or go to Britain;
rather, America and Britain went to the Middle East. Both powers used
and abused regimes, toppling some and keeping others in power. They
never thought that the people they were helping suppress were human
beings with needs, beliefs and emotions. They didn't care as long as
their interests were served.
America's experience in the Middle East is no different from its
Southeast Asia stint, and look at the mess it left in that region.
However, while the calamity of Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea might be
rationalized by the Cold War or even a domino theory, there is nothing
to rationalize the invasion of Iraq except ideological stupidity. The
United States illegally invaded and decimated a country that did not
threaten its security and, in the process, unleashed one of the most
vile and ruthless insurgencies the region has ever seen. And as it did
in Vietnam, when the going got tough, it is planning to pull out. The
result will be a protracted instability and turmoil that no country in
the region can escape.
Future turmoil in the region is exactly what the instigators of the
Iraq invasion have planned all along. They had made their desire for
strife in the Middle East known long before the invasion of Iraq. Yet
they underestimated the consequences of their lunacy and set into
motion processes and events that will make the United States less
secure and threaten the lives of Americans for many years to come.
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