11 December 2009

Islamic Extremists

This is a comment about the 5 missing U.S. Muslims who were found in Pakistan. This comes in after other stories about Muslims committing acts of "terrorism" (in quotes since I think the Ft. hood shooter was just a lone whack job). But there are other terror plots (e.g., Fort Dix and Quantico) that are substantiated. Nearly a dozen Americans or US-based foreign nationals have been arrested or charged in recent months in connection with efforts to go to either Pakistan or Somalia, allegedly for terrorist training or to recruit and finance the training of others.

But before we start saying that Muslims are evil, we have to remember that the most significant act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11 attacks in 2001, claiming the lives of 168 victims and injuring more than 680 was the Oklahoma City Bombing. That was just some disaffected white guys. And the worst part was that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols styled themselves as "patriots". That is another point that people forget.

The US needs to look at the factors that cause people to explore violent extremism as an option. The British Government is now seeking to recast relations with its Muslim population because of the mistakes which have been made in the drive against violent extremism in the UK. The new British approach is expected to ensure that funding goes to a wider range of organisations, while a more explicit strategy to resist white racist extremism is also being developed due to the British National party's strong showing in June 2009's European elections.

As in the UK, The existence of violent far-right groups and the rise of the far right means we must adopt consistent principles and a proportionate approach to the issue of violent extremism. The fact that extremism is being view as a threat from the any one Community (e.g., Muslims) can marginalise people who are within that Community.

And, yes, I am sympathetic to Muslims (and other ethnic minorities) since I grew up in a Community with a strong Asian presence. I know these people are peaceful citizens in whatever nation they live. I believe that learning about Islam is much more positive than the continued hatred and ignorance we see from some people.

After 9/11, while the American Muslims were feeling insecure, hundreds of Muslim soldiers of the US army were serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thes Muslims have been giving the proof of their patriotism while on duty. It is well known that many Muslim soldiers also lost their lives besides the soldiers of other communities in the US army. Among them, most of the American soldiers were practicing Muslims. Here are some names:
Cpl. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Spec. Rasheed Sahib, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, accidentally shot to death by a fellow soldier in Iraq.
Maj. James Ahearn, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, killed by a bomb in Iraq.
Cpt. Humayun Khan, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, killed when he approached a suicide bomber in Iraq.

My father in law is buried at Arlington National Cemetary, a Jewish Korean War Veteran; however, some sick bastard decided to desecrate his grave stone. So, religious intolerance goes beyond just Muslims. I do not countenance those who promote religious intolerance of any kind.

President Barack Obama evoked the constitution in his statement at the Fort Hood memorial service, advocating tolerance. "We are a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses. And instead of claiming God for our side, we remember Lincoln's words, and always pray to be on the side of God."