19 July 2005

A Muslim Gandhi?

I get a Google News update every day for my name, just to see who else out there who shares my name is making news; I tend to assume I'm not and thus far I have not been wrong. Today I happened upon a news tidbit from the BBC, and it's on a subject that's of quite intense interest to me. Follow the jump for more.

It seems another Mr. Smith, a South London lorry driver, has a blog of his own called Blogistan, which is one of the all-time great blog names. In a recent post he responded to an article in the London Daily Telegraph entitled "Where is the Gandhi of Islam?" The article asks, well, where is the Gandhi of Islam (as you'd expect). Essentially it's asking why none of the self-proclaimed "moderate" Muslims around the world will step up and "take back Islam from the radicals."

This is an interesting question. Mr. Smith says that one of the notable responses to the July 7th bombings in London was that "Islam does not support this kind of action." He follows up by saying that "The fact that Muslims can do this sort of thing doesn’t change that."

This is a powerful and very intriguing statement. While I would not not endorse everything Mr. Smith says, his post is still very thought-provoking. Christians, after all, are capable of some pretty awful things--Eric Rudolph comes immediately to mind, as does Timothy McVeigh (remember him?). Some people say, "Well, those aren't true Christians. I would never endorse their actions."

Of course not. But when a Muslim says the same thing, they tend to be ignored in the West. Why? As Mr. Smith says, "There is no reason why the fingers should be pointed at 'the Muslim community', given that we have no reason to support actions like this. If we are not forthcoming with information on the 'terrorists in our midst', it's because they don't tell us who they are."

The idea that the Muslims should rise up and "fix" the problem of extremist Islam ignores the fact that we as Christians have yet to rise up and "fix" the problem of extremist Christians. Elohim City still thrives in Oklahoma; it may be a small gathering of people, but so are the terror cells that perpetrated the London bombings. I've heard nothing from maintstream Christians about "fixing" the Christian Identity movement that still thrives in this country.

True, these nitwit radicals have done nothing--well, aside from that whole Oklahoma City thing--on the scale of Al Qaeda style Muslim radicals. But is that still an excuse? Does that make it okay for us to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few Muslims? We don't blame ourselves for Tim McVeigh and Eric Rudolph.


1 comment:

Ayzair said...

That is a very interesting idea -- why don't Christians do more to stop exremists? I think the answer is, you can't. There will always be someone extreme -- you cannot possibly stop someone from killing other people if they themselve don't care if they die. Someone could do this with a car on any street in America, just decide to ram someone else. Scary, but true.

Of course, this doesn't give anyone, regardless of creed, the right to ignore wackjobs. We should stand up and say, "You know, I don't care what religion you are, you're a wackjob and that's wrong!"

I really hope someone does this soon in South Carolina. Apparently there is a group of Christian crazies (I forget the name) who want to move here en masse and take over our government. Perhaps this wouldn't be a big change, but it's still unsettling that a group could move a thousand or so people to somewhere like York and, if they all voted, easily put their choice of candidate on various councils. I'd love to say "natives" would vote in large enough numbers that this wouldn't matter, but the crazies are counting on the inevitable indifference to the electoral process. And it's totally legal. Can't keep people from moving somewhere, just like you can't keep suicidal people from walking down a street.

Stand up to the wackjobs! Say something! Vote!