Their Silence Speaks Volumes

By: Patti Bankson

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times since 9/11 I’ve heard people say Islam is a religion of peace. But I can count on the fingers of just one hand – with a few left over – the number of times Muslims in any country, much less in America, have spoken out against violence perpetrated by Muslims here, there or just about anywhere. All I’ve heard from those who could – and should – speak out is that the people committing unspeakable acts of violence around the world are part of the radical break-away factions, who have high-jacked the (peace-loving) “original” Islamic faith. If that’s true, like many people, I’d like to know why we don’t hear from those whose religion has been hi-jacked.

Although I don’t think they answer the questions very well, here are a couple of explanations I’ve heard from those who offer a “hi-jacked religion theory”: 1.

    They aren’t being given the platform they need to spread their message.

I’m tempted to ask, “Are they serious”? Because there’s a part of me that thinks the media would be eager to present both sides of the subject. On the other hand, there’s a part of me that knows the media not only survives, but thrives on sensationalism… whatever headlines will cause people to buy a paper or a sponsor’s product. 2.

    They’re too busy speaking in the mosques… promoting peace.

Considering the number of times I’ve heard the words Muslim or Islamic combined with the word scholar, I’d think they’d recognize the fact that, that alone is not going to get the job done. Nothing wrong with going to the mosques to encourage and emphasize the tenets of their faith, but if, indeed, Islam is a religion of peace, I would have to assume that the people of that faith would already know it. Consequently, it should be plain to the scholars that it’s much more important for people outside the mosques to hear that message. Otherwise, all Muslims will continue to be viewed as participants in a violent religion, and as supporters of those who are spreading a different version of their “gospel” through violence, hatred and bigotry. Unfortunately for them, one picture is worth a thousand words, so when contract workers, journalists, members of the military and even, their own fellow citizens are kidnapped and beheaded or thrown off bridges, or blown to pieces –in front of cameras – all in the name of their Islamic God, their silence speaks volumes.

There is yet another theory being offered for the deafening silence from so-called moderate Muslims –

    They’re afraid to speak out


Although this is an explanation offered by outside observers, not by Muslims themselves, it’s definitely one I can understand. I’m sure there are many others who understand the fear factor involved here, as well. We’ve certainly seen how little it takes to raise the Islamic ire. The Pope is a good example. He quotes someone who lived 600 years ago, and next thing he knows, he’s being burned in effigy.

Being killed for disagreeing with other members of your faith is not something Americans have to worry about. Criticized, castigated? Sure. But murdered?? Not part of our religious culture. Thank God.

Patti Bankson invites your comments at
ã2006 Patti Bankson

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