By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Editor-in-chief of The Muslim Observer
A few weeks ago, responding to a question on what is evil, the Republican Presidential candidate once again demonstrated his unfitness for holding the highest office of the nation. He said â€œIslamic extremismâ€ is an evil. If he had said extremism is an evil, one might have agreed with him. But associating only Islam with extremism is a politically prejudicial statement. What McCain is trying to say that Islam and Muslims cannot be trusted and they would constantly pose threats to the US interests globally.
During the last few decades we have seen many manifestations of evil in the world. For instance, the evil practiced by the Serbian forces against the Bosnian Muslims is a well known fact. However, few in the Muslim community held the Serbian church itself liable for this genocide, even though many Serbians committed these crimes in the context of religious hostilities that have existed between the two communities for centuries.
In the United States, during the last few decades, a number of medical professionals have been killed by those who are not in favor of abortion. Did anyone ever mention them as the manifestation of Christian intolerance or Christian extremism? What about the Jewish young man who killed the Prime Minister of Israel because of his engagement in a peace process? Did anyone talk about Jewish extremism?
Obviously, McCain is using this highly politically prejudicial language deliberately. He wants to appease that segment of American society that hates Islam. He feels that by creating fear in the minds of such people he could muster enough votes to get him elected for the office. He, however, does not recognize the damage he is causing to the nation and the relationship among various segments of American society.
The Muslim Republicans must challenge him on this issue. Fighting terrorism is not a Christian or Jewish or American or British agenda. It is an agenda that is important to Muslims as well. But fighting terrorism cannot be a blank slate to attack Islam and smear the Muslim community. There are enough Americans who do not like what McCain has been saying about Islam and Muslims. They will exercise their right to reject him at the appropriate time. However, in the meantime, Muslim voters must not feel shy of raising the issue in forums where Republicans are present. They have to speak up and challenge McCain for his bigotry.
We Muslims refuse to be a scapegoat for his electoral designs and desires. We should not let him define Islam and distort its image, causing harm to American interests.
What appears at present is that McCain himself is showing extreme and warlike tendencies, to appeal to that portion of his political party which will accept such tendencies without thought.