Editor, Daily Nexus,
Two letters appeared in Friday’s paper addressing the Muslim Student Association (“Potential Dangers of MSA Threaten Their Credibility” and “MSA Hesitates to Distance Itself From Islamic Fascism,” Daily Nexus, April 18). These letters discussed the MSA as a possible threat, and also called for it to distance itself from “Islamo-fascism.”
These letters echo a disturbing sentiment in the West that Muslims somehow owe it to the rest of us to separate themselves into “good” and “bad” Muslims. Several pundits and politicians have said Muslims must publicly disavow actions of violence and terrorism in order to display some sort of distinction between themselves and the Muslims we label as dangerous enemies.
These distinctions are largely our creation, and attempt to group together organizations with nothing to do with each other. Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the most popular “Islamic extremist groups” have separate and unique goals and political agendas. We group them together because we have a bigoted, unsophisticated view of the Muslim world. Rather than educate ourselves on these issues, learning the nuanced complaints and philosophies of these various groups, we use words like “jihad” and “Islamo-fascism” to illogically force them together.
The MSA has had controversial speakers because they do have a nuanced understanding of the issues, and are making an honest attempt to hear the myriad of perspectives that affect their world. They owe no explanations or apologies.
The bitter irony here: The United States is conducting an illegal war of aggression in Iraq that will kill more innocents than the “terrorists” ever have. Meanwhile, we are demanding a Muslim student organization disavow any violence perpetrated by the people living with the chaos we created in Iraq. How dare we?