I watched this exchange while in the shower this morning [yes, it might be worth re-examining how I spend my shower time, but that’s a whole different conversation]. I hear this all the time. Why aren’t good Muslims doing more to speak out about the bad Muslims? Why aren’t Muslim leaders condemning terrorist attacks?
The problem that I inevitably run into when talking to somebody who asks that question is that no answer is good enough. Ever.
Why aren’t “good” Muslims doing more to speak out about the bad Muslims? First of all, the question isn’t worded fairly because it asks why aren’t they doing more, not why aren’t they doing anything. Ask why aren’t they speaking out, and the correct answer is, “I reject the premise of your question, because they are speaking out.” Pick an act of terrorism, pick a terrorist group, and you’ll find a Muslim group condemning them. Media Matters took this on last year, in a post criticizing Fox News for not covering the statements condemning ISIS. Put aside the criticism of Fox (valid as it may be), and you have an excellent round up of the Muslim organizations that had spoken out against ISIS. The fact is that Muslim organizations ARE speaking out against acts of terror committed by extremists. That IS happening. But that’s never enough, and the question becomes, “why don’t they do it more?” at which point I want to stab myself in the side of the head with a sharp object just to make it all stop.
Although pointing out all that Muslim groups and individuals are actually saying to denounce acts of terror, I think the best answer to the question is what I was yelling at the screen while in the shower this morning [yes, it’s almost certainly worth re-examining how I spend my shower time]: Why aren’t they doing more? Because it’s not their fucking job, that’s why. Why aren’t they doing more? Because they’re busy doing their actual jobs: doctoring, lawyering, cooking, cleaning, childbearing, selling, buying, eating, drinking, walking, talking, exercising, shopping, packing, travelling, touring, mowing lawns, riding bikes, flying kites…the things that regular people do every day. Regular people aren’t asked to put all their effort into condemning the horrible acts of people who happen to be of the same religion as them, from the same town as them, who went to the same high school as them, even who grew up in the same family as them. We don’t blame these people for not doing enough when somebody they didn’t even know acts horribly. The guilt by association thing is going a bit too far, I think.