In my blogosphere travels I have visited Web sites hosted by Muslims in an effort to try to understand just where “everyday Muslims” stand on this and other issues. While I haven’t found anyone on these sites yet that can adequately explain this phenomenon to me, I have at least found a couple of sites where the host seems mostly reasonable. One plainly denounced suicide bombings, beheadings and violence against innocents, but without passion. Most often the atrocities that are committed by Muslims in the name of Allah are explained away as the acts of a relative few extremists.
I believe that it is the absence of outrage from the larger peaceful Muslim community if such a community actually exists—that is responsible for, or which at least has exacerbated the anti-Muslim sentiment that exists today.
The targets of this violence are frequently fellow Muslims, as we heard in the news just this week, when masked gunmen stopped two minivans carrying students north of Baghdad Sunday, ordered the passengers off, separated Shiites from Sunni Arabs, and killed the 21 Shiites "in the name of Islam," according to a witness. This seemingly mindless act must have some tremendously important basis among the Muslims who perpetrated this reprehensible deed, something strong enough to warrant the wanton murder of children, of fellow Muslims, of fellow Iraqis. It has something to do with Islam and the sectarian differences between the Sunis, the Kurds and the Shiites. But why would people, all of whom believe in Allah, want to kill each other in the name of Allah over other, smaller differences? It is equivalent to Baptists and Methodists taking up arms against each other.
Islam is indeed a puzzle, and if there truly are moderate, peace-loving Muslims who despise the hijacking of their religion by extremist minorities, they must be afraid to condemn it, or maybe they don't really think what their brothers do is wrong.
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