Muslim leaders denounce violence as focus turns to bombers' faith
"His effectiveness reveals that the best crisis management doesn’t require intellectual gymnastic but just plain, honest talk: We have a problem. We know it. And we want to do right," Nomani wrote.
Mark Silk, a professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, blogged that he is sympathetic toward Muslims wanting to distance themselves from the Tsarnaev brothers. But the strategy of dismissing violent Muslims as heretics who are not true to the faith plays into the hands of Islamaphobes, who point out passages in the Koran that depict a "uniformly negative religion that is simply the mirror image of what the apologists portray.
"Better, I think, to acknowledge that faith traditions with centuries of history, complex scriptures, diverse and mutually antagonistic sub-groups, and millions of followers encompass examples of the worst as well as the best that humanity has to offer. To own the worst as well as the best is to put your enemies in a position of having to recognize the best as well as the worst."
But Jeffrey Weiss writing for Real Clear Religion argues that the Boston bombing is not a simple case of bad guys who happen to be Muslim.
"These men, if the investigators are right, committed their atrocities in the name of Islam. They were making a specific theological claim about their faith and what is acceptable within it," Weiss stated. "For the imams ... that's not simply wrong. It's heresy. And surely every religious community has the right — even the obligation — to expel heretics."
Like Nomani, Weiss says the problem must be addressed within the Muslim community.
"Think of it as quality control. The people on the inside are the only ones who can do that effectively. And maybe, just maybe, some other angry young man considering violence in the name of Islam will pause for just a moment and consider what it would be like to be rejected by his own."
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