When Will Our Fellow Americans Condemn Extremism?

When Will Our Fellow Americans Condemn Extremism?

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Muslim Americans are being attacked daily. Their houses of worship are being vandalized; their children are being targeted; their institutions are being demonized. The Republican presidential race has turned into a Muslim-bashing competition.

And who is condemning the bigotry?

Donald Trump wants Muslims to carry special ID cards like European Jews did in Nazi Germany. Both he and Ben Carson falsely claimed that Muslim Americans cheered the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump once called undocumented immigrants rapists.

Nobody from the Republican establishment is denouncing this divisive, dangerous rationale. Instead, Trump and Carson are leading in the polls, because of — not despite — their xenophobia.
The verbal assaults against Muslims, immigrants and people of color are followed by physical assaults that can turn fatal.

And the condemnations are yet to come.

But it is not only words and it is not only Republicans. George W. Bush, a Republican, invaded Iraq, setting the motions for the rise of ISIS and the destruction of the Middle East. Democrat Barack Obama's drone strikes regularly kill civilians in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Yet, Muslims here are asked to condemn psychopaths on the other side of the globe who are hijacking their faith.

Muslims here and in the Middle East are not responsible for ISIS, just as Christians are not responsible for the Ku Klux Klan. The rise of terrorist organizations is connected to geopolitical events that the people of the region did not control. Rather, it was disastrous U.S. foreign policy and the sectarian extremist ideology of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia that set the stage of chaos where ISIS and al-Qaeda can thrive.

Muslim Americans still go out of their way to let the world know that they denounce terrorism.

"[Muslims] have condemned and condemned and condemned the terrorism that's going on in the world. And yet, every day I am asked, 'When will those people condemn terrorism?'" said Bob Bruttell, chairman of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, at an event by Michigan's imams condemning ISIS.

As Muslims distance themselves from extremists, we hope that our fellow Americans condemn the rampant xenophobia in their families, political system and media.