Arabs, Muslims Need Stronger Stand against Extremists
Byline: Ray Hanania
As long as some Arab and Muslim American leaders talk from both sides of their mouths, they should expect Americans to continue to react to the terrorist threat from their gut rather than from reason. Simply saying that they "denounce" or issuing a "fatwa" (Islamic decree) against terrorism is not enough.
The failure of Arabs and Muslims to separate themselves from the extremists is fueling the ineffective security measures against them in the United States. These measures don't prevent terrorism but will give some Americans a false sense of safety.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is neither a racist nor a bigot. Yet his recent proposal to wiretap all of the nation's mosques reflects the fears shared by most Americans. I thought the FBI was already wiretapping mosques and Arab groups. The FBI wasted two years in the 1970s investigating me, 42 pages of junk collected over two years, immediately after I was honorably discharged during the Vietnam War from the U.S. Air Force. For many Americans, though, doing something stupid is better than doing nothing.
Muslims and Arabs are not doing enough to denounce extremism nor to educate Americans. There are 4.5 million Arabs in America; half are Christian. There are more than 7 million Muslims in America. The largest percentage are black Muslims. Arabs are only 22 percent of the nation's Muslims. Yet, why are many Americans still surprised to learn I am a Christian Arab?
While many Arabs and Muslims publicly denounce terrorism and violence, they remain silent in denouncing extremists in their own community. Denouncing Osama Bin Laden is easy for Muslims. Why not speak out against the people who support Bin Laden by advocating extremist views or by silencing the moderate voices in the Muslim American community? …