Monday, August 1

Jihad on terrorism

"Damage control" is even harder when dealing with someone else's damage.

That is precisely the difficulty many Muslim groups now face. American Muslim organizations are recognizing the problem of denouncing terrorism, and those who practice it:
"Islam is not like the Catholic Church, there is no central authority who can give you one quote. Therefore it is impossible for all Muslims to speak in one voice, just as it is impossible for all Americans to speak in one voice," said Muqtedar Khan, a non-resident fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, who studies international politics.

Some Muslim groups are frustrated with the task that public relations experts refer to as "reputation management."

Mike Paul, a veteran public relations professional in New York City, says that religious communities should present a consistent message that offers concrete historical examples to back up their statements.

"People aren't going to believe you if you just say, 'These people don't represent our faith,'" Paul said, "They're going to say, 'Show me the truth.'"
To that extent, "show don't tell" means actually doing something to replace the ideology of extremism and violence. The Muslim American Society is launching a slate of seven action steps -- a "Declaration of Support and Action Against Terrorism."

It will take time for this movement to show results, if any at all. Previous silence on the issue has been interpreted as acceptance. A London Telegraph survey showed that nearly 1/4 of British Muslims "have some sympathy with the feelings and motives of those who carried out" the London bombings.

That vacuum of silence has some (like conservative talk-show host Michael Graham) calling Islam itself a "terror organization." That comment got him suspended, and CAIR is lobbying to get him fired, too, even as CAIR sponsors its own fatwa against terror.