The Slippery Slope of Apologetics – Between Empathy and Suicide

It goes without saying that the events that took place on the morning of January 7th, 2015, as perpetrated by three gunmen in Paris, France, were heinous and unjustifiable. But equally unjustifiable is the call and charge, from amongst Muslims and against Muslims, to condemn violence “perpetrated in Islam’s name”. While both vocalizations may appear to have credence, I believe it is an insidious and slippery slope to communal suicide.

I have received several requests today from members of the Muslim community to address the tragedy involving the staff of Charlie Hebdo. While I understand the sentiment to hold community meetings and the like, I believe it would be an error to hold an event for something as particular as this. None of us, by and large in the Muslim community, are in disagreement as to the heinous nature of what was done but I do believe it a detrimental act of getting into the business of apologizing for acts which we did not commit or condone; no matter how you spin it, that is what we would be doing. In fact, and I am not alone in this assessment, it is precisely this kind of response from the Muslim  community that can further exacerbate those fringe elements within our community to seek extreme measures for perceived injustices.

To be frank, I am also concerned about allowing the dominant culture to dictate what is or what isn’t a “good Muslim”. Should our condemnation not meet their approval (and the goal post on this seems to be ever shifting) then can we  all not be criminally held as suspicious? It is akin to the structural racism that faces of us African-Americans, when white America says things like “you could get ahead or do better if only you tried harder or weren’t lazy”. This rhetoric encourages Blackamericans, to not strive for excellence, but to strive for dodging the ridicule of whites. This can be a pernicious and never ending maze which we run ourselves ragged through.

Our focus as Muslims, now more so than ever, must be vigilantly on being true to Allah and His Messenger, which has, does, and will always suffice any group, in anytime and in anyplace.

1 Comment The Slippery Slope of Apologetics – Between Empathy and Suicide

  1. mike.helbert@gmail.com'mike helbert

    Hi Marc!
    I’ve been reflecting on this. I can see your point. I think, however, there may need to be different responses from different people. You speak from the position of a Minority, and marginalized, position. For you communal non-response may be appropriate. After all, as you said, the dominant culture sets the standard.
    However, from the position of dominance the response should probably be much different. I am a white male who never owned another person. Nor, was I around during the height of Jim Crow. Yet, we as the dominant culture inflicted horrible injury and harm to an entire group of people. We should own up to that.
    We decimated every Native culture on this continent as well as others. We should own up to that.
    We continue, to this day, to insert our privilege all around the globe unjustly. We should own up to that. Much as the reconciliation process in South Africa has helped to heal deep wounds, our acceptance as a COMMUNITY of our complicity in others’ hurt should be both confessed and repented of.
    At least that’s what I think.

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