In the Name of God, the Compassionate and Infinitely Merciful
The horrific murders of innocent Afghan villagers by a US soldier this past weekend has prompted the rightful condemnation of officials and leaders, including our own President who said the killings were "outrageous and unacceptble." He also said: "The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens, and our children, who were murdered. We’re heartbroken over the loss of innocent life." Other officials, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also chimed in saying that this terrible incident is not reflective of America as a whole, or the American military either.
They are absolutely right. Actions such as these - which, if the suspect is convicted, must be punished fully - do not reflect America as a whole. I know that this soldier's actions do not represent me as an American or reflect the truth of my country. And I think many Afghans feel the same way.
Would that more people would feel the same about Islam. Say this very same incident occurred, but with the suspect a Muslim. Immediately, there would be fierce - rightly so - condemnations, but almost in the same breath, there would be guilt by association. All of Islam, and all Muslims, would be blamed for the actions of said Muslim criminal/terrorist. It is not right to taint the entire religion of Islam and its followers with the stains of its criminals, and I think most people would agree.
Yet, tell that to several law enforcement agencies, such as the NYPD, who have been found to have spied extensively on innocent Muslim communities in NY and NJ. Tell that to the FBI, who have been sending informants into the Muslim community to try to "sniff out" potential terrorists. In some instances, the Muslim community itself called the FBI to report on the FBI's own informant. Tell that to the numerous law enforcement agencies who contract with notorious Islamophobes who spread fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims. To these folks, the few represent the whole, and this is wrong.
Still, in this day and age, calling the President a "Muslim" is treated like a smear. Why? Because there are terrorists who are Muslim? This is wrong, because, again, the few are made to represent the whole.
I wish this incident did not occur, and the fact that it did has caused many people - rightly - to question why we are even over there in Afghanistan. But, nevertheless, as sad as it is, it is a teachable moment: just as America is not the actions of this soldier who killed innocent children, Muslims are not the terrorists and criminals who act in their name. The Taliban doesn't realize this, but they are terrorists, extremists, and criminals. But, we know better. I pray our actions increasingly come to reflect this knowledge.