A Teachable Moment

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.


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  • What you say is true. Here is what is missing: an apology from Harmit Karzai for the on-going killings of American soldiers by members of Afghan security or police.

    That is also a teachable moment. We are sorry; the leader of Afghanistan is not. Nor do I hear apologies from the Muslim community as a whole.

    Another teachable moment: all governments are playing with lives...

    ...How many more times must we "welcome" soldiers home that have paid the ultimate price, while our own government tickets those who pay honor, and the chief enforcer, Mayor Rahm, claims outrage. His only outrage is the revenue lost and that he looks bad. Period.

    What good are "teachable moments" (an Obamaism) if the lesson learned, here in the US, is that we are wrong and those who pop soldiers and operatives ( execution style by shooting them in the back of the head), are right because there is no admission of fault and certainly no apology.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard: What you say is also true. But, the Muslim community as a whole doesn't have to apologize for the crimes of its criminals, just as we don't have to apologize - as Americans - for the crimes of this soldier. And yes, governments frequently play with lives. I pray it gets better.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    Hesham, so long as governments worship "man" and believe in utopia, it will not get better. The pot is simmering..

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard: you are right. But, I do fear governments who worship God...or claim to speak for Him.

  • "Teachable moment" is not a Obamaism. The phrase was popularized in a 1952 book on education theory by Robert Havighurst.
    Havighurst used it in a very limited sense referring to the easiest time in one's development to learn something.
    The phrase has become more loosely used and less precise. And in the process, it now tends to sanitize and even trivialize the context in which it is used.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas...thank you for the clarification.

    It's overused is right, and I associate it with Obama, because his arrogance assumes that the great "unwashed" knows nothing --just shut-up "and eat your peas" and "inflate your tires".

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