Friday, November 25, 2016

Gen. Michael T Flynn's anti Muslim rhetoric. He needs to tone it down.

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's national security advisor, has a tendency to make comments that warm the cockles of those who have a bad case of Muslimphobia.  He has called the religion of Islam a "cancer" .  Lately  taken out of context to some extent he  has called Islam not a religion but a political system. (He was referring to "radical Islam"  in context but often the captions of his remarks left out that qualifying  nuance).  What  these not carefully  parsed words has done is to cause comments in Facebook postings I have seen  that reveal how widespread is anti-Islamic  bigotry in the United States.

Flynn is already under attack for his hard line approach to Islam and Donald Trump's appointment to his White House in a very sensitive position.  Let us hope his future pronouncements are more sensitively  parsed and the advice he gives Pres. Elect Trump behind the scenes is more reflective of  the complexities of the Muslim world.  If he does not, he may actually harm US national security and create more problems with terrorism than we have now.

What I learned  from  on line media discussions is there are those who do believe that the religion of Islam is not a religion but  a political system. To them it justifies their  blanket indictment of Muslims and Islam in general .They seized on Flynn's words, leaving out any qualifying statements that he was referring to "radical Islam" (referring to ISIS or other of such ilk)  which is even held in contempt  by the overwhelming number of  world's Muslims as being heretical    Here is the reality:  It is not the religion that is at fault; it is  some of the practitioners who use the religion for their own purposes. . What those who took his remarks as validating their indictment of  all Muslims  are doing  is creating a strategic military  problem, too. It will turn off the very allies who consider ISIS and its kind as as heretics. Those Muslims who do not follow ISIS are the very ones we need to fight ISIS,and we might find ourselves going it alone if the Trump administration continues to condone such anti-Islamic bigotry.

What is true is that there are those who use religion to get and keep power and that is a  fact of life in our world's history.  It has happened with some frequency.  It can be countered. Sometimes greater understanding can come from personal contacts or becoming more knowledgeable about the religion. How many Muslims do you know anyway or ever met or talked with them? How much of the theology of Islam or its origins (based on the same Abrahamic beliefs of Christianity and Judaism) do you know?To say Islam is not a religion is sheer ignorance and is disrespectful   of  the  over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world who practice it peacefully.

What is particularly  disturbing is the effect of anti Muslim bigotry on  our own security.  There are those who are already here who have been  radicalized on line.  So far, to intercept theim from carrying out Jihad in the US or abroad,  law enforcement has relied on cooperation with the Muslim community and their good will to intercept them before they act.  Now, what I hear is fear in that community, that the Trump administration is hostile and suspicious of all followers of Islam in the US.  Whether good will and cooperation in the future will continue is not helped by the bigoted comments found on line or expressed openly. Those bigoted remarks can only work to increase the alienation of members  of our own  Muslim community.

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