Muslims, victims of religious intolerance?

The ground zero controversy and other mosque projects have given rise to significant anti-Muslim sentiment. I sympathize with the lamentation of many loyal and responsible Muslim Americans enduring intolerance; however, they and most media personalities are misinterpreting the issue. The Islamic faithful are not the victims of unwarranted discrimination. It is not a matter of standard bigotry and hatred. There are monumental justifiable, non-biased reasons for the opposition’s opinions and actions.

Our everyday Muslim friends are victims of the Islamic leadership that fails or refuses to lift the stigma they suffer by exercising the courage to speak out against and aggressively hunt down and eradicate the terrorist elements within their ranks.

Yes, those radicals may be relatively few, but those scurrilous few make a brazen statement that leaves non-Muslim Americans fearful of Islam. Perception is reality; and the perception is that Muslims are dangerous. This is the challenge for Islam: dispel the negative image built after 9/11 or the reality will evolve into a nightmare. It is terribly unfortunate that it comes to that, but know this: the enormous wealth and power that world-wide Islam possesses can, if seriously directed, search and destroy all those terrorist elements causing the stained reputation and frustration from intolerance!

The true battle is not with alleged intolerant non-Muslim Americans, it is with an Islamic leadership that has turned deaf ears and closed their eyes while their radical few wreak havoc in the world and stain the good name of your good Muslim friend down the block or at work. The leaders, basically, have acted as accessory to these terrorist crimes and by withholding the necessary efforts against their evil minority, they are, by default or purposely, guilty of collusion. Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And Islam does nothing against terror we experience.

I have been the target of hate and know full well what it feels like; however, American Muslims, please remember that every time you experience that antagonism, it is not you being opposed, they are fearful of the overall specter of world-wide aggressive Islamic expansionism that fits their perception of terror. This is the stark reality that Islam must face and immediately act upon to reverse. Our Muslim community deserves American freedom, but freedom always comes with a price. It must be bought by Islam cleaning up its own household. No education or awareness program will make a dent. Community outreach and togetherness efforts will fail. A serious purge of radicalism is the only way non-Islamic Americans will be able to trust and fully accept them as friends and neighbors.

Jerry Clifford, the Word Guru

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