Rev. Dave Knapp’s editorial on Islamophobia

An editorial cartoon generated by Chip Bok, back on September 12th, depicted arid terrain upon which had been erected a flag that said, “Islamic State.”  In the foreground was a terrorist prepared to execute two captives.  He said to them, “Convert to Islam, or die!”  One of them replied, “You first.”  In case you don’t get it, Bok was saying terrorists who murder innocent people are not Muslims at all, however much they may claim to be.

It would be a good idea for Tom Van Howe to consider the cartoon.  I was watching the local news one day this month when one of his editorials was aired.  His comments were motivated by the vicious Charlie Hebdo killings in France.  The attackers reportedly identified themselves as a part of an Al Qaeda branch in Yemen.  Van Howe seemed to be accusing the estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world of all indirectly sharing some of the responsibility for this happening.  In one of his “milder” spewings he stated, “It’s time for fair-minded Muslims around the world to stand up and be counted.  To say with words and deeds that they are profoundly disgusted with what’s being done in the name of Islam.”
Well of course they are disgusted, and much more.  They are also afraid of assumptions by ignorant, xenophobic, or prejudiced persons of all kinds that they are sympathetic to what took place, and of a backlash of persecution as a result.  That said, should innocent, peace-loving Muslims be made to feel they are responsible for reigning in vicious terrorists who are not Muslims at all?
I was at an interfaith gathering the other night.  We were discussing these matters.  A KKK analogy popped up.  The Ku Klux Klan, of course is a home grown, hate-filled, terrorist organization with a record of persecuting, victimizing and murdering innocent persons.  One member of  our group piped up and said something like, “Members of the Ku Klux Klan burn crosses on the lawns of persons they want to intimidate, scare, and control.”  [The cross, of course, is a Christian symbol]  “When is the last time a Christian was asked to apologize for the KKK?,” he concluded.
Well, if the murdering terrorists in France are not really Muslims, then members of the KKK are not really Christians.  Far from it.  It would be more true to say that the KKK is an Anti-Christ organization, and that those responsible for the slaughter in France are Anti-Muslim, or Anti-Mohammed.
So no, peace-loving Muslims, as Muslims, are no more responsible for reigning in non-Muslim terrorists than I, as one who aspires to live as a Christian, am responsible for reigning in non-Christian Klan members.  However, peace and justice loving persons of all races, nationalities and creeds are responsible for denouncing the killing of innocents everywhere.  We are also responsible for denouncing the ignorant racial, ethnic, and religious prejudice and stereotyping that exists and which leads to the victimizing of innocent people of all kinds.  One would hope that conscientious persons everywhere can agree upon this.
Rev. Dave Knapp, Climax