In a column about the massacre in Paris, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wanted us to understand that while there is indeed a “strain of Islamic intolerance and extremism” that has caused too much violence in the world, most Muslims are good people who detest what happened in Paris the other day as much as you and I do.
“Terror incidents lead many Westerners to perceive Islam as inherently extremist,” he wrote, “but I think that is too glib and simple-minded. Small numbers of terrorists make headlines, but they aren’t representative of a complex and diverse religion of 1.6 billion adherents. My Twitter feed Wednesday brimmed with Muslims denouncing the attack — and noting that fanatical Muslims damage the image of Muhammad far more than the most vituperative cartoonist.”
That’s the age we live in. Tweets – 140 characters or less – is how people express outrage. Remember when Michelle Obama held up her little sign that read “# Bring Back Our Girls” after a Muslim terrorist group in Nigeria kidnapped 300 schoolgirls? # or no # … the girls are still missing. Terrorists aren’t afraid of tweets and hash tags.
Here’s another idea: Million Man Muslim Marches in every major capital city around the world to denounce Islamic terrorism, a show of solidarity to tell the jihadists that good, law abiding Muslims hate what the extremists are doing in the name of Islam.
Muslims should march in Paris and London and Madrid and Rome and Washington and Cairo and Riyadh and Beirut and every other capital of every other Muslim country.
They should make speeches that condemn the violence. They should say that the jihadists are backward people who must be shunned. They should make clear that they not only condemn Islamic terrorism, they will give the terrorists no comfort by even understanding it.
Imams should look out at the crowds and say that those who kill in the name of Allah will not be greeted by virgins in Paradise. They should say they will be greeted by fire in Hell.
Of course none of this will happen. Moderate Muslims may tweet, but if history is any guide that’s as brave as most of them will ever get.
Most, but not all. Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi recently told an audience of religious scholars that they must lead a “revolution” to transform Islam. “You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world—I say it again, the entire world—is waiting for your next move because this umma (a word that can refer either to the Egyptian nation or the entire Muslim world) is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”
A sliver of sunshine in what too often is a very dark Arab world.