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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This is a screenwriting blog. But you can't write screenplays if you're not part of the world.

Today, a suicide bomber in a truck blew up some US soldiers as they were handing out sweets to Iraqi children, killing most of the kids and one of the soldiers. I'm having a very hard time believing that the Prophet Mohammed would have been okay with that. For one thing, he thought highly of charity.

The big silence I'm hearing is all the Muslim world demonstrating in anger against the suicide bombers in Iraq. I'm not hearing an imam issuing a fatwa condemning the murderers to death. Not even in London are the Muslims taking to the streets to shame the killers in their community.

When there were anti-Muslim racist attacks in Paris, there were huge demonstrations against racism. When the KKK comes out to rally in the US, they have to be protected by police because of the ten times larger anti-demonstrations. The community says: we do not agree with you, we do not hate like you, you are alone in this.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. When people reacted to the bombings by smashing windows in mosques, Tony Blair came out to censure it. Ditto in the US: George Bush made it plain after 9/11 that anyone going after Muslims in general was out of line. Where's the outrage in the Muslim community?

Stand up, people. Stand up and be counted. Because your silence allows the murderers to think they're giving voice to your community; and the rest of us start to wonder if they are.


I wonder the same thing. Is all of Islam guilty of tacit approval by their silence. You would think they would lurch into the breach before their religion becomes irrevocably associated with cowardice and murder. Maybe they are as cowed by these extremists as the extremists want us to be.

By Blogger Unknown, at 9:09 AM  

Alex, before you condemn Muslims for not speaking up, maybe you should do a quick google and see if, you know, Muslims are actually speaking up. Here is some stuff which I found in about 30 seconds by doing a google for "London Muslim reaction" and then doing a search at the Times of London website for "Muslim".

From the London Central Mosque:

Our thoughts, our prayers and condolences go out to all the victims of these terrible terrorist attacks. As citizens and co-workers of this great city, we share the concerns and fears of fellow Londoners. We use the same transport and live and work in the same buildings and any attack is an attack on us all.

Islam expressly condemns the use of violence against civilians and innocents. We call on the Muslim community to be fully cooperative in this situation, so we may all live in peace and harmony and continue to make London the vibrant, tolerant and peaceful city it is.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Dubayan the Director General of The Islamic Cultural Centre London unequivocally condemns these terrorist attacks and expresses deep condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the victims and urge all Muslims to be unanimous in their strong support of the Government Anti-terrorist programmes.

This is from the London Times:
Meanwhile, British Muslims throughout the country prayed for the victims during Friday jumu’ah prayers today. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary–General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "Our faith of Islam calls upon us to be upholders of justices. The day after London was bloodied by terrorists finds us determined to help secure this justice for the innocent victims of yesterday’s carnage. The terrorists may have thought they could divide us and make us panic. It is our hope that we will all prove them conclusively wrong."

The Muslim Council urged Muslims in Britain to go about their daily routines and not be intimidated or cowed by fear. "This would be the wrong response to the tragic events of yesterday morning," said Sir Iqbal. "Irrespective of who may be behind the bombings in the capital, The Muslim Council condemns all acts of terror vehemently."

From BBC News
Muslim leaders have condemned the terror attacks on London and called for full co-operation with police. Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawala called on worshippers to pray for victims at Friday prayers.

A site called says, "Like all British people, the Muslim community reacted with shock and outrage at the Underground explosions and the bomb aboard a London bus that has left 37 people dead. The perpetrators - if they claim to be Muslim - have through their actions mutilated a religion of peace. As many British Muslim organisations have noted in their statements, everyone is a victim in a situation like this." They go on to provide a number of examples of Muslim reaction to the bombing. Here's one example:

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies in the UK & Ireland: FOSIS condemns London attacks
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis) is extremely disturbed by the attacks, which hit London transport links this morning. We are extremely saddened by the extent of injuries and deaths that this has caused. Fosis President Wakkas Khan commented, "We are shocked and distressed by these incidents which has hit our country's capital and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who suffered injuries and the families of those who have lost their lives. We continue to condemn in no uncertain terms all such cowardly acts of violence." We would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of Muslim students to offer our support and assistance to the emergency services who have reacted swiftly and efficiently.

So, Alex, what was your question again?

PS: This is actually Jacob posting--I don't seem to be able to post a comment here without using my old, out-of-date blogger ID.

By Blogger Jacob Sager Weinstein, at 9:27 AM  

Actually give Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days a look. The third episode has a Christian go live like a Muslim for a month and it was actually pretty good. They covered that issue quite well if I remember correctly. His show is on FX.

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 10:48 AM  

Also, see this about an upcoming anti-terrorist fatwa.

By Blogger Jacob Sager Weinstein, at 1:08 PM  

it is amazing to think how many innocent iraqi children the U.S. Army has killed since its invasion. Certainly more than the suicide bombers. Just saying.

By Blogger Larry Fouch, at 1:29 PM  

It's nice that the organizations are issuing statements. But I'd still like to see a demonstration or two.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:58 PM  

Ah, the anti-terrorist fatwa. Thank you, Captain Devincible. Now that is exactly what I was looking for.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 7:04 PM  

Yeah, when they flood the streets with the same hate/enthusiasm as they do for anti-US rallies, I buy their outrage.

By Blogger Unknown, at 1:22 PM  


Why don't you organize a rally condemning the bombings in London if you feel so strongly about it? Invite Muslims from your local community. Get something started.

And by the way could you have cared less when London was being bombed by the IRA? I didn't see a lot of Irish-Americans flocking into the streets during that campaign of terror. But I forgot they were freedom fighters. Right?

By Blogger Matthew Reynolds, at 7:01 PM  

Rrrr? Why the ad hominem, Matt?

I wasn't that fond of IRA when they were murdering civilians, why do you suppose I was. I just didn't have a blog then. Nor did I feel personally threatened by the IRA.

I did find it kind of weird that in Hollywood it was never the IRA that murdered women and children, just "a rogue branch" of the IRA. As if the real IRA never murdered women and kids!

I can't organize a rally of Muslims, Matt, 'cause I'm Jewish. The point isn't whether non-Muslims find terrorism abhorrent, but whether Muslims do.

Anyway, what's your point? That Muslims are under no obligation to protest?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 8:13 PM  

The ad what?

I feel that demonstrations and other direct action are more effective if people from all backgrounds and religions come together. I'm not suggesting you mobilize the Muslim community alone.

It was really just my heavy-handed way of saying that I think it's silly to point the finger at Muslims.

Frankly, why should the Muslim community feel the need go out on to the streets for the benefit of non-Muslims, to 'prove' they find terrorism abhorrent? To satisfy people like you?

It seems you've been consumed by your own suspicion of the Muslim community. The bombings in London were the work of a small cell of fanatics. These people have almost nothing in common the majority of Muslims in UK.

By Blogger Matthew Reynolds, at 8:54 PM  

"These people have almost nothing in common the majority of Muslims in UK."

You know, Matt, that might be true but it'd be nice to see evidence of it (proactive evidence, which I think is what Alex is suggesting) rather than a mere comment or two to this effect captured by BBC reporters outside of a mosque.

By Blogger Dennis V, at 1:43 AM  

This from Guardian Unlimited:

When the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, took the podium, the applause rang out before he had opened his mouth - the crowd's way of saying that it wanted no backlash against Britain's Muslims, no blind lust for revenge.

As the mayor put it, Londoners wanted to forge a better city from this tragedy, not to "worry about who to blame and who to hate".

As befits a diverse city, those who stood in the stifling evening heat had a full range of reasons to be there.

Hussain Shefaar, 28, had a different motive. "As a Muslim, I wanted to show solidarity with London, to say we belong to London." He was surrounded by friends, one wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Muslim by choice". They all felt "an obligation to say that terrorism has nothing to do with our religion".

There had been smaller demonstrations all across London earlier in the day as people marked two minutes of silence at noon. Some said they wanted to have a quiet moment to think themselves back into that moment a week ago.


No, not just Muslims, people of all backgrounds came together to show solidarity. Isn't this more effective than a single demonstration by Muslims alone? Or do these people have to do more to convince you that they don't condone the bombings?

By Blogger Matthew Reynolds, at 10:49 AM  

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