It is a challenging time in which to be Muslim. Not only is the Islamic world the front line of the fight against radical Islam, but the political realities of being a Muslim in Western nations which pride themselves on their self proclaimed stellar human rights records are becoming increasingly more frightening.
This point was underscored today when media coverage began of the shooting of an imam and his assistant in Queens. They were followed and gunned down in broad daylight while returning from their local mosque.
What I noticed, and felt I needed to write about, is a remarkably different rhetoric in the media. There are no calls for anyone to condemn this act and no immediate conclusions about religious motivations. Instead, we see tempered commentary about an ongoing investigation and no evident religious motive. It’s curious how standards of humanity are applied so selectively. When a priest is shot, or a shooting occurs by a Muslim, the immediate discourse is quite different, though neither event is less tragic than the other.
Muslims live in a difficult time, not only because we are the first victims of Islamic terrorism, but also because we are held to such stringently higher moral standards without sympathy. Every Muslim who is not a terrorist finds him/herself in a position of having to condemn every act of violence perpetuated by select few members who claim the same faith. Otherwise, we’re immediately part of the same radical Islam that the media loves to talk about. We either join a tidal wave of constantly speaking out, or we are effectively playing for the opposite side.
Imagine a world where all human life was treated with the same value and respect. If we stopped considering people who are different as the “other” and showed them the same compassion we show our own, things might be different. I am saddened by every innocent human life that is lost because of senseless violence, Muslim or non-Muslim. I am commanded by my conscience and my God to treat all human life with dignity and respect.
This is a short post, designed only to ask one question. Where are the calls for condemnation for a Muslim being shot?