No one assumes that every Muslim is violent. Few are asserting that the religion itself is inherently violent. Nevertheless, the appearance to those of us outside of Islam is that it breeds violence. The founder of the religion was himself sometimes violent, and the most vocal adherents of the religion are violent. The tragedy at Ft. Hood is simply the latest installment of such violence, but the violence is not limited to isolated attacks on innocent, unarmed victims at military bases. There are other examples here in the U.S. and around the world. The fellow up in Seattle comes to mind; he shot people gathered at a Jewish center. And, sadly, there is another honor killing in the news. This story tells the grievous tale of a father who ran over his daughter because she had become too “western.” His daughter is dead.
All of this says that we should let Muslims know what we are thinking. We are not off our rockers in saying that we associate terrorism with their religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists appear to be Muslim. We point this out not to denigrate their religion or castigate them as human beings; rather, we point this out so they will know what we are actually thinking. Muslims have a duty to speak out more forcefully for the peace of their faith than the militants do who are speaking for the violence of it. We ought to support and encourage those Muslims who protest and oppose the violence. They have quite a difficult work to accomplish; but it is their work to do. We are not helping them when we pretend there is no relationship between Islam and violence. In our experience, there is a relationship. Whether it is a necessary or essential relationship, Muslims must make clear for us.