Fareed Zakaria: "Muslims Are Right To Complain That There Is Anti-Muslim Bigotry"


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: But first, here's my take. When news flashed that a man had shot and killed a Canadian soldier in front of the War Memorial in Canada, what most people were wondering but not saying out loud was, is it another radical Muslim? And it was.

As was the man who ran over two Canadian soldiers in Quebec, Martin Rouleau Couture. As was Zale Thompson who attacked four police officers in Queens, New York, also this week.

It's why I have said before we have to be honest. There is a problem in the world of Islam today. Some people have found in it an ideology of opposition and violence against the modern and Western world. The three jihadis who burst onto the news this week represent that ugly phenomenon. But let's dig deeper into these three people to understand what moved them to become terrorists. None of them was born and brought up a religious Muslim.

A profile of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in the "New York Times" shows someone who went from a life of partying as a 16-year-old to repeated arrests for drug possession and stealing a credit card. He was once sentenced to prison for two years for possessing a weapon in a robbery.

In the "Times" article, one of the counselors at a Salvation Army shelter described his battles with addiction does. He was doing heroin to take the edge off crack. Amidst this turmoil, the "Times" says, he converted to Islam, got radicalized, sought to go to Syria to fight in the jihad, and finally ended up trying to wage his own version of it in Ottawa and died after killing a soldier.

The man who ran over the soldiers in Canada earlier this week reportedly converted to Islam even more recently, only a year ago. The NYPD says the man who attacked its officers with a hatchet, also clearly disturbed, converted to Islam two years ago.

These are not people steeped in Islam, people for whom the religion shaped their world view over decades. People who were motivated by their immersion in the religion. On the contrary, these were unstable young men prone to radicalism and violence. They were searching for an ideology that would fit their disturbed world view, and in the radical and jihadi interpretations of Islam, they found it.

It's always worth remembering that these people represent a tiny minority. Think of it this way. Terror groups like ISIS and al Qaeda have been calling on Muslims to engage in terrorism in Western cities for over 10 years now. Of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, the number who have responded to these calls is a small, small, small percentage. If all Muslims were radicals, we would have more than three to worry about this week.

And yet, there is a problem within Islam. It's not enough for Muslims to point out that these people do not represent the religion. They don't. But Muslims need to take more active measures to protest these heinous acts. They also need to make sure that Muslim countries and societies do not in any way condone extremism, anti-modern attitudes, and intolerance towards other faiths.

Muslims are right to complain that there is anti-Muslim bigotry out there, but they would have a more persuasive case if they took on some of the bigotry within the world of Islam as well.

(via Mediaite)

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