The need for Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed to constantly make this point is a problem
Dalia Mogahed once again appeared on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd. Dalia Mogahed is the co-author of the book “Who Speaks For Islam? and Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Earlier in the program spoke an inconvenient truth. It is so important to have voices like Dalia Mogahed on air especially in these times of overreaction and fearmongering. Chuck Todd deserves kudos for putting her fact based point of view on air.
Ms. Mogahed was a part of Chuck Todd's panel that seemed completely unable to coherently discuss the real state of terrorism. They continue to see the problem as an Islamic problem.
Chuck Todd asked if ISIS was preaching a strain of Islam.
"I would say that ISIS wants us to think so," Ms. Mogahed replied. "And I think that is the real anger here. What ISIS wants the narrative to be is that they are the true Muslims. They are standing with true Islam. Everyone else, people like me and Asra are the apostates. If we give into their narrative, we are actually doing their propaganda for them. I think we should really take that to heart and think long and hard about it. When Dylann Roof walked into a black church, he wanted to start a race war. We didn't let him do that because we didn't cast him as a representative of the white race. We didn't give into his narrative. We did the exact opposite. I think that we have to be careful not to give in to the apocalyptic narrative of ISIS that wants to start a war between Muslims and everybody else."
Ms. Mogahed is correct. Moreover, ISIS needs the type of overreaction Americans are so prone to. If the U.S. overreacts overseas and maligns both our American and foreign Muslims, then it is much easier to 'radicalize' or turn them into sympathizers of those seemingly fighting those who malign them.
Chuck Todd then asked a leading question in an intellectually dishonest manner. He said that the female San Bernardino terrorist's family said that as she got more religious she changed. He then asked if Americans could equate Muslim religiosity with a likelihood of being an ISIS sympathizer. Dalia Mogahed appeased Todd a bit with her response but made the necessary point.
"I can understand that," said Ms. Mogahed. "I think those are real fears. I think we have to keep a few things in mind though. This particular couple -- we are learning more and more about them -- first of all they actually stopped going to the mosque about two years ago. Another thing many people aren't talking about is that they targeted the only Muslim in the room and shot that woman 4 times. It was actually someone that use to go to their mosque. It is very hard to understand what inspire these people. But what we know broadly from research is that religiosity does not correlate with sympathy for terrorism. It is actually quite the opposite. The more religious someone is, the more often they go to the mosque, the more likely they are to reject attacks on civilians."
There are thousands in Right Wing militias in the United States, that the FBI is well aware of, who someday may present themselves with the same violence one sees from ISIS. One must remember that the same kind of terrorism that one sees with ISIS is the type of terrorism many blacks and other minorities suffered for decades in this country. We do not tell our entire history when we attempt to claim moral superiority. It is not hard to find pictures and stories of black men burned alive, castrated, and decapitated by one of the most vicious homegrown groups, the KKK.
Everyone should ponder what it would be like if we identified mass killings in the West by religion. It would likely open ones eyes. It would likely show our prejudice based on prescribed fear by our leaders as opposed to reality.