I am a Muslim, and I am not going to apologize for the acts of extremists. Do I condemn them? Of course. But I don’t have to constantly express that, and I definitely shouldn’t be expected to just because I’m Muslim.
After the recent public beheading of foreign journalists and foreign aid workers by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Muslims became the target of social stigma.
ISIS is a radical extremist group, mainly located in Iraq and Syria, that seeks to establish a caliphate, or Islamic State, for all Muslims. They established a caliphate in June 2014 and declared non-Muslims and Shiite Muslims as their main enemies; that’s when they gained attention around the world. Their strict and incorrect enforcement of Sharia Law, along with their public executions, caused a backlash against ISIS.
Muslim extremists’ misrepresentation of Islam has once again caused Muslims around the world to defend their religion. Just because we share a religion does not mean our actions and intentions are the same. However, when public apologies for ISIS didn’t come fast enough, people started accusing Muslims of not condemning them.
Radio Host Laura Ingraham broadcasted on The Laura Ingraham Show that not enough Muslims are speaking out against ISIS. I could say not enough Christians are speaking out against the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, or not enough Buddhists are condemning the Buddhist group slaughtering Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar. But I don’t, because these extremists are minorities within their religions, just like ISIS, the Taliban and al-Qaeda are.
In Islam, violence toward or killing of innocents and enforcing Islam on non-Muslims are forbidden. There are even strict guidelines for warfare. These extremists carry out barbaric acts for power and use their religion as an excuse.
However, many Muslims have spoken out against ISIS. More than 120 Muslim scholars and leaders have signed an open letter to ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi condemning his organization and practices. Even in Iraq, Sunni and Shiite clerics declared a fatwa, a legal opinion made by an Islamic scholar, in over 50,000 mosques, stating the establishment of a caliphate by force is wrong, along with killing innocents and violence. Just because the Western media isn’t covering it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
It’s not right to paint the same extremist image over a billion Muslims. That’s why I was pleased to see #MuslimApologies spread across social media. The trend countered #NotInMyName, a hashtag some Muslims used to apologize for the acts of ISIS and explain how ISIS is going against the teachings of Islam.
#MuslimApologies consisted of Muslims reacting to the absurdity of the expectation to apologize for a radical minority that they reject.
Apologizing means to take ownership of one’s actions and to openly regret causing the problem. But most Muslims had nothing to do with the creation of ISIS and discourage such acts of discrimination and violence. Corrupted governments caused ISIS to flourish, not Islam.
#MuslimApologies shows an entire religion is not responsible for the acts of a minority and it’s ridiculous for us to apologize on behalf of something we have no part in.