Michael Levine: Time Magazine Got It Wrong

Monday, 27 Dec 2010 01:10 PM

By Michael Levine

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Today, there are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Time magazine’s "Person of the Year" should have been the Silent Muslim. The Silent Muslim is every Islamic man and woman who doesn’t sound off loudly and publicly to condemn terrorism committed by radicalized Muslims in the name of Allah. No one person or group could have more impact – positive or negative – on the world than the Silent Muslim silent no more.

If a political cartoonist dares to draw an unflattering image of the Prophet Muhammad, a million Muslims gather within 24 hours to protest in the streets all around the world, and a fatwa typically is issued against his or her life. To put that number in perspective, about 250,000 people attended the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now-famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Photos from that event show a crowd standing shoulder to shoulder for as far as the eye could see.

Four times as many Muslims have been known to come out to protest artistic license. Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered for his supposedly blasphemous documentary “Submission,” which portrayed violence against women in Islamic societies. Salman Rushdie had a contract taken out on his life – issued by religious leaders – after publication of “The Satanic Verses,” and it was a contract open for any Muslim worldwide to fulfill. Since when is Islam, one of the six great religions of the world, known primarily for revenge? Since when has revenge turned into the only recognized form of justice?

Where was the worldwide Islamic community’s outcry after 9/11, when 19 radicalized Muslims killed almost 3,000 people, many of whom also were Islamic? Where was the great Islamic community wail that should have been heard in the firmament above, bemoaning the ruinous course of a great religion – its detour being mapped by a few very sick, evil men in the name of Allah? May I say, I remember seeing many Muslims dancing in the street in joy over 9/11. Don't believe me — try YouTube.

I know that not every single Muslim is silent, just as I know not all Muslims are terrorists. It is public knowledge that some in the Islamic community are working quietly and effectively with various U.S. and international authorities to prevent or quell impending terrorist plots and sleeper cells. I applaud these people wholeheartedly.

But can you imagine what the world could be like if millions of Islamic people here and globally rose up and spoke in one voice to say, “Stop hijacking my religion by committing acts of violence I don’t condone!” Can you imagine what would happen if the holy imams threatened terrorists themselves by saying, “Anyone who commits an act of terror is no longer welcome in Mecca, or cannot receive a religious burial service, or be buried with honor”?

No mother ever wants to bury her child, so I place my hope in today’s modern mothers of Islam to bring an end to the perversion of heroism/martyrdom that has transmogrified Islam into a faith many of its own followers no longer recognize. It was the late Maria Antokoletz of Argentina and the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) who marched weekly in front of government buildings there and ultimately brought world attention to the millions of ‘disappeared’ husbands, sons and daughters – victims of a cruel and despotic government acting against the best interests of its own people.

Let today’s modern mothers of Islam say “No!” to the opportunity to receive a monthly stipend in exchange for a martyred child, whose pathway to heaven is accelerated by the promise of 72 virgins awaiting him.

Indeed, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has certainly impacted our world. Time magazine is right about that. It has provided a means by which people everywhere can connect and communicate about anything they deem worthy. Somehow, I think the worthiest issue all of us should be addressing is the increase in terrorism around the world perpetrated by radicalized Muslims, and the insidious acceptance of ourselves as hostages to an epidemic against which we feel impotent to stop.

My wish for 2011 is that we say, “Good-bye” to the fantasy of 72 heavenly virgins, and hello to sanity and peace.


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