Americans and Arabs expressed frustration and mixed feelings in reaction to the brutal attack against two military installations in Tennessee on Thursday by a 24-year-old Arab and Muslim naturalized citizen. Four U.S. Marines were killed and another was injured in the attack. The killer, Mohammad Youssef (Youssuf) Abdulazeez was shot and killed by military police. But callers to me radio show in Detroit were disturbed about it from all sides
Podcast of radio show embedded below
By Ray Hanania
When the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and tried to crash their hijacked plane into the White House, Americans including where I worked, blamed all Muslims and Arabs for the violence.
I literally had a colleague screaming at me over the telephone and later to my face that “your people” were responsible. “My people?” I asked. “My people you crazy ignorant person,” I responded.
But I realized that not all Americans are educated, smart or intelligent, and some surrender to their fears, ignorance and even racism, as this woman colleague who harassed me at my former corporate communications position.
And that’s the same problem we face today, nearly 14 years later, as another act of violence by an individual who claims to be Muslim, kills innocent people out of their own twisted anger and corrupt logic.
I talked about the killings this morning on the radio show that I host occasionally in Detroit (WNZK AM 690) and in Washington D.C. (AM 700 radio) with callers. Hopefully, I will have the podcast up but we had some drone attacks from the CIA who hunted me down and took out the show twice during the hour long broadcast. (Well, technology interrupted the show twice, but we overcame it — we shall overcome, for sure in today’s Internet age.)
The feelings expressed were mixed. Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs, American Christians and Middle East Christians called to share their views. The bottom line is that despite the differences, many Americans are realizing that when a crazy person claims to be a Muslim, it doesn’t mean they are really Muslim at all.
Killing innocent people, especially on the most important religious day in Islam, the last day of Ramadan, the Eid, Thursday July 16, was an insult against Islam, not an act of obedience or act of faith at all. Many Muslims denounced Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez as a killer. So did many Christians who called.
We talked about several important points that came up on the radio show.
For example, why is it that many Americans demand that Muslims denounce the killings? Why is it that Americans insist that Muslims speak out against the extremism in the Muslim community?
I say that in this context, the Muslims ARE denouncing the violence but are Americans listening. And, does every Christian in America denounce publicly in the same way demanded of Muslims, the killings of Christians by Christians on the streets of American cities like Chicago, for example, where 433 mostly Christians were killed in 2014 by street gang violence? The killers — 99 percent of them — are Christians and the killing is an expression of their personal Christian faith.
Is the identity of a killer really that important? Or, is it only important when a Muslim or an Arab is involved in an act of violence?
One Christian caller pointed out that the Islamic Holy Book, the Qur’an, describes how the Prophet Muhammed directed his followers to “kill the infidels” as they spread the religion of Islam throughout the Middle East. Fair point. But, I countered that how many Popes since Jesus was crucified have turned to violence, oppression, murder and torture to strengthen their own political power? Need I give you a history lesson on the Borgias, three Catholic Church Popes who built up a brutal empire of greed, sadistic rule and murder and torture? Need I point out the Inquisition when the Christian Church hunted down Jews and others and tortured them and murdered so many?
So let’s not be hypocrites and point to the “history” of Islam as if it is any different than any other religion.
Didn’t the Jewish prophets wage war against those who lived in Palestine because God directed them to kill the infidels, too?
The real problem is that many people want to embrace answers of racism and stereotypes instead of accepting the crime for what it really is — Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez was a crazed maniac who turned to violence in Chattanooga, Tennessee to achieve something he believed in his twisted mind, and that he was probably trying to follow the lead of Daesh, or ISIS, a Nazi-like hate movement of violence in the Middle East.
Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez is NOT a Muslim terrorist. He was a “terrorist.” It doesn’t matter what he believed or what he embraced, and what he believed and what he embraced has no impact on others who may have shared the same religion. Islam is NOT responsible for the murderous rampage of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez. ISIS or Daesh may certainly be responsible, but they are political movements driven by a twisted sense of insanity.
The majority of Muslims don’t support ISIS or Daesh, but they do believe in Justice. And that means justice in instances in which many Americans don’t believe in justice, such as the fight for justice in Palestine and the fight against the growing extremism in Israel and among some in the Jewish community.
You don’t blame all Jews or all Israelis for the war crimes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his racist cabinet including the outspoken and proud racist hater, Ayelet Shaked. You blame the politics and you fight the politics and you wage war against the extremism, not against an entire religion or a race.
I don’t oppose Israel or Jews. I oppose extremists who have transformed Israel into an oppressive, brutal country. And I want to change that. I also fight the growth of Islamic extremism in the Middle East as much as I am fighting the growth and spread of Christian extremism and violence in America.
The White Supremicists are a Christian organization who proudly display the Christian Cross as their emblem. The white racists in the South who waved the Rebel Flag (Confederate Flag) are devout Christians who target not only Blacks, Asians and others because of racial differences but also non-Christians in their hate literature.
These are extremists, not Christians. And Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez is an extremist, not a Muslim, even if he had a Muslim name, was raised in Islam and came from an Arab country, Jordan after his family left Kuwait where they originated.
It’s not easy to do the right thing. It’s so much easier to hate, because you don’t have to explain hate. But when you stand up to hat, and racism and stereotypes, it is tougher to overcome the blind emotions and rage of those who use hate as an answer for their actions.