Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Having it Both Ways

Either Usama bin Laden was a Muslim or he was not.

He would have told you, prior to his head being blown apart like a misguided suicide bomber, that he was a Muslim. His followers, both during and after the blowing up of schools, weddings, hotels, subways, trains, airplanes, and city squares would tell you the same thing.

And yet, most of those within the western politic would describe Usama and his bloodthirsty minions as "misunderstanders of Islam." Western governments have undergone painstaking effort in separating the images of the jihadist bin Laden and the peaceful followers of Islam who are the "vast majority" of Muslim believers.

Our own government has fallen into this trap as well. George W. Bush has called Islam "a religion of peace." He also said "Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn't follow the great traditions of Islam. They've hijacked a great religion." He also said: "All Americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true faith -- face of Islam."

Current President Barack Obama has had a few things to say about Islam himself: “That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Both men have taken great care in addressing Muslim masses so as to be sure not to offend or to paint America's War on Terror as a War on Islam. Both men have made it known that they do not believe that terrorism is a part of true Islam. They both made it clear that they believed that Usama bin Laden, as a purveyor of terror, was not a true follower of the Islamic faith.

So, why is it, after the US heroically carried out a raid deep into Pakistan that lead to the timely death of Usama bin Laden, that US authorities felt it necessary to carefully treat Usama's carcass as if it were an esteemed vessel of Islam? Why would we, after our last two presidents have adamantly noted, and indeed, after moderate Muslims the world over have demanded, that terrorism has no part in Islam and that those who engage in terrorism are not true Muslims, even attempt to do anything other than unceremoniously dump Obama's body in a nameless garbage pit?

Either bin Laden was a Muslim or he was not. Perhaps the US isn't as clear on this concept as it has tried to convince us that it is.

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