Nihad Awad: ''Terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the faith, race or ethnicity of the perpetrators or the victims,"
CAIR: MUSLIMS SEE DOUBLE STANDARD IN 'TERRORIST' LABEL - TOPOmar Sacirbey, Religion News Service,
(RNS) When 19 Muslim men crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, it was widely labeled "Islamic terrorism," even as many Muslims cringed at the term.
So when nine members of a Michigan-based Christian militia, fueled by visions of the apocalypse, laid plans to gun down police officers, is it "Christian terrorism?"
Many Muslims, and others, think it should be...
Recent charges filed against the Michigan-based Hutaree militia are just the latest indication that terrorism is not unique to Islam, they say, and that other religious and ideological groups can commit violence for their cause.
Muslims aren't alone in seeing a double standard in the way terrorism is linked to Islam but not often to Christianity or other religions.
''I understand their frustration," said the Rev. Joel Hunter, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of Northland Church outside Orlando, Fla., who says the Hutaree militia gives the same bad name to Christianity as Osama bin Laden does to Islam.
''I can feel what Muslims feel when they watch those mischaracterizations of their faith, and wanting people to know that that's not what their faith is about."
The Hutaree militia isn't the only group that has issued an ideological call to arms. After Congress passed health care reform in March, at least 10 House Democrats reported receiving death threats, incidents of vandalism, or harassment, presumably from conservative opponents. In February, a Texas man, Joseph Stack III, flew his small airplane into an IRS office building in Austin, killing himself and an office worker.
''Terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the faith, race or ethnicity of the perpetrators [or] the victims," said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a statement that called on the U.S. government to condemn the Texas attack as terrorism. "If a Muslim had carried out the IRS attack, it would have surely been labeled an act of terrorism."
Muslims complain that although they and their leaders have condemned terrorism countless times, some of their critics still accuse them of not condemning it strongly enough. Given the recent acts of Christian and conservative terrorism, Muslims leaders said it's now up to Republicans and other conservative figures to condemn those acts.
''It's fair enough to say, 'Where do you stand on this?'" said Pamela Taylor, a Muslim activist in Cincinnati. Added Buetel, from MPAC: "The inconsistency is politically irresponsible."
Despite warnings about right-wing militias and the Hutaree arrests, many Muslims believe conservative figures —especially those who have embraced terminology like "Islamic terrorism" — have remained mostly silent on condemning right-wing violence.
Muslims point to the different labels used to describe Stack, the Texas man who flew his plane into the FBI office, and Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who's accused of gunning down 13 people at Fort Hood. Both men showed signs of mental instability, and both had political and ideological motivations for their violence, but Muslims say many of the same people who were quick to call Hasan a "Muslim terrorist" preferred to call Stack "mentally ill." (More)