I wrote an essay printed in this column last May in which I asked the question: "Where are the moderate Muslims?" My point was since only Muslim terrorists are mentioned in the daily news and in the absence of moderate Muslims stepping up and distancing themselves from these terrorists, it is possible that all Muslims will be looked at as terrorists. And that would be a deadly assumption.
The following week, Timothy Parsons-Heather wrote an essay that took me to task for such a view, and he supported his position by pointing out that moderate Muslims were to be found everywhere in our society.
Parsons-Heather wrote, "Spence will be pleased to know that I found those moderate Muslims she is looking for. They are everywhere, and America is better off." And he continued, "You will find American Muslims with the letters M.D. after their names working feverishly in emergency rooms extracting bullets from victims of the violence we have allowed to skyrocket ....”
Unfortunately, as we all learned only days later, the Muslim terrorists who crashed an explosive-laden SUV into an airport in Great Britain all had M.D. behind their name. They may also have worked feverishly in England's emergency rooms patching life back together, but they also worked to plan this terrible act of violence.
So as much as I wanted to think Parsons-Heather right, sadly, he was not. We have all learned that many terrorists are well educated with advanced college degrees. So letters behind a name or a noble profession does not guarantee noble behavior.
But I have found moderate Muslims. The Sept. 25th edition of USA Today carried an article by one of their reporters, Cathy Lynn Grossman. She began her article quoting a Muslim journalist from India saying he was stunned seeing Shiites and Sunnis praying together in U.S. mosques. "It is something we never see at home. They want to kill each other everywhere except in the USA."
The article outlined the history of Muslims in the U.S. They started out with such small numbers that all Muslims worked together to build mosques and to give service in the communities in which they lived. This is the only country in which most Muslims refer to themselves as simply Muslim. In all other countries, Muslims identify themselves by the sect to which they belong. . .
The Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, "America gives people the unique opportunity to leave cultural and historical baggage behind. We can serve as a model to the world of an Islam that is clear, calm, articulate, forthright and civil."
And 10,000 Muslims at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (an association of seven mosques in Washington, D.C.) applauded, then embraced, a new Muslim Code of Honor - this code pledges Shiite and Sunni respect and cooperation. It has been circulated amongst Muslims in California, Detroit and then to major U.S. and Canadian Muslim political, social and religious groups. The overwhelming majority has accepted it. And this past June, six large American Muslim groups launched an American-Iraqi Peace initiative to build harmony amongst Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq. (MORE)