Image of Muslim Americans Complicated
Jim Bertel, Voice of America, 9/16/05
A terror investigation in California; arrests in upstate New York; a charity shut down for illegal activities. For some, these images define American Muslims. The Muslim community says these images are wrong. But the picture is a bit complicated.
In the United States, a country founded on religious freedom, Islam thrives. With more than five million members, it is the fastest-growing religion in the country. Its members trace their roots to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, a microcosm of the Islamic world.
But after Islamist terrorists turned planes into weapons four years ago, Muslim Americans have seen their religion severely criticized, with some outspoken critics describing Islam as a terrorist organization. Rabiah Ahmed, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says Islamist terrorists are not true Muslims.
“These extremist views — who are actually acting outside the fold of Islam — use our religion, manipulate it to promote their political agenda,” she said. “And unfortunately a couple of people who are acting outside the fold of Islam — like these terrorists — will get more headline coverage than thousands of Muslims who condemn terrorism.” (MORE)