Although Muslim reform may seem like an oxymoron to those who see Islam only through the lens of graphic violence, Muslim reformers have been in the sights of jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda for years. Their increasingly bold public stance has made them the natural enemy of those who seek to squeeze followers of Islam into a tight-fisted sectarianism at war with the entire infidel world.
Among the messages of sympathy that poured into London following the July 7 bombings were condolences from the governments of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iran, Turkey—all nations with majority Muslim populations—and at least two Muslim nongovernmental groups: Hamas and Hezbollah.
Despite Muslim denunciations of the July 7 bomb attacks in London, a number of British towns and cities have been targeted in an apparent backlash. Mosques in two areas of London as well as in Leeds, Telford, Bristol, Birkenhead and Norwich were attacked in the aftermath.
When photographs of Saddam Hussein in his underwear were printed in the New York Post and the London Sun, President Bush told the Associated Press: “I don’t think a photo inspires murderers. These people are motivated by a vision of the world that is backward and barbaric.” Then he added, “I think the insurgency is inspired by their desire to stop the march of freedom.”
If a Qur’an is accidentally dropped on the floor, the person who dropped it makes a contribution to charity in atonement. Copies are never placed at the bottom of a pile of books. And because the toilet is considered an impure place, the Qur’an is never taken into the bathroom.
The Fox television network has aired a public service announcement during its popular drama 24, urging Americans not to stereotype Muslims. The disclaimer aired during the show in early February about a counterterrorism unit in Los Angeles, which stars Kiefer Sutherland.
In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. For centuries they had been tolerated there, and their labor had helped to build a great country. But King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, anxious to establish their hold over a newly united Spain by means of the Catholic Church and the Inquisition, gave the Jews a stark choice: they must be baptized or flee.
U.S.-based Muslim organizations have decried the beheadings in June of two foreign workers by extremists in the Middle East. The slaying of Paul Johnson Jr., an American engineer in Saudi Arabia, and Kim Sun Il, a South Korean interpreter in Iraq, were both met with sorrow by Muslim American leaders.