A Short and Open Letter to Glenn Beck

Allow me to stand up and be counted amongst your enemies. Why, you say? Because I am everything that you despise. I am a Muslim.
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Mr. Beck:

It seems that the Muslims of the world (and not just those who are out to do you harm) offend you, so allow me to stand up and be counted amongst your enemies. Why, you say? Because I am everything that you despise. I am a Muslim, you see (a Shia, in case you were wondering, and yes, descended from the Prophet, in case you were wondering further). "But" (and excuse me for using the word you seem to hate), I'm not your sort of Muslim. I feel no compunction to apologize for the actions, heinous as they may be, of other people who were born into the same religion as I was. I feel no special draw to the street to shout at the top of my lungs every time a Muslim commits a crime of terrorism (or any other crime, for that matter). And why not? Because I don't feel that I need to prove to you (nor to anyone else) that I'm not an enemy of the state. I don't feel that I somehow represent Muslims, or Muslim thought, in America. And because I have nothing to do with Muslims who are criminals or terrorists and whose only "community" is a community of hate; but perhaps you believe in collective guilt?

I say that I should be counted as your enemy because if asked, and I sometimes am, to comment on acts of terrorism perpetuated by my co-religionists, I have been known to employ the word "but"? As in, "but in order to understand their actions (if you are interested in understanding), you must look to the root of their grievances." I don't consider the use of that word and the concept that we might wish to understand the actions of terrorists to be at all problematic, disloyal, or unpatriotic. I believe that there are teams of Americans throughout the national security apparatus whose jobs are to do exactly that: try and understand why terrorists might wish to attack us.

Finally it seems, Mr. Beck, that you believe that there is a "Muslim community" lurking somewhere about. I shall attempt to disabuse you of that notion. Osama bin Laden wishes there were a "community", as in an Ummah that owes allegiance to a Caliph (presumably him) and a Caliphate, but I'm afraid he's way off the mark. There's no "Muslim community", not even in America where Muslims are in the minority, because there are too many different types of Muslims around, just as there are too many different types of Christians in the world for them to be thought of as a "Christian community". As for Osama: oddly you seem to share at least one of his most noxious ideas. He, you see, declared attacks on American civilians to be kosher (or halal, I guess) because he believed that American citizens are responsible for the actions of their government, and that there are no innocent Americans as long as they approve of (even through inaction) of US foreign policy that results in the death of Muslims (remember Ward Churchill's "little Eichmans" remark?). You, on the other hand, suggest that unless the "good" Muslims stand up and condemn every terrorist (without saying "yes, but"), and unless the Muslim "community" demands to be allowed to shoot its own troublesome members (in the head?), then, well, there might be no Muslim innocents and if they all end up in concentration camps, they have been given fair warning. Thank you, incidentally, for that warning, but I prefer to have a little more faith in my fellow Americans than you.

(I guess not) Yours,
Hooman Majd

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