Last week I came across this opinion piece from the San Antonio Express-News. The writer, Mansour El-Kikhia, laments the fact that Islam is villified. He blames quite a few people for this: the Bush administration, Israeli leaders, the Pope, and members of the national security industry such as Boeing. Notice anyone missing from that list?

It doesn’t seem to occur the Mr. El-Kikhia that perhaps some of the criticism of Islam is the result of actual Muslims. Surely he is aware of 9-ll, since he makes a passing reference to it. But he doesn’t think that the fact that almost 3000 Americans were killed by Muslims has anything to do with the current attitude Americans have towards Islam. Instead, he thinks it is because the powers that be need someone to take the place of the Soviet Union as our Big Bad Wolf.

I think a more reasonable explanation is that Americans watched as the Twin Towers fell, and afterwards they learned that the people that flew the planes into the buildings were Muslim. That influences our feelings toward Islam much more than anything the Pope or anyone else says.

I can understand Muslims wanting to defend their faith. But if they wish to be taken seriously by non-Muslims, then they need to direct criticism at their fellow Muslims as well. Pretending that the current feelings toward Islam are due to various conspiracies might make them feel better about their religion, but it won’t change many minds. Christians have a saying about removing the beam from one’s own eye before trying to remove the mote from someone else’s. I don’t know if Islam has a similar teaching, but people like Mr. El-Kikhia would do well to follow it.

(via Real Clear Politics)