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Friday, July 22, 2016

Consistency Is The Missing Ingredient Some Have When Judging Others

Those who pay attention to the news need no introduction to Franklin Graham (click here for bio). He has recently written an alarmist article for USA Today regarding the presence of Muslims in America (click here for the article). His point is that though a Pew Research Center poll shows the vast majority of Muslims in America as being peaceful, there are enough Muslims here so that even if a small percentage of them sometimes favor violence for jihad, they can have a great impact on our nation. In particular, Graham is concerned about the number of Muslims America who believe that violence against civilians can be justified either occasionally or often. 

What alarms Graham about the percentages is that since there are approximately 1.8 million Muslim adults live here, even a small percentage of Muslims can number over 100,000. And since it is a small percentage who believe that violence against civilians is either sometimes or often needed for the sake of jihad, the mere presence of so many Muslims in our nation poses a threat to all of us. But that is not all. When one applies these percentages to the number of Muslims throughout the world, we are no longer dealing with a 100,000, we are dealing with over 100,000,000. And if the number of Muslims in America who believe that violent attacks are at least occasionally justified for jihad is bad enough, over 100,000,000 n the world has Graham very concerned.

Graham's inconsistency is easy to spot. Whereas he is alarmed by the potential number of Muslims who would consider using violence for their religion, we might ask Muslims if they are alarmed by the number of Americans who would support their government's foreign policies that attack different nations in the Middle East. We might also ask them if they are alarmed by the percentage of Americans who support Israel's brutal occupation against the Palestinians. And here, we might want to ask Graham if Muslims have just as much right to be concerned about the percentage of Americans who support America's current foreign policies as he is about the number of Muslims who think it is justified to use violence against civilians for the sake of jihad.

Graham's inconsistency is easy to spot when you are looking from the outside in. But we must give Graham the benefit of the doubt in terms of being able to spot his inconsistency from his perspective. After all, he is politically conservative and seems to mix American patriotism with some of his religious views. His patriotism might cause him to cringe at the thought of equating support for American foreign policies with jihad. But there is another reason in addition to his patriotism. For when we compare either the number or percentage of Muslims who would employ violence against civilians for the sake of jihad with the number of Americans who support our foreign policies including the violent ones, those on Graham's side point out that those Americans who support those policies would not exercise violence themselves in contrast to their Muslim counterparts would personally visit violence on others. However, we Americans need to realize that just because we are not the ones being violent, if we support someone else's violence, then we are as guilty as our Muslim counterparts who would use violence against others. In other words, just because we use proxies, that is the military, to visit violence on others, doesn't make us any less guilty for any resulting violence from our support than our Muslim counterparts who would directly use violence against civilians.

To rely on proxies to do the dirty work of our violence is nothing more than an attempt to imitate Pontius Pilate when he washed his hands after Jesus's trial. In the end, whether one group exercises violence directly or they employ the military to do the violence for them, violence is used and pepole are hurt, sometimes irreparably. And if Graham has the right to be concerned about the possible number of Muslims in America or the world who would consider visiting violence on civilians, Muslims have an even greater right to be concerned about the percentage of Americans who would support American military action in Muslim nations. They have a greater right because of the might of our military.





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