Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Earth to Friedman


Another July terrorist attack in the United Kingdom and another unsubstantiated claim by Thomas Friedman that Muslim leaders have failed to condemn acts of terror.

Following the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks in London, Friedman contended that "to this day -- to this day -- no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden."

This assertion was absurd at best and pernicious at worst. Note the ample documentation of fatwas against terror in general and bin Laden in particular by al-Muhajaba and UNC's very own Charles Kurzman.

Nevertheless, Friedman is at it again today, writing that "in the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amid innocent civilians — without making any concrete political demands and without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world."

As a great English teacher of mine once said: "No, Tom. Sometimes yes, but this time: no."

Not only does Friedman's argument ignore religious condemnations by traditional luminaries like Grand Imam Muhammad Sayyad Tahtawi of Al-Azhar University in Cairo and not so traditional but no less popular luminaries like Al-Jazeera talking head Yusuf al-Qaradawi, it also ignores the political realities of significant Middle Eastern countries, as Juan Cole noted two years ago.

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak routinely cracks the heads of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Many attribute his role in the alliance against Hamas to fear that a Hamas-stan in Gaza might spark an even stronger Islamist resurgence at home.

Here in Jordan, the government rounds up politicians associated with the Islamic Action Front, the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, on an almost weekly basis.

This, of course, is to say nothing of the less than peachy relations between secular and Islamist groups in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Palestine, Turkey and other parts of Friedman's uber simplified Muslim world.

So, Tom, neither "vigorous" nor "sustained condemnation in the Muslim World?" Really?

I suppose this is simply our luck.


salma said...

tsk tsk the audacity at questioning the accuracy and agenda of a three time pulitzer winner!

Naimul said...

What is wrong with you. That man was a Marshall Scholar. A MARSHALL Scholar. And here you are disagreeing with him?

Well said :)

Gale said...

Excellent point! Let's get the truth out there.

Lauren Jill Hatshepsut said...

Response to your first 5 paragraphs, at least: Yuck, and Vomit (sorry). But that's sure what I feel.