Muslims About Whom Obama Never Speaks

by Martin Peretz | March 9, 2010

We’ve had more than a few homilies from the president about how Islam is a communion of peace. And I don’t doubt that there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who yearn for quiet and productive lives. May Allah be with them, according to their prayers.

If they are a majority in Islam--and I’m not sure they are--they are a silent majority. In any event, the defining strain among many Arab and Muslim states is the reign of violence and the dread fear of it. Or the fear of wishing out loud for the calm of faith and the assurance of plenty.

The fact is that, in Turkey, in Egypt, and here in the United States, Obama has on several occasions spoken about what for many Muslims is a phantom Islam. A fantasy of his imagination and a long-held fantasy of Arabisants who lie--John Esposito, for example, and Juan Cole.

No, there is also the relative peace of Malaysia and Indonesia, very populous Muslim countries where killing is not a staple of ordinary life. 

Then there is the oft-neglected Nigeria (not to speak of other places in Africa), where Muslim killing of Christians is plentiful. I also know that, in benighted Nigeria, Christians do murder Muslims, and the last massacre of Muslims by Christians in the country is said to have happened in January. Alas, there doesn’t seem to be much reportage on it at all. Thus, in an otherwise morbidly brilliant article by Adam Nossiter in Monday’s New York Times, the January bloodletting is said to have precipitated these “apparent reprisal attacks.”

Nossiter’s report actually made me want to puke. Where are the Muslim elders lecturing or hectoring about how Allah’s faithful should not slaughter the faithful of Jesus? (All told, there were as many as 500 Christians in the body count.)

I do not expect anything like this from President Obama either. But perhaps the next time he orates orbi et urbi, to the city and to the world, he will resist rewriting both the past and the present of Islam and ask for Muslim tolerance, for Muslim learning in the sciences and the humanities, for Muslim encouragement of equal status for women, for Muslim revocation of the Satanization of Christians and Jews and Hindus. 

Mr. President, your ignorance of Islam has become a big and monstrous lie, no matter how melodiously your tongue speaks.

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