For a multimedia view of this article (inc. a video intereview): http://www.investig
Mansur: Ignoring Muslim-on-Muslim Violence Undercuts
June 15, 2010
The major threats to Muslims around the world don't stem from
In a recent interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Mansur, a Muslim born in
An example came last Wednesday, when 40 people died at their wedding party in
Like his anti-Islamist counterparts in the
Like millions of other Muslims in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mansur's family moved from
He points to a more recent example taking place right now in Darfur in
The Obama Administration is sending "a confused message," by courting Islamist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) while shutting out non-Islamist Muslims.
According to Mansur, these groups, frequently quoted in the media as representatives of American Muslims, are often linked with radical organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, Americans haven't heard "clear, unambiguous, categorical" denunciations of suicide bombings from U.S. Muslim organizations attacks since September 11. These Muslim groups have also failed to speak out clearly against Sharia and the repression of women in the Islamic world.
"Neither CAIR nor ISNA – nor any of the other [Islamist] organizations, as far as I know, have come out and said that we as Muslims in the West have a different perspective on the question of Sharia…and we're going to revise it," he said.
A better idea, Mansur said, would be to "unload" Sharia:
"What relevance have the views and opinions of the 8th-, 9th- and 10th-century men got to do with my life as a Muslim in the 21st century?"
These organizations operate as "PR operatives for the Middle Eastern states with which we have problems," Mansur said.
The biggest problems Muslims currently face are not with the
Mansur regards Islamist advocate Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder
In April, Ramadan made a largely triumphal visit to the
American organizations "were inviting Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hasan al-Banna, associated in the deepest sense with the ideals that came together" in the 9/11 attack on the
Cooper Union is a "sacred place" in American history "and you open it up to the people who want to subvert and destroy
He added that Ramadan's visit is symptomatic of a larger problem. American elites, including the White House, academia, the New York Times and Washington Post and the major television networks, are "preoccupied" with the views of a narrow, segment of the Islamic world that does not represent the interests of most Muslims.
Close to 80 percent of the world's Muslims are non-Arabs who are much more interested in bread-and- butter economic issues than in issues on the Islamist agenda like the Arab-Israeli conflict. "I think there is a profound distortion taking place, and we are getting a very narrow view of what is a Muslim perspective on history and politics," Mansur told the IPT.
"Underlying Grievances" and Blaming the West
Mansur was scathingly critical of comments by President Obama suggesting a connection between poverty and the attempted Christmas Day bombing near Detroit, and by White House senior adviser John Brennan, who suggested that dealing with "underlying grievances" is critical to defeating Islamist terror.
"I would say it's a totally disingenuous argument. The fact that it is being said from the highest pulpit in a free society, a political pulpit of the President of the
If poverty were the cause of terrorism, "why don't we hear about Indian Muslims strapping on bombs" and carrying out suicide attacks? Mansur asked.
A wide variety of Islamists ranging from Tariq Ramadan and the Muslim Brotherhood to Al Qaeda are making the same false argument "to further their own causes," he said. They "are using the poverty argument to create a smokescreen, to pass the blame, to make the West in that sense responsible" for producing the conditions that cause terrorism, Mansur said.
Mansur finds these arguments objectionable because they absolve Muslims of responsibility for their actions. They enable Muslims to blame the
Few Americans realize that the most victims of Islamism have been Muslims, Mansur argues. As an example, the Algerian civil war that began in 1992, killed more than 150,000 people in a fight pitting the nation's military regime against Islamist radicals. In
In East Pakistan (now
In this case, "the Pakistani military was killing their own citizens, and none of these people, by the way, have been brought to [judgment.]" The perpetrators of these crimes are "still running around in the West," Mansur said. "So you see the barbarity…the savagery, with which a Muslim state treats its own population."
In Mansur's view, The East Pakistan genocide bears disturbing similarities to today's events in
But groups like CAIR show little interest in discussing the mass murder of Muslims in
"In all of these cases, there is not a whit of taking responsibility, " Mansur said. Instead of using the Arab-Israeli conflict as a way to put pressure on
"There is no statute of limitation…for crimes against humanity," he noted.
Mansur said he sees some signs of positive change in
Pakistani elites are coming to the realization that their jihadist terror problem is homegrown. A growing number of voices are acknowledging "that we have to take responsibility, that [jihadism] is what we have nurtured and created," Mansur said. "I see that as a hopeful sign. I think that if