There is a lot of hate and vitriol flying around out there lately, admittedly on both sides of the political aisle, with regards to the refugee ban and stoppage of select immigrants recently enacted by the Trump administration. This article is not going to litigate that issue.
What this article is going to do though is hopefully enlighten some readers with regards to the contributions made by some Muslims to the war on Islamic terrorism. This author has been nauseated by recent tweets (I know, it is my own fault for spending too much time in the swamp) portraying all Muslims as woman-hating, female-genital-mutilating, gay-killing, anti-Jew and Christian heathens out to rule the world.
Some have even claimed to me that one cannot possibly be a practicing Muslim and at the same time be a good American. The underlying sentiment seems to be that Muslims are all imbued with a gene making them fundamentally unfit to be productive and functioning citizens of a democracy like ours.
Let me state at the outset: I place fully 90 percent of the blame for this flawed outlook on groups like al Qaida, the Islamic State, and all other violent jihadi groups, as well as on those regimes that have instituted some of the more draconian elements of sharia law into their national governance. I wholeheartedly agree that there are some backward-looking, damn-near-medieval-level assholes within the modern day Islamic faith. Stipulated.
My own personal experience with the Muslims alongside whom I have served, however, has shown me that painting them all with that particular brush is wrong. There are many, if not the majority, of Muslims who want to live in peace and run their own communities according to moderate Islamic-inspired rules and laws. They do not support radical Islamic groups, nor do they want to be at war with the West. I have met them. They exist.
Some have been so disturbed by what radical Islamic groups are doing to their faith that they have themselves taken up arms against these same groups. Not only that, they have sided with America to do it, and provided invaluable intelligence and combat service.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and counterterrorism units within the Kurdish intelligence services have been some of our staunchest allies for decades. They despise al Qaida and ISIS and fight them in Iraq and Syria. They are loyal to America as allies and they are Muslim.
Iraqi Arab Muslims (both Shia and Sunni) have battled ISIS and before that, al Qaida in Iraq, for years. Many have died fighting alongside American troops. They see radical Islamic groups as a grave threat to their country and want them eradicated post haste.
Scores of Afghan Muslims have also joined the fight on our side. Young men who signed up to work for America after 9/11, and have done so ever since, providing invaluable support at great risk to their own lives and the lives of their families for years now. I know them personally. They abhor radical Islamic jihadist groups. They admire America.
Pakistani and Afghan-Americans who are American citizens — some naturalized and some second-generation — still speak their native languages fluently and have volunteered to go to war zones and serve American interests against jihadi groups. They are Muslims and they are proud Americans.
How many total Americans have done the same over the last 16 years since 9/11? According to the numbers, about 5 million are currently serving or have served since September 2001. That is approximately 1.6 percent of 319 million Americans who have served in the military since 9/11. Many less than that have served in the intelligence and national security agencies.
It is easy to be a keyboard commando and type tough about how all Muslims are terrorists, they all want to mutilate females, throw gays off buildings, and kill Jews and Christians. I would guess, though, that lots (not all) of these tough-talking Muslim-haters have not lifted finger one to contribute to America’s war against Islamic terrorism. They would rather ridicule an entire religion from the safety of the United States while some of those same Muslims are overseas dying to protect America.
I, for one, know who I want on my side in the fight and it ain’t the rabid anti-Muslim tweet-warrior who has not bothered to sign up to fight. It is the guy who has been there for years putting his life on the line.
(Photo courtesy of SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)