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[This article is reprinted from DesMoinesRegister.com.]
You may get a hundred different answers from a hundred American Muslims about what it means to be an American Muslim. The controversial Islamic center near ground zero, while pouring salt in a yet widely-open national wound, did begin to awaken us to the yet unfought war of ideas within the “House of Islam.” Many of us reform-minded Muslims have been waging that war of ideas for most of our adult life, long before 9/11. But time has shown that we cannot wage this battle alone.
It may not seem to matter much for a faith community that is barely 1 percent of the population, but American Muslims carry an invaluable ability to influence the ideologies of over 1.5 billion Muslims — over a fifth of the world’s population. Until middle America realizes how our national security hangs in the balance of that intellectual war within Islam, our security will never improve.
The last 12 months have seen the most arrests and attacks of radical Islamists on Americans since 9/11. This was confirmed to Congress last month by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who also finally acknowledged the growing homegrown threat of radical Muslims.
Sadly, many of my co-religionists called on by media to speak for American Muslims too often wallow in denial, simply deflecting any responsibility by distancing themselves from radicals or myopically equating Muslim radicals to those of other faiths. They willfully ignore the main ideological conveyor belt towards radicalism — political Islam.
Most Americans no longer accept these detached irresponsible dismissals from leading American Muslims. They see so many examples of American Muslim clerics who condemn terror out of one side of their mouth while deceptively amplifying victimology, Islamophobia, anti-Americanism and morally vacant justifications from the other.
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