EDITORIAL: It was a murderer

Last night, I told the two thousand Jews in the audience at the Biennial about my friendships with Jews throughout my life. I told them about the Muslim theology of interfaith cooperation, from the story of God giving Adam the knowledge of the world’s diversity, to the Sura which says that God made people in different nations and tribes so we could come to know one another, to how Prophet Muhammad was sent to earth to be a mercy upon all the worlds.”
– Eboo Patel

The numbing news that a man murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood on Thursday afternoon jolted the nation, and it was followed by the painful aftershock that the alleged killer has a Muslim last name and by eyewitness accounts yelled a Muslim affirmation as he began the rampage.
The gasps and groans everywhere were almost audible. It is easy to make a link, including premature ones, between terrorism committed by Muslims and every Muslim who walks around in peace and goodwill.
Before a total rush to judgment, consider what Muslims who oppose terror or murder in any form for any reason say about the Fort Hood bloodshed.
Eboo Patel tried to make a clear distinction on Friday in On Faith, the religion blog of The Washington Post.
Patel is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based institution building an interfaith youth movement.
This is what, in part, he said about the murders at Fort Hood in the On Faith blog:
“I’m writing from Toronto, where last night I gave a plenary address on Muslim-Jewish cooperation to the Biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism. Backstage after the address, my friend Rabbi David Saperstein gave me a grim look and said, ‘The shooter had a Muslim name.’
“He called his wife who works for NPR, and his face got more grim as I heard him say:
“‘Are you sure he was a Muslim? Are you sure he was a Muslim?’
“He hung up the phone and turned to me. ‘This is our worst nightmare.’
“As Rabbi Saperstein – and you and I – know, there are a thousand voices saying a Muslim committed this heinous act.”
“… Last night, I told the two thousand Jews in the audience at the Biennial about my friendships with Jews throughout my life. I told them about the Muslim theology of interfaith cooperation, from the story of God giving Adam the knowledge of the world’s diversity, to the Sura which says that God made people in different nations and tribes so we could come to know one another, to how Prophet Muhammad was sent to earth to be a mercy upon all the worlds.”
This is the most important thing Patel said:
“But a Muslim did not do this. Killers do not deserve the honor of a religious label. The man who killed a group of brave American soldiers deserves one name and one name only: murderer.”
It’s reasonable to believe Patel because Christians need to have a long memory about what has been done in the name of the faith within the past century: So-called individual Christian Ku Klux Klansmen lynched and otherwise murdered innocent black people across the South because blacks’ full freedom was perceived as a threat to the way things should be.
The Klansmen no more represented all Christians than one Muslim gunman represents all Muslims.
We believe that will be the case with Islam in many pluralistic cultures when history writes its judgments.

NEMS Daily Journal