From the Editor

“Why do they hate us?” Part II

Editor Michael Sherer

Editor Michael Sherer

It really depends on who “they” are

A lot of response was generated by the editorial which appeared in this space in the October issue. Much of it was positive, but some readers concluded the editor was naive even to ask the question (two of the three forum items on page 5 of the December print edition belong in this category).

In a broadcast aired October 27, I heard another perspective on the question, “Why do they hate us so much?” A news anchor was interviewing a Muslim, a young man in his early twenties.
The reporter said, “So, tell me, do Arabs really hate Americans so much they want to destroy our buildings and kill our people?”

Her guest said, “This whole September 11 thing is really distressing for most Muslims. You can imagine it’s been hard for us, who don’t agree with what happened, to explain ourselves to the rest of the world.”

Then he added something I thought was truly remarkable. He said, “People say it was four American airplanes that were hijacked. But the truth is, a lunatic fringe that doesn’t even represent the values of the Muslim faith, nor the real spirit of the Koran, is trying to hijack Islam. Very few Muslims agree with them, but they’re acting as if they’re the only authentic version of our faith. The rest of us [in the Muslim world] have to do everything we can to make sure they don’t get away with it.”

He concluded by saying, “Muslims don’t hate Americans. In fact, we love almost everything the U.S. has accomplished. You’re successful. We want to be more like you. But,” he said, “what we do hate is that America lifts up the ideals of justice at home while defending the opposite overseas. A lot of the countries where the corrupt leaders have been propped up are full of disenfranchised Muslims. That’s what we hate!”
Discernment is in order here. Nobody justifies terrorism. But neither should anyone in this country justify a double standard (such as “Justice at home, expediency abroad” or “Our self-interest is all there is”).

And, while we’re at it, let’s work harder at discovering what Muslims really believe.