Mehreen Faruqi at CiF doesn't see why she, as a Muslim, should be pressured into apologising for the actions of Isis:
A British charity group has given Muslims an opportunity to participate in a social media campaign declaring that the brutal actions of Isis are “#NotInMyName”. Its intentions are good, but does this latest attempt to encourage Muslims living in western countries to dissociate themselves from Isis entrench the opposite view? Really, the campaign says that Muslims are somehow responsible for the atrocities taking place in Iraq and must speak out against them to prove otherwise.
No one can deny that video footage of journalists being beheaded by Isis operatives and ongoing news of vicious massacres are extremely distressing, eliciting a raw emotional response, requiring us to take action. But why should a whole community be compelled to apologise for or distance themselves from despicable actions they have no part in?
After all, we don’t hold this expectation for citizens who practice other religions. As George Megalogenis aptly tweeted:
We don't ask Oz Catholics to condemn child abuse when church has caused harm. Why hold law-abiding Oz Muslims to a higher standard?
Um...because even the most egregious Catholic child abuser doesn't justify his crimes by appealing to the teachings of the Bible. The Isis killers, on the contrary, are absolutely clear that they're acting in the name of Islam, and can quote chapter and verse in the Koran to justify their actions. An obvious point, you'd have thought....
But this is, of course, all about playing the victim:
As a Muslim living in Australia, I can understand the instinctive compulsion to sign up to this defensive campaign to reassure the world at large that Isis does not represent Islam, nor my views. We can often feel pressured to vindicate and protect ourselves against the racist attacks being hurled at the Muslim community at the moment, as well as a lingering fear of persecution and Islamophobia.
And about laying the blame elsewhere:
However, our actions may well be misguided and distracting. We instead need to ask the difficult questions: would Isis exist today without the devastation of the Iraq War, the more than a decade of crippling Western sanctions on Iraq that killed half a million children, or before that, the West’s unflinching support of the dictator Saddam Hussein?
At a time when, above all, calm heads and hearts should prevail to devise strategies that address the root causes of such brutal conflicts, we seem to be focussing on just the symptoms. Unfortunately, the #NotInMyName campaign diverts attention from the underlying causes that have led to the current situation.
Nothing to do with Islam, then. No need to feel any sense of shame on behalf of your religion.
We should be flipping the terms of the debate from exacerbating war and division to bringing peace and unity, including eliminating injustice and discrimination, providing equal and fair economic and social development, environmental sustainability, and respect for human rights. Leadership and courage at this time is about embracing the complexity of such terrible situations, not just focussing on the symptoms of historical blunders.
That's all very nice, but it's clearly directed at the author's own situation as a Muslim in the west, couched in boilerplate western liberal-speak. Environmental sustainability?? What on earth has that to do with the slaughter of helpless civilians by a bunch of Islamist fanatics in Iraq and Syria? Are the decapitations really a protest against inaction over global warming?
In some ways, getting involved in #NotInMyName is a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. If Muslims choose not to participate in campaigns like this, we may be attacked for not calling out Isis.
But if we do take part, it creates an expectation that it will be done for every atrocity committed by someone who happens to be Muslim.
The Isis killers don't "just happen to be Muslim". Islam is right at the heart of what they do and why they do it.
Perhaps some tiny consideration might be given by other Muslims such as Faruqi to countering the barbarity of Isis as an expression of their faith. But that would require stepping out of the victim role for a moment.