Editorial: Islam and its Responsibilities

February 9, 2003

Source: Los Angeles Times

On February 9, 2003 the Los Angeles Times printed an editorial by Mohamed A. Najmi stating that "today the United States reverberates with drumbeats of war, first against Osama, and now against Saddam. But there also is a dark, palpable aspersion against Islam. As Americans hear of terror erupting from all corners of the globe, U.S. Muslims are made to feel as if they have something to explain: Are they responsible for what is being done in the name of their religion?... In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy, a new and painful chapter has opened in the story of U.S. Muslims who largely have been below the radar for most of their existence in this land. Never in almost half a century of living in the U.S. had I found it necessary to explain or hide my cultural affinities. It pains me to admit that things are different... There is no simple and direct answer to what it means to be a Muslim and to what Islam teaches as a religion. It would be just as problematic to answer these questions for any other religion. Each of the world's great religions have not only fought other faiths but also spawned sects that have fought internecine turf battles throughout their troubled histories."