Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dr. David Grafton: The events at the US Missions in Libya and Egypt

LTSP Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations the Rev. Dr. David Grafton has posted this information on his seminary blog in reaction to the events at the US Missions in Libya and Egypt:

While there will continue to be a great deal of information forthcoming about the events that took place leading up to and following the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, American Muslim organizations have already begun issuing statements.

This pdf file with working links is a list of responses by American Muslim organizations and prominent American Muslim intellectuals, as well as a limited collection of statements by Libyan and Egyptian Muslim leaders.

Amercian Muslims were criticized after September 11, 2001 for not speaking out against terrorism.  While the criticism was unfounded in terms of responses by Muslim leaders around the world (See the CAIR's list of Muslim responses to 9/11, as well as Charles Kurzman's list of Muslim leaders around the world), American Muslim communities were slow to respond in 2001. This was primarily because the American Muslim community is extremely diverse with communal organizations that, at that point, had very few officially deputized spokespersons. Those larger America Muslim organizations were certainly not able or equipped to navigate dominant cultural media avenues.

In response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt on September 11, 2012, however, American Muslim organizations reacted very quickly, both in response to the attacks and protests, as well as the film on Muhammad that has sparked the initial controversy.

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, there was a rise in hate crimes against people of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S.,including Middle Eastern Christians and the Indian Sikh community, and American Muslims. Given the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin in July of this year, the likelihood of further violence directed against ethnic and religious minoritiy groups is very real.

It remains to be seen whether the initial responses of these American Muslims will be recognized by the U.S. media.

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