One of the questions I most often get is this: Why don’t Muslims speak out
against the terrorists? It’s a fair question, because we don’t often hear

I haven’t had guest bloggers in the past, but I thought this was worth
posting. Eboo wrote this for our website, but I
wanted to post it here as well.

Muslims Speak Out
by: Eboo Patel

I recently wrote a piece for USA Today where I expressed my strong opposition to Muslim extremists, my belief in American pluralism, and my desire to partner with Americans to defeat extremists and achieve pluralism. I got some interesting responses to this article.

One man commented: “The #1 argument we have against your people, referring to the non-violent amongst you, and that is as a whole, there is virtually nothing uttered which would condemn those in your ranks creating violence via killings and attempted ones. You all, again as a group, DON’T speak out against others of your ethnicity, possibly because of fear of retribution…but frankly, it does sicken us.”

It sickens me too.

As an American, as a father, violence like this sickens me – that’s why I wrote the op-ed.

But I know that I’m not the only Muslim who reacted this way. Outside that courthouse in Detroit when Umar Farouk Abdullmutallab was arraigned, were Muslims holding signs – signs like “Not in the Name of Islam,” “We are Americans,” and “Islam is Against Terrorism.”

And there are, in fact, a chorus of insightful, diverse Muslim voices speaking out against violence in the hijacked name of our religion. They don’t get as much attention in the media – so I’d like to point out a few.

Shahed Amanullah is an award-winning journalist, and editor-in-chief of, an interactive news and discussion forum promoting a critical (and self-critical) analysis of issues regarding the Muslim community. There is much on AltMuslim that not only decries the violence addressed above, but also analyzes what we can do about it. Read this piece from Shahed on Confronting Radicalization Online.

Reza Aslan, author of the widely read How to Win a Cosmic War is another Muslim who makes a point of speaking out on this issue. In a recent NPR interview, he pointed out the dissociation of radical Jihadists from Islam.

“In fact, in many ways, you have to understand jihadism as an anti-clerical or anti-institutional movement. In fact, the jihadists define themselves in direct opposition to the traditional religious authorities –the imams of Islam. They find the traditional imams to be painfully out of touch. They believe the religious and political leaders of Islam have been adulterated or co-opted in some way.”

Finally, one of the best Muslim-authored pieces analyzing the Christmas Day violence, and offering further suggestions for the American Muslim community was Haroon Moghul for Religion Dispatches.

“In both the case of the five young men who went from America to Pakistan and Umar Abdulmutallab, their own families warned the relevant authorities. Their actions argue that for all those who feel that acting violently redresses an injustice against the Muslim world, those near to them disagree enough to resist. Such a fracture within households suggests the intimacy and depth of the struggle, a battle that travels the Muslim world and unites it anew.”

It is my deepest hope that nothing like this ever happens again – but if it does, I know that my fellow Muslims will continue to speak out against those who commit violence in the name of Islam.