By: M.L. Stein
Muslim group hopes to counteract what it sees as a distorted
view by the media that Islam and terrorism are interwoven sp.
AN AMERICAN MUSLIM organization has launched a newsletter to counteract what it sees as a distorted view by the media, public and government policy-makers that Islam and terrorism are interwoven.
The Counter Terrorism Chronicle will be published six times a year to provide “critical information” on the efforts by American Muslims to combat terrorism, according to its editor, Salan Al-Marayati.
Al-Marayati, 34, also is director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, which sponsors the eight-page newsletter.
“Very few people hear from Muslims on counter-terrorism,” Al-Marayati said in an interview. “They are talked about but not talked to.”
An American citizen with a degree in biochemistry from UCLA, he contended that many people think only of Muslims in their concerns about terrorism, ignoring acts of violence by other groups around the world.
The first issue of the Chronicle, published in March, featured an article by Fathi Osman, a Georgetown University lecturer, who maintained that the religious factor cannot be ignored in the guerrilla war between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and that terrorism was part of Zionism’s strategy in creating Israel.
Al-Marayati, however, believes that linking Muslims to terrorism is part of a deeper problem in America “that is tearing our society apart.” He compared the stereotyping of Muslims to the feelings toward illegal Latinos and inner-city African Americans.
“We must start addressing these problems without using religious or ethnic labels,” he argued.
“There is nothing in Islam that supports terrorism. We need to stop thinking of Muslims as a foreign entity engaged in criminal or anti-social behavior.
“This just adds fuel to the fire. If a Catholic bombs an abortion clinic or kills a doctor, or the Ku Klux Klan or the Jewish Defense League commits some egregious act, a whole religion is not blamed.”
The council’s director said there are between four and six million Muslims in the U.S., the vast majority of them outspoken against terrorism.
The Chronicle, he added, was created to develop an understanding that terrorism is a worldwide problem and to encourage a constructive dialogue in dealing with the issue. To that end, Marayati noted, the council has set up a meeting with Jewish groups in Los Angeles.
He said the Chronicle is being mailed free to hundreds of media outlets ? including all major newspapers ? Washington decision-makers, and various organizations.
The council, he continued, is supported by private donations and does not accept any contributions from Middle Eastern countries “or any other government.”
The initial issue also carried Reuters’ stories about U.S. assets reportedly held by Kahane Chai, a militant Jewish organization, and a U.N. Human Rights Commission report on terrorism and torture in Colombia.
Another article by Aslam Abdullah, editor in chief of Minaret magazine, condemned the American Jewish Congress for allegedly embarking on a “major political offensive against Muslims and Islam in the United States,” identifying them both as radical Islamic fundamentalists.
Al-Marayati said he already had received inquiries on the council from various media recipients of the newsletter.