September 19, 2012
An Open Letter to Mr. Joe Scarborough:
On September 17 during your show Morning Joe, you stated that the Muslims and Arabs protesting in the Middle East over the controversial Innocence of Muslims filmmust “hate” America in part “because of their religion.” While I agree that there are many layers between the film and the actual reason for the hatred towards America, your generalization of millions of Muslims in those regions is irresponsible and inaccurate. Perhaps you should look what Islam has to say, including the holy book Qu’ran, about tolerance and non-Muslims:
- You shall resort to pardon, advocate tolerance, and disregard the ignorant. 7:199
- If you see those who mock our revelations, you shall avoid them…6:68
- During the time of Hudaibiyah, the Prophet Muhammad migrated to Mecca with fourteen hundred companions. The Prophet had ordered them not to carry any weapons of war. In fact, when he arrived, a peace treaty was made between Muslims and non-Muslims which included: “Both parties have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years. During this time, each party shall be safe, and neither shall injure the other; no secret damage shall be inflicted, but uprightness and honor shall prevail between them.”
These statements clearly show that Islam itself does not promote violence or hate. Instead, it is a small group of people in the world who happen to be Muslim that are inciting violent hatred towards the United States. When you generalize the entire religion, you make it seem as if being Muslim and having hateful thoughts about America go hand in hand.
Mr. Scarborough, this “savagery,” as you called it, put on by these Muslim protesters, is not about Islam. Rather, is about the upbringing and psychology of these people that forces them to publically fight against American values. While I disagree with the actions of these people, we must realize their environment and situation. These people are uneducated and act on pure emotion. Thus, they are easily persuaded to support and fight violently for causes that they are not even fully aware of. For example, Innocence of Muslims had only a few hundred online hits at most when these rallies and protests started. It is apparent that the citizens of these regions were following orders of a few radical individuals who have their own agendas, which include seeing America coming to its knees. As reporter Andrea Mitchell stated on your show that same morning, not all countries see America as the liberator.
In addition, you claimed that one intelligence person told you that “if you scratch the surface, and if you gave every street vendor, from street vendor to prime minister in that region a chance to throw a rock at the U.S. embassy, they would.” I take it you missed the Muslims in these regions who are peacefully protesting against the violence? I am a first generation American Muslim with parents who once lived in these regions. They would never, ever throw a rock at a symbol of America. That also includes my grandparents, cousins, relatives and others who still live there today. Instead, they are grateful for the opportunities our country has given them.
Now, while I understand that you are not a journalist—at least not in the traditional sense—I still think you owe it to your audience to do research beyond consulting one intelligence agent.
It is disappointing that a former representative and television host with such a large following like yours could just easily make such blanketing statements about an entire religion without any research that holds any ground. These grotesque acts we’ve witnessed recently in Muslim countries upset me too, but what’s even more upsetting is turning on my television and hearing a well-educated and respected host demonstrate the same type of ignorance. Your statements are heard around the nation, and when inaccurate comments like these are made, animosity grows towards Muslims on our homefront. This only adds fuel to the fire of ignorant people who make crude films like Innocence of Muslims or who burned down American mosques, like the one in Joplin, Missouri recently. Before opening your mouth and singling out an entire religion, you should take responsibility to do a deeper analysis of the aggressors. Americans see you as a role model, and I would hope you would like for all Americans to have the opportunity to see you this way, including proud Muslim Americans like myself.