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Muslims Must See the West Is Not at War With Islam

Author: Ed Husain, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
September 13, 2012
London Evening Standard

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Muslims rise to the bait every time. From Salman Rushdie to the Danish cartoons and now the US ambassador killed in Libya. A Right-wing Islamophobe in the West publishes incendiary material, and as if on autopilot, a Muslim mob will turn angry and unleash violence. How to stop these repeat performances of medieval intolerance?

I write as a Muslim. I detest the negative, to me blasphemous, portrayal in such films of the Prophet Mohamed I venerate and love. But in a free society I am fully within my rights to rebut the anti-Muslim propaganda with facts, not force.

To resort to violence is to lose the argument. The freedom of religion that allows 30 million Muslims to thrive in the West today came about because religion was mocked in Europe after the Enlightenment period — no single religion could enforce its will as "The Truth". The freedoms to proselytise, apostasise and blaspheme are all interlinked.

Without those liberties, we Muslims would not be practising religious freedom in the West, building mosques, creating cemeteries, prospering as faith communities. In other words, we cannot burn the very bridges that let us and other communities be here as free people.

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Islam and Politics

Speakers: Isobel Coleman, Ed Husain, and Michael Willis
Presider: Deborah S. Amos

Isobel Coleman, Ed Husain, and Michael Willis discuss the relationship between Islam and politics following the Arab uprisings, including how...