NYT op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof today writes, “I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.”
Yes, he says, there are violent and crazy Muslims: “In my travels, I’ve seen some of the worst of Islam: theocratic mullahs oppressing people in Iran; girls kept out of school in Afghanistan in the name of religion; girls subjected to genital mutilation in Africa in the name of Islam; warlords in Yemen and Sudan who wield AK-47s and claim to be doing God’s bidding.”
But: “I’ve also seen the exact opposite: Muslim aid workers in Afghanistan who risk their lives to educate girls; a Pakistani imam who shelters rape victims; Muslim leaders who campaign against female genital mutilation and note that it is not really an Islamic practice; Pakistani Muslims who stand up for oppressed Christians and Hindus; and above all, the innumerable Muslim aid workers in Congo, Darfur, Bangladesh and so many other parts of the world who are inspired by the Koran to risk their lives to help others. Those Muslims have helped keep me alive, and they set a standard of compassion, peacefulness and altruism that we should all emulate.
“I’m sickened when I hear such gentle souls lumped in with Qaeda terrorists, and when I hear the faith they hold sacred excoriated and mocked. To them and to others smeared, I apologize.”
Quite a contrast to the fervid lumping-together we see elsewhere. My right-wing pal, Chris Fountain, recently announced, “I don’t like these people.” He meant Muslims in general, as he later made clear.