Over at ISLAMiCommentary, TIF contributor Mbaye Lo sees a clear disconnect and calls for a retrospective analysis in the wake of the furor created by the film Innocence of Muslims. Noting the inadequacy of the subsequent discourse, Lo writes:
Most liberal academics and American Muslim religious groups tend to be apologetic about the behavior of citizens-turned-militants, rather than constructively engaging the militants’ arguments.
Meanwhile the militants themselves tend to monopolize the discussion. Thus, when one examines the discourse surrounding Islamic militancy, one finds a dialogue of the deaf or a conversation of indifference, in which the optimal goals of the participants are self-serving — monopolizing the discussion on “belief” based on a narrow interpretation of Scripture for the militants, and public relations for the academics.
There are two major claims that are consistently advanced by US-based stakeholders: 1) Islam is a peaceful religion and 2) the militants constitute a minority among Muslims. These claims — in the face of the numerous instances of violence associated with Islamic militancy — are simply not adequate. They are not the ammunition that academics and American Muslim religious groups need in the face of a rising tide of right-wing fervor on the part of both the Muslim jihadists and the Religious Right. The frailty of these arguments serves to reinforce the very stereotype that we, as academics, are trying to uproot.
Read the full essay here.