Can We Lose the Violent Muslim Cliché?

Most Muslims, like most people everywhere, are peaceable and law-abiding. So why are we continually inundated with images and hate speech perpetuating this harmful lie?

There has been a lot of ranting about Muslims in the press, as when Bill Maher recently dissed the entire religion of Islam on television: “It’s the only religion that acts like the Mafia that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”

This is rather a harsh indictment of a religion that has 1.6 billion followers, making up nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Can there be any justification for this kind of talk?

One expects to hear such talk in Israel, and one does. The 19-year-old son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently posted a message on his Facebook page suggesting that Muslims “celebrate hate and death.” Like father like son, I suppose. The Israeli prime minister is no fan of Islam.

He was in New York only a couple of week ago, speaking at the United Nations, where he denounced “militant Islam.” Yet he made it sound very like every Muslim in the world was somehow tainted by their extremist elements. He singled out Iran, which he says is pursuing a “global mission” meant to export its violent revolution “to the entire world.”

That sounds very like “godless Communism,” which in the ’50s was regarded by many in the U.S. as wishing to export its “global mission … to the entire world”…

Who are going to believe? The writer or your lying eyes?