A recent spate of arrests of Muslims accused of terrorism in the United States has revealed that many of them were radicalized by militant preaching they found on the Internet.
Now nine influential American Muslim scholars have come together in a YouTube video to repudiate the militants’ message. The nine represent a diversity of theological schools within Islam, and several of them have large followings among American Muslim youths.
The video is one indication that American Muslim leaders are increasingly engaging the war of ideas being waged within Islam.
“We need to shepherd our own flock and to say that, theologically, these things are unacceptable,” said Imam Suhaib Webb, the educational director for the Muslim American Society, a grass-roots group in Santa Clara, Calif., who is among the nine in the video. “The Prophet Muhammad, when on the battlefield, saw that amongst the enemy there were innocent women and children killed, and he was openly angry. He is prohibiting us from killing the innocent. It is very clear.”
Mr. Webb said in an interview on Friday that as a white convert from Oklahoma, he had become deeply alarmed in the past year at the number of converts who had been arrested on charges of planning or carrying out violence in the name of Islam.
In July alone, one American convert in Virginia and another in Alaska who were arrested and accused of having ties to terrorism were both said to have been influenced by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born militant cleric now hiding in Yemen who maintains an active Web site.
Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky, who is also in the video, said, “We’re hoping that that loner out there who, because of internal turmoil, starts listening to the wrong people, that this message also filters into his ear.”
Color me skeptical… but open to the notion that this is the beginning of something needed, something necessary:
H/T Ann Althouse.