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Ali Eteraz is a liberal Muslim writer who, like Barack Obama, has not waited until he was old to write his memoirs: his book Children of Dust, according to the book website, is a "coming-of-age story" in which Eteraz "captures not merely pain, but also the love, laughter, and pathos of Muslim life." It is not surprising that such a writer would grapple with issues related to Islamic jihad violence. What is surprising is how he has done so, and what the implications of his stances are for those who are betting everything on peaceful Muslims combating Islamic jihadists within Muslim communities.

Eteraz once stated feebly that peaceful Muslims should remain silent in the face of jihadist violence and supremacism, claiming that Martin Luther King, Jr., stayed silent in the face of racist oppression. That was preposterous enough, but now Eteraz has made an even more preposterous move, going from supine passivity to defiance:

During the salat, or prayer, Muslims raise their index finger to bear witness to the oneness of God. In America today, with all the calls for Muslims to condemn every little act of violence committed in the name of their religion, Muslims should start raising up the other finger. The middle one.

There is no need for one Muslim to condemn the crimes of another. Collective responsibility cannot, and should not, be accepted. Where one accepts collective responsibility one opens the door to collective punishment. Are Muslims individuals? Or are they one singular marionette that pirouettes each time its string is pulled?


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