"Emotionally Devastating"


A reader writes:

What the hell are you thinking Mr. Sullivan?  Is it just me or did you just call every single Muslim sick, pathetic and miserable (amongst other things)?  I am Muslim by birth and I assure you that I have never laid a hand on anyone in my entire life, never wished ill towards any human being and the mere sight of violence on TV makes me ill to my stomach.  I rarely watch Rated R movies for that matter.

I am deeply hurt and offended by this knee jerk comment and would at the very least expect an explanation.  For someone whose sexual orientation has lead to persecution, you obviously have little to no problem persecuting others, in fact billions, for the crimes of a few.  What if someone had posted that blog but had removed Muslim and replaced it with Jew, Homosexual or Native American? You just ruined my Friday and broke my heart.

Coming from a family of loyalists with ties to the Shah of Iran, many of my family members were killed by the Mullahs for their political allegiance to the crown during the Iranian Revolution, some went into hiding in basements for years and for a lucky few, like my father and I, had to flee to a strange new world and start anew with nothing in our pockets but our dignity.  To see you so haphazardly clump me in with the terrorist scum is emotionally devasting.

The sentence he is referring to is as follows:

"There is something terribly sick within the Muslim mind at this moment in history. It is Nietzsche's ressentiment, but with God re-attached."

I did not write that Islam was sick. I did not write that all Muslims were psychologically sick. I have often printed and published emails and articles from sane and devout Muslims. I have great respect for Islam at its best. But something is sick within the Muslim mind at this moment in time, and it is not Islamophobic to say so. The major source of the mass murder and threat of mass murder in the world right now is rooted in Islam. It is waged in the name of Islam; it is justified by reference to Islam; it is a fundamentally religious movement.

Does it represent everything Muslim? Of course not. Go to Turkey or Indonesia or Dearborn or Manchester and you will find a very different form of Islam. I could equally say that at this moment there is something sick in the Catholic mind - and, in my view, there is. The toleration of massive child-abuse, the stigmatization of minorities, the policing of free thought, the acquiescence in the spread of HIV, the conflation of religion and politics among the theocons: yes, there is something sick in the Catholic mind as well right now. Ditto the Christianist temptation among evangelicals. As a Christian, I am not "emotionally devastated" by these criticisms. I regard them as essential to the resuscitation of a healthier, stronger Christianity. To my Muslim reader, I am sorry to have hurt your feelings. But my job is not to make you or anyone feel better. It is to write the truth as best I can.

And the sad truth is: no religion in the world right now has as many internal problems as Islam. The Muslim faith is being used to sanction mass murder; Islam is engaged in a civil war in which some Muslims are blowing up other Muslims' mosques and holy places; Islamic regimes are hanging gays and enslaving women and putting diapers on goats, while holding the world hostage to their own desire to wreak havoc on civilizations that have surpassed Islam in power and democratic freedom. I'm sorry if the truth hurts. But I'm not interested in writing lies. If more Muslims were as "emotionally devastated" by the carnage wrought in their name as the words on a blog, Islam would have a much healthier future.

(Photo: Wisam Sami/AFP/Getty.)