The Big Lie About Muslim Silence on Terrorism

Today I had to refute yet again the Big Lie that hounds the Muslim community — that we fail to speak out and condemn terrorism.

I was being interviewed by the wonderful radio host Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones about my new novel Mother of the Believers. Dr. Jones is a deeply spiritual man whose show always features uplifting themes and speakers. And he went out of his way to make me feel welcome.

But as a good journalist, he had to ask the question he felt his audience wanted answered — “Why do mainstream Muslims fail to speak out against terrorism?

It is a question that I get almost every single day, and it leaves me flabbergasted. I often respond to that question with one of my own — “Why does the media fail to report on Muslims who condemn terrorism?”

Since before 2001, every single major Muslim group in the United States has been outspoken in their condemnation of terrorism and the murder of innocent people in the name of Islam. And yet the media ignores it. Every single time.

Don’t believe me?

Go to

That site lists links to dozens of major Muslims group and Islamic scholars who have condemned terrorism as a violation of the fundamental moral precepts of Islam.

Want more?

Here’s a compilation of Islamic fatwas against terrorism by Juan Cole, scholar of the Middle East and author of Engaging the Muslim World.

Cole’s list was compiled after Thomas Friedman wrote an outrageous column in The New York Times claiming that “no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama Bin Laden.”

Friedman knew (or should have known as an alleged Middle East expert) that what he was saying was a lie. But he chose to publish this garbage anyway, giving it the full credibility of the Times.

What was so shocking was that Friedman’s column was published on July 8, 2005. But three months before, on March 11, 2005, a group of Spanish imams issued a fatwa against Osama Bin Laden:

So what is going on here?

As one of the few Muslims who has worked inside Hollywood for the past 7 years as a writer and producer, I can only explain this shocking lie that has become a national meme as the product of an intentional media agenda.

There is a real political agenda inside the media itself to keep Islam as the enemy, and to portray mainstream Muslims as a fifth column inside America. The idea that your Muslim neighbors are silently supporting Bin Laden sells newspapers. It captures the attention of viewers of the nightly news. And it furthers the ambitions of politicians who need a rallying point to get votes.

As a Muslim and a patriot I don’t know what more to do except to keep telling the truth every time I get the opportunity.

But I ask my non-Muslim friends this question. How would you feel if your community was being falsely portrayed as being sympathetic to murderers by the media? How would you feel if every single thing you do to condemn and fight such criminals is intentionally ignored? What would you conclude about the character and motivation of people that continue to spread a lie against millions of your fellow human beings?

If you can take a moment to consider, you might get a sense of the true burden your Muslim neighbors carry. The world wants us to be the monsters. When we condemn and fight the monsters, no one notices or cares. It’s like the army telling a soldier who has just survived a hellish firefight that he was never in the war in the first place, and condemning him for his cowardice.

It would be a formula for despair for most people. And yet what is remarkable is that Muslim groups continue to patiently work against terrorism in accordance with their faith, even though they receive no credit for their deeds. They are secure that everything is in the hands of God. And, as the Holy Qur’an says, that the light of truth will never be put out by the mouths of liars.

Last year, I attended the Pilgrimage to Mecca, a powerful, life-changing event that I chronicled on my personal blog at

One of the most remarkable stories that I heard when I was there was the tale of Abraham, who Muslims believe founded the first settlement at Mecca with his son Ishmael. The Angel Gabriel appeared to him and told Abraham to climb a mountain and call mankind to God.

Abraham was incredulous, and responded that there was no one in the barren desert valley except him and his family. Who would hear the call?

And Gabriel smiled and said: “Just call mankind to the truth. God will make sure it is heard.”

20 Responses to “The Big Lie About Muslim Silence on Terrorism”

  1. manzer Says:

    Very well written. Thanks. Next time anyone says Muslims haven’t condemned enough I will give them a pointer to this.

  2. Elroosie Says:

    Thank you for shedding the light on this topic, I also wanted to thank you on the book that you wrote…we need more books and movies explaining Islam to the world. Ignorance is a black hole that sucks procrastinators into it.

  3. Salah Ben Shehub Says:

    We are very proud of you as a Moslem success story. We need more of you to make every one in the world understand that we are not about failures and bad news.

  4. Nadia Bilbassy Says:

    Dear Kamran,

    I sent you an e-mail earlier through this website. I am trying to contact you about conducting an interview for your recent book, “Mother of the Believers.”

    Please reply and let me know if you would be interested.

    Best regards,
    Nadia Bilbassy

  5. Suhail Shafi Says:


    You are truly amazing. Please continue with your excellent work


  6. Valentina gasparato Says:

    Thank you very much for your words.
    I strongly believe that people of every religion should support truth, life and cooperation, and you are one of those!
    Best regards
    Valentina Gasparato

  7. Tom Alston Says:

    I know excatlky how you feel. I also belong to a group that matches a profile that is lied about and “villianized” in the media every day.

    I am a white (SOMEHOW MAKES ME A RACIST) business owner (SOMEHOW MAKES ME A CROOK) in the State of California (WHERE ALL CITIZENS WITH JOBS ARE TREATED LIKE CHATTEL) that fights to protect the rights of taxpayers. (THE FED CLASSIFIES ME AS A TERRORIST). I am also a Scientologist. (MEDIA LABELS ME AS A CULTIST.

    Gabriel is correct. Truth must be told over and over to combat the lies.

  8. Carl Watts Says:

    It would appear that publishing the truth isn’t “news”. Publish the Obama and McCain efforts and totally shut out Ron Paul. The media is bias and is a paid communication line. I would suggest that the Muslim’s team up with Ron Paul. He is a man of integrity from my observation.

    Anyway, I posted a link to this article on my site and sent a twitter message out to thousands to check out this page. Carl the Poet

  9. Kurt Tuffendsam Says:

    Again thank you for your incredible insight and passion to bring to light the truth about Islam. The news media is not journalism it is entertainment and unfortunately Muslims have been cast as the villain in every production. The insight you gained from your pilgrimage to Mecca about Abraham’s interaction with the angel Gabriel and his charge to speak the truth of God and God will make sure it is heard is inspiring.

  10. Jerrye Albert Says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I totally agree with you…I find the media biased on many topics, and I consider the media to be very tightly controlled, and that we are given lies. Reminds me of the book “1984” by Orwell, wherein the “enemy” is invented. This is so in this case. Salaam Aleychem to you.

  11. Oliver Asato Says:

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you for your article. I know that there are many good Muslims out there (if there weren’t, Islam would have disappeared centuries ago), but I am continually baffled why I don’t hear voluminous objections to the crimes against humanity carried out by some hateful individuals. Your article explains what is happening.

    Just so you know, the Jewish holocaust did not occur overnight. It was an orchestrated public relations campaign that quietly and effectively dehumanized the Jewish people making it publicly alright for non Jews to commit crimes against Jews. This was also used as a political control tool by those hateful individuals in power.

    Oliver Asato

  12. Ellis Kryptar Says:

    It is most pleasing to come across your comments and the listings you provide with condemnations of terrorism from within Muslim communities. Surely I am like many in America, someone who gets his impressions of Islam and Islamic terrorism (now is that a just characterization or more media spin? Is it fair to call terrorism in Muslim communities “Islamic terrorism”?) from ordinary media outlets.

    Despite your comments and those long lists (alas, many of those links are now broken, and quite a few others are from one voice, Al-Muhajabah), I remain puzzled by a couple of things. First, that there have been celebrations captured on video in Islamic communities of Muslims enjoying the acts of terrorists. I recall some pictures of this sort just after the 9-11 event. What I don’t see — is this media oversight? — are demonstrations in the streets by Muslims protesting terrorist acts. In fact one reason the West was surprised, even elated, by the recent protests in Iran (after the election) was that the media had not previously witnessed similar protests anywhere in the Muslim world. Those Iranian protests were viewed by the West as an expression of sanity and a wish for peace and modernization in that country — in other words, those protests gave evidence of a public wish quite quite opposite to what the media had otherwise and previously been able to show its audiences. Are we to suppose the media is overlooking public protests against repression and terrorism in other Muslim communities? That seems to be what you are suggesting.

    I have not been so naive to assume all Muslims are terrorists, but I have just assumed ordinary peaceful Muslims are afraid (as I would be) to come out to demonstrate in this way, and for more than an obvious reason. That obvious reason: that they may put themselves in jeopardy of physical harm from those who do actually celebrate terrorist acts. But more importantly, it is an impression in the West that there’s an undercurrent in at least some Muslim communities that it is unIslamic to demonstrate against terrorists, if only because by doing so the protester may imply he does not object to the injustices often held up as reasons for terrorist actions — for example, the subjugation in Palestine comes to mind. The impression is that if you protest terrorism, you risk excommunication from your own community, because you’re then thought to be consorting with the enemy (often labeled “the West” and the target of terrorists). Lastly — again this is a media-disseminated idea — we hear in the West how various entities (Iran is most talked about) provide special support for the family of terrorists totally out of proportion to any support provided to other Muslim families. The bottom line is this: while there may be great condemnation toward terrorism by many Muslim figures, there also appears (by media accounts in the US) no shortage of support for terrorism and terrorists within Muslim communities, if only out of a cultural frustration. I understand that to the extent this may be true, it exists because Muslim communities themselves are subjugated by these same terrorist forces, and have to dance to their tune.

    Can you illuminate this characterization of the problem of terrorism in Islam? I thank you in advance.

  13. Kamran Pasha Says:

    Dear Ellis,

    Thank you for raising these questions. There have been many public demonstrations in the Muslim world against terrorism — but shockingly they have not been covered in the Western media for all of the reasons I discussed in my post.

    Here are just a few links:,2933,175150,00.html

    Regarding your suggestion that there are some Muslims who are afraid to demonstrate against terrorism because of fear of reprisals from extremists, I don’t think that is a real issue. The deeper issue is this — many Muslims simply don’t feel the need to go out every day and justify their own goodness in the face of a tiny handful of evil men pretending to speak in the name of their religion.

    There is a broad understanding in the Muslim world that terrorists are criminals and that their actions are un-Islamic. But unlike observers in the West, Muslims also understand that such people are an incredibly small percentage of a massive population. Even if you had 100,000 terrorists who kill innocent people in the name of Islam (a preposterously huge number, but let us use it for the sake of argument), that would be 0.0067% of the Muslim population. If there were one million Muslim terrorists (there aren’t), that would be 0.067% of the community. These criminals get a great deal of press in the West, but in reality the community has almost no contact with them on a daily basis. So there is little impetus to organize millions of people to protest daily against a nearly-non-existent group of villains.

    If this is an uncomfortable truth, I would suggest that it is true here in the West as well. You don’t see millions of people protesting daily against Christian extremism ranging from abortion clinic murders to the Blackwater mercenaries and End-of-Times lunatics who thrive on promoting religous conflict with the Islamic world. Christian extremism is a very real phenomenon that has major political and military impact on the world, even though it is rarely discussed in the media. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in the past decade as a result of a war promoted and supported by Christian extremists intent on ignitng the biblical Armageddon. These people don’t need to blow themselves up in a cafe to make their point — they finance politicians to achieve their ends. I urge you to read “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” by Jeff Sharlet, a brilliant scholar who is no leftist (he worked for Nixon in the 1960s):

    And yet there are no regular protests against this small group of dangerous Christian extremists because of the simple fact that most Americans do not see them as representative of themselves, so they don’t flood the streets every day to condemn them.

    But there is an even more uncomfortable truth hiding beneath the surface about Western and Muslim attitudes toward terrorism.

    The University of Maryland recently did poll that showed shocking attitudes among the general American population toward war crimes and terrorism, including the finding that 24% of Americans believe that intentionally killing civilians is often okay as long as it does by their own military. Only 46% of Americans believe intentionally killing is never justified in war. We’re talking about intentional killing of innocents, not “collateral damage”. Polls in Muslim countries show that over 80% of Muslims worldwide believe killing civilians is never, ever acceptable, almost double the figure among Americans.

    Gallup has done a remarkable poll of the Islamic world’s attitudes toward a broad range of issues ranging from American foreign policy to terrorism.
    I think you will find its results startling. Muslim attitudes on many issues are exactly the opposite of what their critics often presume:

    In my experience commenting on issues relating to the Muslim world, I have found that the old Sufi adage is correct: “Islam is a mirror — you only see in it yourself.”

    So my response to those who see in Islam the very issues you critique is that they should perhaps look a little closer at their own culture and see if those very same issues actually exist here instead.

  14. Ellis Kryptar Says:

    I much appreciate your comments addressing the points of my message. And your references also were most enlightening. Thank you. Points well taken, and entirely understood. They will be included in any future conversation I have that touches on this subject.

    So it seems, when all is said and done, that these cultural (mis)perceptions are properly framed as “the pot calling the kettle black”. Further, the heat being generated on the subject of Muslim/West antipathy is really an entirely natural chafing of cultures that have great inherent differences. Right? Does then this chafing not seem likely to be something guaranteed to continue until such time as each finds its harmonious place within the other? Obviously this balance is not likely to occur within our time, or even our children’s, and the final cultural configuration is anyone’s guess.

    Given the magnitude of differences between these cultures as they exist today, and given the duration of the collision — centuries — it seems even the advent of global communication and travel is unlikely do anything at this point but intensify differences. America today feels little concern about the Muslim worldview impacting its culture except in the form of violence (yes, that’s an echo of the 9-11 event and its sequelae). Yet, from the perspective of many Americans, the Muslim world seems to a great extent to find challenging, if not offensive, much of Western culture. Of course the same can justly be said of Western perceptions of Islamic cultural practices: they at times beggar American’s credulity. These differences in large part characterize the friction points of the collision.

    Amazingly, I suspect both peoples regard the whole of the abuses as undesirable. Unfortunately, in each culture, certain ideas are entrenched. So upon these tensions rests the unease today in Europe over Muslim immigrants and Turkey’s inclusion in the EU. And in America, Muslims are doing as have all other newcomers, gathering in enclaves in an effort to keep some vestige of their homeland culture from fully dissolving into the melting pot of America which at best just tolerates other religious beliefs besides Christianity.

    Now one might hope global processes enhancing contact between peoples would improve cultural appreciation. And I suppose it does, and is. How else might I otherwise have encountered Islam, Sufism, the Islamic ideas about debt, etc? I have never traveled to a country where Islam is the majority belief; I’m provincial in many ways. The media has been my window to the world, including the Islamic one. And while the media could be a force enhancing cultural awareness and appreciation, it, as you mention, has often other fish to fry, most notably a need to retain its audience by echoing their values and interests despite their abuses. Today, fear is a major currency for the media, everywhere — in America, and in Muslim countries too. It seems the media is better at amplifying our baser instincts than our virtues.

    So, as with politicians who ultimately reflect their constituencies and their method of selection, warts and all, the media of every culture also must and does reflect the whims of the people they seek to address. The media unfortunately is not enlightened. It rarely leads. At most it goads, often today by focusing on people’s fears. Would that it did otherwise, but such real leadership seems far more likely to appear in an individual. So strong was/is the longing for such an individual that Obama became an icon, even perhaps to people in the Muslim world, before his election. Alas, but it seems our collective wishes far exceed the man, at least as he has been able to work so far.

    So I appreciate your pointing out how the American view of Islam and Muslim countries distorts the reality, and how that viewpoint is propagated and perpetuated. It is clear why you have chosen to voice your understanding in a manner likely to catch the ears of millions, with your writing. We who wish to see heaven on earth are grateful.


  15. No One “Hijacked” Islam « Muslim Reverie Says:

    […] a very long time.  Acclaimed Muslim author, Kamran Pasha, has written a brilliant piece called, “The Big Lie About Muslim Silence on Terrorism.” His post includes an extensive list of Muslim leaders and organizations that have condemned […]

  16. Pink Muslimah Says:

    Kamran, see also where hundreds of Muslim scholars and leaders have signed a document that stands against, among other things, terrorism.

  17. WNYC - Micropolis » Muslims Launch a Counterterror Offensive Says:

    […] worked for NBC and Showtime, and who is Muslim, vented about the subject in a blog post, “The Big Lie About Muslim Silence on Terrorism.” “Why do mainstream Muslims fail to speak out against terrorism?It is a question that I get almost […]

  18. Oral Says:


    I want to thank you for your great effort on being a true muslim,
    I ask All-Mighty to strenghten your faith

    I have just watched 2 seasons of Sleeper cell,
    At first I thought it was another islamophobic story, but from episode to episode it seemed more neutral or balanced
    But there was one thing I was sure that this story is written or co-written by a true muslim.

    I didn’t hesitated to watch editor’s comments where your name was mentioned as ‘practising muslim’.

    I have just read your post at washingtonpost about your hajj to Mecca with your mother, i am very impressed, and i am going to forward them to my friends, i hope it will be a good push to those who are still postponing the hajj due irrelevant reasons

    I am one of those who fail to speak out against terrorism,
    having read abovementioned links I won’t be anymore, Inshallah

    Thank you

    Astana, Kazakhstan

  19. Visitor Says:

    I read your article on “how christian Ethiopian saved Islam.” Good article. However, can you for God sake visit Ethiopian web site addressed ‘” and read the article that says “Ayatollah Khomeini’s book translated to Amharic”. Forget about the article Just read the comments from a commentator called Assta B. Gettu. This person act like a Hitler. He hates moslems. He wants only Egyptian Orthodox religion alone in Ethiopia and call us names. He called the prophet rapist, all the names. I asked him why he goes this far and some commentators hate our question. They call us terrists for being moslems. They have the license to call for genocides, violence and if we ask not to say this then they call us again terrists. If we write like them believe me we will end up in jail. That’s why silency is better. We have children to raise but we don’t want see violence in my old country called Ethiopia. Ethiopia word came to this world in 1887 by Menlik who incorporated moslem lands and called it “christian Island’. This means the country surrounded by moslems inside and outsides. Have you seen this kind of psycho mentality. Not all Ethiopians believe in this but still in their heart kept as a pillar of believe. They took our land. Southern Sudanese heading to freedom and not us because of our religion. Those Ethiopians hates us so they should call for divorce and not to call us terrist and all name.
    Please visit the web site above and participate if you can or write to Ethiopian government to see how they respond. The next generation in Ethiopia are at risk like Rwanda. So we have to solve it now before it’s too late. Thank you.

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