A Muslim official with the American Civil Liberties Union has sparked controversy after she "emphatically" refusing to condemn acts of terrorism committed by Islamic extremists whose mission is to eliminate those who disagree with their interpretation of the Quran.
In an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Monday, Rana Elmir, the deputy director of the ACLU of Michigan, argued that moderate American Muslims should not feel obligated to condemn the acts of terror carried out by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, Taliban, and other radical extremist groups because doing so would be an "admission of guilt."
She charged that the numerous beheadings, executions and other forms of torture carried by such groups are just as "foreign" to her as the "terror advanced by mostly white men at the alarming rate of one mass killing every two weeks in this country."
Elmir added that "bullying" Muslims into condemning acts of terror effectively re-victimizes those who are the most common victims of jihad, as 90 percent of IS' victims are Muslim.
"I emphatically refuse," Elmir wrote. "[J]ust as I have never been asked to condemn Dylann Storm Roof's attack on parishioners of a historic black church in South Carolina, Robert Dear's attack on a Planned Parenthood facility, the murder of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the slaughter of moviegoers in Colorado or Louisiana, I will not be bullied into condemning terror perpetrated by psychopaths who misrepresent and distort Islam for their deranged purposes."
Elmir argued that Muslims are being victimized by "Islamophobia" and anti-Muslim hate crimes that have become widespread in the United States following the attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Muslims across the globe are not threats. They are threatened," she wrote. "The pernicious disease that is Islamophobia is spreading at home, thanks to a steady diet of repugnant rhetoric and equally misguided policies."
"Sadly, as Muslims, we contribute to our own oppression by erroneously believing that if we just apologize, then the anti-Muslim rhetoric will end. And it never does," Elmir continued. "Condemnation becomes our admission of guilt, and we indirectly concede that terror is borne of us, and, therefore, we must atone and condone policies that criminalize us to prove 'we have nothing to hide.'"
She concluded, "But I believe in a freedom that is true, that is real and that is unapologetically principled. I will always do my part and fight for justice. But terrorism is not mine. I will not claim it, not even through an apology."
Several conservative leaders have responded to Elmir, including Brigitte Gabriel, founder of the American Congress For Truth and ACT! for America, who argued that such extremists groups are simply following Islam the way it was intended.
"ISIS is Islamic in its purest form," she said during an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" program. "It's called the Islamic State. It operates following exactly the commandments of Muhammad. ISIS is not doing anything that Muhammad himself did not do. Whether it is beheading, cutting off ears, cutting off tongues, killing traitors. Muhammad himself was a military leader. In the Islamic world he is considered Al-Insan al-Kamil, the perfect man. ISIS is following the Koran to the letter."
In a Breitbart op-ed, Thomas D. Williams, a Christian theologian and author who is a research fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture, also weighed in, arguing that condemning acts of terror is not, in fact, an "admission of guilt," as several hundred Muslims from all over the world willingly denounced Islamic terror on Nov. 21 when they came together in Italy to protest the actions of IS.
"If a so-called Christian 'Caliphate' were to arise, gobbling up territory, demolishing historic monuments, executing non-Christians, raping non-Christian women, and slitting the throats of 'apostates' while citing Gospel texts, would Christians be silent, afraid to denounce such actions carried out in the name of the Prince of Peace?" Williams asked. "Perhaps, but probably not. More likely they would scramble to disassociate themselves from actions that were so egregiously 'unchristian.'"
He continued, "Would the condemnation of such horrific actions be an 'admission of guilt'? Hardly," Williams contended. "At intervals the protesters chanted, 'No ISIS, no terrorism.' A large banner read: 'ISIS is a cancer on the body of Islam. What they did is an attack on the entire community.'"