Separate the widespread protests against an American film that was designed to anger Muslims from the terrorist attack in Libya. Forget the political debate about when Mitt Romney commented and what President Obama’s reaction was.
For me the events of the last two days remind me of Daisy Khan who spoke at a conference of the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University a year ago. Khan is the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, whose mosque is 12 blocks from Ground Zero in New York.
She spoke of the wave of anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide in the United States when he announced plans to build an Islamic Center only two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center. Kahn, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, had advice that is still good today.
"Our task today is to demonstrate when a crime is committed in the name of religion, it is a crime against all religions," she said.
The movie is just the latest in a campaign against the 6 to 8 million American Muslims that has been organized by a small group of people who have spent more than $40 million to paint American Muslims and the Muslim religion as inherently terrorist.
It shows, she said, that "a mature democracy can be undermined by a few intolerant people," she said. But she offered no cover for those Muslims who use religion to justify violence.
Kahn at the time said she was happy that Romney, a Mormon, was overcoming the intolerance toward that religion in his effort to become President. And she couldn't pass up a comparison to the election of a President with the middle name of Hussein.
American Muslims are incredibly diverse, representing Muslim communities from around the world, Kahn said. American Muslim women are, as a group, better educated than the American public as a whole.
She said her husband has been working with other Islamic scholars to develop benchmarks for the emerging Islamic democracies to protect people's rights, even minority religions, as they organize new governments.
"What we Muslims have to do is to show that good governance and social justice are at the heart of Muslim law," Kahn said.
The jury is still out on whether Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, will follow their advice.
Kahn said it starts with allowing minorities to practice their own religions and bringing them completely into civic life.
Most of all I think about how outraged some of my friends were about her husband’s plan for the mosque near Ground Zero. I would hope they can at least understand how Middle East Muslims feel about the movie that portrays their prophet Muhammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer.