The rise of Islamist terrorists has prompted many Muslims to claim these terrorists do not represent Islam. The terrorists are accused of having hijacked or distorted Islam.
These claims have been met with some skepticism among non-Muslims who readily point out that even if the Islamist terrorists are Muslim heretics, their inspiration derives from Islam and the Quran. Many feel the Muslim communities are not doing enough to convince their own membership that Isalmist terrorism is not Islamic. So the critics of Islam feel justified in continuing to point a righteous and accusing finger at Islam itself as being responsible for the problem. In this view Muslim terrorist are in fact Muslim until the Islamic community can completely disown them and treat them as a non-Islamic religion which threatens Muslims and Islam. It will never be enough to say they distort Islam – Muslims are going to have to show by their expelling such folk from their mosques and communities that the terrorists are not Muslim. As long as mosques turn out people who join Islamist terrorists, the Islamic communities can be rightfully seen as part of the problem. Muslims will have to show that such terrorists and the communities which produce them are in fact not Islamic.
Then, along comes Donald Trump.
Many Republicans are now trying to distance themselves from Trump claiming he does not represent Republican or American values. House Speaker Paul Ryan said about Trump’s recent comments: “This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.” (BTW, I agree with Speaker Ryan).
While Paul Ryan can claim that Trump doesn’t represent the true values of the Republican party, the fact is that not only is Trump a Republican presidential candidate, he leads in the polls among Republicans likely to vote. Obviously Trump does represent the values of many in the Republican Party.
It will be as difficult for the Republican Party to disassociate and distance itself from Trump as it is for Muslims to distance and disassociate themselves from terrorists. This is especially true since the Republican candidates thinking they could cleverly force Trump’s hand demanded that all candidates pledge to support whoever becomes the GOP nominee. Trump the front runner might become Trump the candidate and all of the other candidates will be held to their pledges to support the nominee, whoever he might be, whatever his policies and ideology might be. How can any of them say Trump doesn’t really represent GOP values when they all have pledged to support him should he win the GOP nomination?
Perhaps we can see through this the dilemma Muslim communities face. Not that this frees them from responsibility. It only shows how difficult the problems.
There are lessons to be learned. As Jesus said, “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).
And if all you get from this is, “Is he comparing Trump to terrorists?”, then you haven’t heard a thing.