Marine video a lesson for many

I was walking through my hospital one recent morning, and I looked out the window and beheld the American flag … Continued

I was walking through my hospital one recent morning, and I looked out the window and beheld the American flag billowing in the breeze. It was truly beautiful, stirring my heart with love of country. When I see that flag, waving so proudly over the medical center’s campus, I think of the wondrous nature of my country: its beautiful blue skies, its amber waves of grain, its scenic ocean vistas, and its majestic mountain ranges. I think of the equally beautiful nature of her people – my people – who are kind and gentle, who welcome strangers into their hearts and neighborhoods, and who rally to help each other when in need. I think of the freedom for which that glorious symbol stands: the freedom to be who I want and worship the Lord however I see fit.

What I put out of my mind are the images of those four American Marines urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters, which surfaced on a YouTube video last week; or the picture of an American soldier next to a dead Afghan civilian, showing off his “trophy” kill. More than just because they are repugnant images, I refuse to dwell on such stains on the national character because I know – in my heart – that those pictures and video clips do not represent the truth of America. I know that America is not what those images portray. That flag, which is also printed on the arms of those soldiers, does not symbolize the horrific nature of those sad incidents.

Sadly, however, there are many around the world who do not go through a similar exercise. When they see the very same image of the American flag, they will only think of these horrible videos and pictures. They will only see the bad that our nation has done, never knowing that true nature of our goodness and purity, the one that I see each and every day. And if anyone – following a sick and criminal mindset – were to attack an innocent American anywhere in the world, or right here at home, seeking to “avenge” the terrible images on the video, it would be a horrible travesty, worthy of the strongest condemnation. We Americans are not those Marines in that video. The truth about America is different than what that video portrays.

The same thing goes with American Muslims. The actions of extremists and terrorists, acting in the name of Islam, do not reflect the truth about our faith and our people. Those terrorists are depraved and Satanic criminals, twisting the beautiful and universal principles of our faith to seek a depraved and evil end. Just as we Americans are not responsible for those Marines urinating on those corpses, we American Muslims are not responsible for the actions of criminal extremists who act in our name. Just as it is wrong to attack Americans anywhere in the world in “revenge,” it is equally wrong to attack Muslims, or their houses of worship, in “revenge” for the crimes of extremists, which, sadly, occurs ever too frequently here in America.

If anything good can come out of this terrible incident, it is perhaps that more people can understand that the whole should never be blamed or symbolized by the crimes of the very few. A Muslim woman, who is courageous enough to wear a headscarf in deference to her faith and love for God, does not symbolize terrorism any more than the American flag symbolizes the crimes of those American Marines urinating on those corpses. If more can understand this, we will be all the better, both as a people and as a nation at large.

  • WmarkW

    Marines are to be commended for their service, sacrifice and patriotism. But a lot of them are 18-21 males, with the values and mentality of that group. Hell, I did things I wouldn’t want YouTubed when I was that age.

  • ccnl1

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country’s controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) — Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    23) “October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. “

  • Kingofkings1

    Perhaps the marines were thinking of the following:
    1. Hitler’s (who shared their faith) many victms
    2. Inquisition and the popes who blessed it along with the crusades
    3. The millions of native americans whom they killed and dispossessed (which they are helping to do now in Palestine)
    4. The over 2 million Iraqis killed as a result of sanctions and the 2 wars waged against it for dubious reasons

    Also, Mr Hasaball, please trade in your rose colored glasses for a neutral clear pair; those glasses you wear can prevent you from seeing reality

  • Kingofkings1

    Perhaps the same could be said of the twin tower bombers – the presumed for reason for which the lethal forces have been deployed in multiple areas of the world

  • ccnl1

    -The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

    - the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

    - Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

    - Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

  • PanhandleWilly

    “More than just because they are repugnant images, I refuse to dwell on such stains on the national character because I know – in my heart – that those pictures and video clips do not represent the truth of America.”

    You’re right…this is not the way most Americans feel. However, when you look at the unpunished Islamic crimes most Americans see or read about it reminds me a lot about how the Islamic world treats people: flogging rape victims to death, honor killings of young girls who ‘bring shame’ on their families, beheading journalists because they’re Jewish, burning and looting Christian Churches and killing their parishoners, shooting thousands of rockets at rural villages, blowing up airplanes, bombing schools full of children to ‘get their message’ across, dressing mentally challenged people in bomb vests and then detonating them from afar when they’re close enough to their targets, speaking about peace and co-existence in public English while exhorting your followers to even more violence in your mosques and in your Arabic speeches.

    This is the picture America gets of Islam. How about you write an emotional op-ed piece about how painful it is to represent the ‘religion of peace’ in the face of such prevalent, monstrous behavior by Islam’s adherents. When I read one of your pieces on that…I’ll take you seriously. Until then, you’re just deflecting blame while busily and quietly (and knowingly) sweeping Islam’s monstrous behavior under your prayer rug.

  • jeffj900

    I hate what these marines have done, and I applaud you for knowing this does not represent America. It represents the dull-witted wolf-like ignorance of a few boys. Boys we have asked to kill, when we should have been giving them an education.

    But let’s be honest . This urination is fairly trivial compared to Internet beheading videos and murderous riots over newspaper cartoons of Mohammed. So both sides in this conflict are asked to have patience, and to not judge all by the actions of a few.

    I have worked along side Muslims, and I have depended on the kindness and generosity of Muslims as a traveler in their lands. So I recognize that Muslims as a whole are peaceful, honest, and sincere.

    But I must say that I would attribute courage to the Muslim woman who abandons the hijab out of respect for herself as a human being, rather than those who capitulate to the controlling insecurity in the name of piety on the part of Muslim males.

    If the Muslim woman in traditional societies shows her shoulders or legs or hair, the Muslim male will be tempted into impure thoughts, or possibly worse, actions of a sexual nature. Rather than taking responsibility to learn civilized self-control, the Muslim male blames women for his own internal inadequacy. The same goes for Muslim women driving, working, going to school, or simply leaving the house without escort of a male family member. The basic idea or emotion at work here is not devotion to Allah; it is the insecurity and lack of trust that the Muslim male has of himself and the women he loves.

    If the Muslim male underwent the same sacrifices out of devotion to religion that he asks of Muslim women, I would be more accepting. But this is not the case.

    In defending the hijab, you are not defending Muslim piety and surrender to Allah. You are not defending the five pillars and what is good in Islam. You are defending moldy old hadiths made by male imams centuries ago that were corrupted by contemporary tribalistic patriarchal oppression o

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