Moderate Muslims Say They Are Shut Out of Debate

Nov 19, 2015

"We’re speaking as loud as we can. Who’s listening?"
Reza Mansoor

American Muslims say the media is failing to hear moderate voices, as rhetoric over the Paris attacks and the placement of Syrian refugees ratchets up.

Speaking on The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR, Reza Mansoor of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut said marginalizing mainstream Islam just leads to more hysteria.

"Every single Muslim organization, on their website, you will find a very strong statement saying that what they did was completely wrong," Mansoor said. "Now, we’ve done a lot of interfaith events where we invite the media and you get responses like: 'That’s not news; we don’t have a person to cover it at this time,' and at the same time: 'Where’s the moderate voice?' Well, we’re speaking as loud as we can -- and who’s listening?"

Moustafa Bayoumi, professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and author of the book This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror said during the show that the kinds of intolerance reported by media, showcased in the wake of the attacks, will only help the terrorists.

"That’s exactly the kind of reaction that groups like ISIS want," Bayoumi said. "They’re actually trying to foster a kind of clash of civilizations, a kind of cultural war between these opposing forces. And they’re trying to illustrate that Western values are skin-deep, and that their hypocrisy is actually much greater than their notions of tolerance – and that’s not the United States that I know."

Mansoor said intolerance of Islam tends to run in cycles, around presidential elections, but events in Europe have intensified the hysteria. He thanked Governor Dannel Malloy for his welcoming stance on bringing Syrian refugees to Connecticut.