Jalees Rehman claims that German introspection after World War II resulted in a better Germany, and that USA Muslims should adopt this introspection in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. An obstacle to introspection is “perpetual victimhood.”
Citing psychological studies which showed that exposure to historical incidents of oppression of one’s group or nation led study participants to judge their own group’s misdeeds less harshly, Dr. Jalees Rehman suggests:
[I]t might be important to study whether Muslims who are continuously reminded of historical or ongoing collective victimization – being victims of “Islamophobia” or of military actions in Palestine, Kashmir or Chechnya – could promote a justification for violent acts …
Obviously, there is a lot to admire about Germany since World War II. Although, in my mind, paying reparations to the colonialist state of Israel is not one of them.
Thinking on this further, it seems like only (defeated, anti-USA) Africans and supporters of the defeated nations of World War II are indicted as war criminals. USA-sponsored terrorists and assassins all over the world are regularly protected by United States courts and police. The best examples of these are the anti-Cuban terrorists and anti-Nicaraguan Contras. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are mostly celebrated in the USA.
But it’s not just the USA, obviously. Has Great Britain paid reparations to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for its colonial control? Has France paid reparations to Algeria for its direct rule?
But back to Dr. Jalees Rehman’s contention, namely that a more balanced view of historical injustice would lead to more introspection and that would be good for Muslims. And I say, yes, most certainly.
But the Boston Marathon bombings should not be foremost in the minds of the introspecting Muslims this week. How about the total disregard for worker safety in Bangladesh which has led to a factory fire and a building collapse, killing hundreds?
The top two candidates for introspection in the first decade of this millennium have to be the genocide in Dar Fur in Sudan and the lethality of sectarian violence in Iraq and Pakistan and elsewhere.
Twentieth century nominees would include the Pakistani civil war, the Iran-Iraq war, Sudan’s civil war, Algeria’s civil war and Afghanistan’s civil war.
Certainly the most essential topic of introspection for the next several decades must be gender roles.
So Muslims should do introspection, not because they are the only ones who need it or because they are the worst people or the most guilty, but because it is an essential step in moving forward.
My only caveat is that Muslims’ introspection should not be spurred by the demands of (partially White Supremacist) USA, but by evaluation of material injustices and moral harms.
Nor does introspection mean USA Muslims should accept second-class citizenship and cease defending themselves.
P.S. Dr. Jalees Rehman seems to have a problem with the term Islamophobia. I disagreed with him somewhat when he wrote about Occidentophobia, but that’s a topic for another time.