Former NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit back at Bill O’Reilly’s criticism of mainstream Muslims’ response to terrorism on Sunday morning. Appearing with Chuck Todd on NBC‘s “Meet the Press,” Jabbar presents an analysis of Islamic terrorism that makes the jingoistic propaganda of Fox News look like it was created by school children.
Jabbar recently wrote an op-ed for Time in which he observes:
When the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in a black family’s yard, prominent Christians aren’t required to explain how these aren’t really Christian acts. Most people already realize that the KKK doesn’t represent Christian teachings. That’s what I and other Muslims long for.
O’Reilly responded to that, saying:
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar’s wish would come true a lot faster, if all the Muslim nations would confront the jihad the way the U.S.A. confronted the KKK.
Jabbar points out that there is no single body that controls all Muslims. He observes that Muslims in the various Islamic countries are controlled by Islamic leaders in that country. He contrasts Islam to Catholicism, and says,
It’s not like you have a pope, who is supposedly in charge of all Catholics. Even given that, the Pope was not able to curtail the Irish Republican Army, that was doing terrorist acts in the name of Roman Catholics.
Abdul-Jabbar says it’s not religion, it’s religion being used as a cover for politics.
Abdul-Jabbar makes a critical point about the West and Islam. He says,
Knowing that these terrorist attacks are not about religion, we have to reach a point where we stop bringing Islam into these discussions. I know we aren’t there yet because much of the Western population doesn’t understand the Islamic religion.
Jabbar observes that even if mainstream Muslims criticize the terrorists, it won’t stop terrorism because the terrorists have a “political agenda.” Then, he hits the uncomfortable truth that American Islamophobes fail to admit, or recognize.
There’s going to have to be change in countries where these people originate, where they have hope, where they have something to look forward to in their lives. Most of these people come from countries where there’s no possible way for them to get ahead.
Here’s the complete interview, via NBC:
Screen capture via NBC News