In 'Islam' Means Peace, The Progressive's managing editor Amitabh Pal reports on the history of nonviolence in Muslim societies around the world—a much-needed perspective today, in the wake of the execution-style killings, apparently by fundamentalist Muslim gunmen, of editors and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine in Paris.
In his book, Pal argues that while violent acts by Muslims get covered widely in the media, nonviolent movements exist everywhere and deserve just as much recognition.
In this video of a talk Pal gave on Book TV, he begins by recounting the story of the Bangladeshi immigrant in Texas who was shot in the face at close range after 9/11 by a man who thought he was avenging the attack on the Twin Towers.
Rais Bhuiyan, 37, a former Air Force pilot from Bangladesh, sought clemency for his attacker, Mark Anthony Stroman, while Stroman was on death row. Bhuiyan attributed his forgiveness of the hate crime and his opposition to the death penalty to his upbringing and his Muslim faith.
These are the stories of humanity and understanding we all need to hear.
As Harry Shearer put it in a recent interview on Al Jazeera, "Muslims I know are appalled" by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, "just like most Christians are appalled by the fundamentalists who kill abortion doctors."
"We have to condemn all these heinous violent acts, whether in the name of religion or ideology like the war on terror."
Amen to that.