Two national Islamist organizations and other aligned Arab-American groups have hopped on the bandwagon to expunge references "Islamic" or "Islamist" from a film about al-Qaida which will be shown at the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) are among the groups which called the video "ill-considered and insufficiently vetted" in a letter to museum leadership.
The signatories demand that "stereotypical" elements in the film, "The Rise of Al-Qaeda," be addressed and that they are allowed to view it. They also suggest that the film leads viewers to blame Islam as a whole the 9/11 attacks.
Members of a local New York interfaith panel who reviewed the film similarly slammed it, saying in an earlier letter to the museum's director that it "may well leave viewers with the impression that all Muslims bear some collective guilt or responsibility for the actions of al-Qaeda."
They also demanded that elements in the film discussing Islamic extremism be censored before the museum opens next month.
This marks CAIR's latest censorship drive in the wake of its recent series of actions intended to shut down debate over Islamic extremism. It pressured universities cancel screenings of the documentary "The Honor Diaries," demanded that Brandeis cancel plans to grant an honorary doctorate to former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and were able to get ABC Family to cancel the show Alice in Arabia" before it was ever taped.
CAIR is not in the best position to preach about the connection between Islam and violence. U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis wrote in 2009 that there is "at least a prima facie (face value) case as to CAIR's involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas." Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, says in its own charter that it "draws its guidelines from Islam; derives from it its thinking, interpretations and views about existence, life and humanity; refers back to it for its conduct; and is inspired by it in whatever step it takes."
That includes a universal rejection of any peaceful settlement with Israel, because "renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion."
Even if al-Qaida embraces a heterodox version of Islam, it is impossible to discuss its actions without using terms such as "Islamist," "jihad" or religion even if CAIR or its allies find them offensive.
Discussing 9/11 in the absence of religion is akin to talking about the Crusades as having been solely driven by the Western European greed and a desire for plunder or talking about the Inquisition without religious references.
Americans deserve an open debate over Islamic extremism instead of censorship.