Skip to main content

Do Muslims really hate terrorism?

By John Avlon, CNN Contributor
April 26, 2013 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
A woman walks by a controversial ad in a New York subway station last fall. The word
A woman walks by a controversial ad in a New York subway station last fall. The word "savage" had been defaced.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN Radio podcast features CNN Opinion contributors on top three stories
  • Podcast offers views of John Avlon, Margaret Hoover and Dean Obeidallah
  • Panelists exchange views on the Bush library, flight delays and attitudes toward Muslims

(CNN) -- This week on The Big Three, we tackled the George W. Bush library opening, frustration over flight furloughs (complete with congressional finger-pointing) and Dean Obeidallah's CNN.com column, "I'm a Muslim and I hate terrorism," which seems sadly necessary in the wake of Boston.

The opening of a presidential library is supposed to be a time for national unity. All the living presidents attend, standing together for a photo op and offering complimentary speeches about the newest inductee to the ex-presidents' club.

But during all the same pageantry in Dallas at the opening of Bush's library, a less civil debate on the Big Three (and across the country) was going on about 43's legacy. Margaret Hoover is a proud Bush administration alumna and attended the opening in Dallas. Dean, it is fair to say, is not a Bush fan. At all.

John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah
John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah

And so the debate raged, with Margaret citing his investment in foreign aid to stem the tide of AIDS in Africa and keeping the nation safe from terrorism after the attacks of 9/11. Dean acknowledged that Bush might be a nice guy to hang out with but asked whether the library would consist primarily of coloring books. As the card-carrying centrist in the group, I try to find common ground. And so it goes.

At the time of our discussions, the sequester cuts were kicking in, and airline travelers were feeling the pain, with 40% of flights delayed this week because of the furlough of air-traffic controllers. Congress has since overwhelmingly approved a measure to get the air travel system up to speed again after the delays provoked a round of the blame game on Capitol Hill, with conservatives accusing the president of "playing politics" with these particular cuts. Margaret agreed with this assessment. I ain't buying it.

The sequester was supposed to be so dumb and painful that it would compel Congress to reason together and find deficit and debt reduction to more strategic means. It didn't. And while the rhetoric of cutting government spending is popular, the reality is predictably less so. And so we're being treated to the absurdity of conservative activist groups such as Americans for Prosperity -- whose sole purpose is to argue for cuts in government spending -- complaining about the practical effects of those very cuts on which they insisted. This is the old dynamic we see too much of -- cuts for thee but not for me.

Finally, in the wake of the Boston terror attacks, America and the American Muslim community have navigated the tricky territory of confronting the ideology of radical Islam that apparently inspired the attacks without engaging in group blame.

Dean's excellent CNN.com column tries to clarify some of the bigoted myths by making the point that American Muslims might hate jihadis even more than typical Americans do because the murderers claim to represent their faith and cause a massive backlash against this growing American community. Read the column -- and then listen to our conversation, tackling subjects such as why extremists of other faiths tend not to blow things up.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
ADVERTISEMENT