Skip to main content

Do Muslims really hate terrorism?

By John Avlon, CNN Contributor
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Fri April 26, 2013
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
updated 12:50 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT