Conservative activists blasted this week a Muslim social justice activist for refusing to apologize for terror attacks carried out by Muslims. Rana Elmir is the deputy director of the ACLU of Michigan and lectures on Islamophobia, free speech and the intersection of race, faith and gender. She wrote in the Washington Post Monday: "As an American Muslim, I am consistently and aggressively asked — by media figures, religious leaders, politicians and Internet trolls — to condemn terrorism to prove my patriotism. I emphatically refuse."
Elmir explained further: "Make no mistake: The terror imposed by those who sympathize with Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group), al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and other groups is just as foreign to me as the terror advanced by mostly white men at the alarming rate of one mass killing every two weeks in this country," she wrote. "Therefore, just as I have never been asked to condemn Dylann Storm Roof’s attack on parishioners of a historic black church in South Carolina, Robert Dear’s attack on a Planned Parenthood facility, the murder of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the slaughter of moviegoers in Colorado or Louisiana, I will not be bullied into condemning terror perpetrated by psychopaths who misrepresent and distort Islam for their deranged purposes."
She concluded: "Terrorism is not mine. I will not claim it, not even through an apology." The ACLU National Twitter account retweeted her column. Muslim, Jewish and Christian Americans also tweeted their support for Elmir.
But critics argued that she was playing a victim and ignoring real threats carried out by Muslims. Conservative sites picked up her story with headlines such as "‘I Emphatically Refuse’: Muslim ACLU Activist Explains Why She Won’t Condemn Islamic Terrorism," and "Muslim ACLU Official: ‘I Emphatically Refuse’ to Condemn Islamic Terrorism."
A Breitbart article asked in opposition to Elmir's arguments, "For all their faults, one cannot help but wonder what the response of Christian leaders would be if a renegade sect claiming to be Christian began carrying out atrocities in the name of Jesus. If a so-called Christian 'Caliphate' were to arise, gobbling up territory, demolishing historic monuments, executing non-Christians, raping non-Christian women, and slitting the throats of 'apostates' while citing Gospel texts, would Christians be silent, afraid to denounce such actions carried out in the name of the Prince of Peace?"
Elmir joined the ACLU of Michigan in 2006 as the communications director. She became deputy director in 2013 after "increasing the effectiveness and shaping the ACLU of Michigan's public policy campaigns," according to the organization's website.
Below are tweets debating Elmir's essay:
@elmirana Great piece in the WaPo. Sorry for the idots who have been tweeting you about it. Love, a Jewish American MI Ally!
— antiomi (@antiomi) December 29, 2015
— Manal Omar (@ManalOmar) December 29, 2015
— Harleen Singh (@harleenarneja) December 28, 2015
@elmirana Your view of 'Islamaphobia' in the US is phobic in nature. Anti-Semetic hate crimes exceed Anti-Muslim. Quit playing victim.
— Jonathan Stone (@FactsNTruth1MMA) December 28, 2015
@elmirana Stop looking for islamophobia start opening eyes to the atrocities done in name of Islam. Will you condemn Honor killings?
— Steve Blake (@StevenBlakeLI) December 28, 2015
"Put this Terrorist sympathizer (Rana Elmir, an American Muslim and deputy director of the ACLU…" — Snailmailtrucker https://t.co/pNHJUu5PXm
— Sarge (@TrumpMyPres) December 28, 2015