It is, in effect, a fight on American soil for the right to define Islam – with each bomb, shooting, and terrorist plot setting back the efforts of American Muslims to define themselves and to reclaim an embattled faith.
“It is time for us as American Muslims to provide an alternative to Muslim extremism; otherwise, we’ll be defined by it,” says Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council. “That alternative is the moderate voice, the voice for reform, for the theology of life that Islam stands for as opposed to the cult of death that extremists promote through their distortions of Islam in their ideology.”
After the suspects were identified, the elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a battle with police, and hours later younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was brought into custody, now being listed in fair condition at a Boston hospital. The suspects’ motives have yet to be fully uncovered, but on Monday, the surviving Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in the April 15 attack, which killed three people and injured more than 200.