It's only been a few weeks since terrorist attacks in Paris on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, both of which set off the usual rehearsals of solidarity and condemnation.
That included the expectation that the world's 1.6 billion Muslims must publicly condemn terrorism — lest they be regarded as somehow sympathetic to terrorism or responsible for allowing extremism to flourish.
The expectation that Muslims have to condemn terrorism, which is demanded especially of the 2.6 million Americans who are Muslim, is and always has been bigoted: it assumes that Muslims are guilty of loving terrorism unless they explicitly state otherwise, and indeed must implicitly apologize for what we vaguely assume to be some indirect form of guilt.
But the expectation that Muslims have to condemn every act of terrorism committed by any Muslim anywhere is also, on its face, totally illogical to the point of being downright silly. Murtaza Hussain, a journalist at The Intercept, called that out perfectly with this tweet "condemning" the snowstorm that hit the American northeast:
As a moderate Muslim I condemn these extreme weather conditions in the strongest possible terms.
— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) January 27, 2015
The analogy here is not one-to-one perfect, but it's pretty close. Murtaza Hussain, as a Canadian national of the Muslim faith, has about as much control over the weather in the northeastern United States as he does over the internal decision-making processes of a handful of lunatics in, say, France.
The fact that lots of people seem to believe otherwise, and assume that all Muslims are somehow responsible for the actions of a few crazy people who wrongly claim to murder on behalf of their religion, is bigoted and crazy. But it's also quite silly. The fact that Murtaza Hussain's tweet is laugh-out-loud funny should show you how ridiculous that logic is when applied to terrorism.
At the same time, that same logic also drives a tremendous amount of Islamophobia and hatred of Muslims, which in the past has inspired violent attacks on Muslims and Islamic centers of worship, most recently in France but certainly also in the United States.