May 25, 2007, - 8:05 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
As I’ve oft remarked on this site, the term “moderate Muslim” is generally an oxymoron and a term that rarely fits anyone from the “Religion of Peace.”
Occasionally, though, there are exceptions. There are those rare, truly moderate Muslims who courageously speak out–at serious risk of life and limb–against the mass violence, hate, intolerance, and terrorism their religion has uniquely wrought. (And then they have to obtain personal bodyguards, asylum in the U.S., Conceal and Carry permits. and live in fear and danger thereafter.)
One of these brave, admirable Muslim exceptions was Tashbih Sayyed, who, very sadly, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 66. He first came to my attention in the early ’90s, when he bravely appeared in the PBS documentary, “Jihad in America.”
Despite repeated threats of violence, Sayyed maintained the moral highground and courageously spoke out against Islamists throughout his life. And, unlike most Muslims, he was a proud American who loved his adopted country and also supported Israel. A great example of his work was his fantastic article, “A Muslim in a Jewish Land,” about his visit to Israel–a must-read for everyone. He was the type of alien immigrant and naturalized citizen America needs far more of, but rarely the type that lands on our shores asking for admission.
Tashbih Sayyed, a Shi’ite, was born in India and raised in Pakistan. He was a renowned journalist in Pakistan and founder of its current affairs television programming. But, because of his tolerant, liberal views (which were unacceptable to the extremist Muslim Paki rulers), he was forced to flee Pakistan for the U.S. in 1981. He lived the American dream, worked hard, and bought a house.
But instead of remaining silent and happy with the American dream, Sayyed dedicated his life in America to speaking out against the extremists who dominate his religion to this day. He did so in books, columns, speeches, on video, and in two newspapers he founded and ran, Pakistan Today and Muslim World Today (which is always an interesting read about what is going on in the international Muslim world, including an article on Yemen’s persecuted remaining Jews).
A relentless, prolific, and courageous writer and voice, Tashbih Sayyed will be sorely missed. And his death will leave yet another void in the largely non-existent category known as “Moderate Islam.” Sayyed’s many enemies throughout mainstream Islam can now stop their attacks and death threats against Sayyed. They will be happy that yet another ray of sunshine into their activities and views has ceased to shine and expose them.
But the rest of us should be sad. We mourn his passing.
Because he was a constructive critic and not a bottomless propagandist of Islamism, Tashbih Sayyed did not die wealthy, unlike his Saudi- and Iran-funded adversaries.
If you can help the Sayyed family to pay for his funeral and burial, you will help relieve hardship for his brave family. StandWithUs, a tremendously effective pro-Israel and anti-terrorist group, is collecting checks for any and all amounts, no matter how small.
Checks should be made out to Sayyed’s wife, Kiran Sayyed, and sent to:
PO Box 341069
Los Angeles, CA. 90034-1069
Tashbih Sayyed was a tremendous friend to America, to Israel, and to all Westerners who value our freedom. Now, is our chance to be a friend to his family in their time of need. I hope you will honor and memorialize this rare, brave man by helping them give him the proper good-bye.
If all Muslims in America and the rest of the world–or even a significant portion of them–were like Tashbih Sayyed, we’d be batting 1,000. Unfortunately, very few Muslims are like him, and most are extremists.
Tashbih Sayyed, Rest in Peace.
Tags: America, courageous writer, Debbie Schlussel As, founder, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Kiran Sayyed, Los Angeles, Pakistan, renowned journalist, renowned journalist in Pakistan and founder of the current affairs television programming, Tashbih Sayyed, United States, Yemen