Dr. John Andrew Morrow, an American academic and interfaith activist, has filed a harassment complaint against a US Marine.
“The amount of hate mail that I receive is disconcerting,” stated Morrow. “Like my colleagues, Craig Considine, Qasim Rashid, Catherine Shakdam, and others, I am subjected to abuse for the sole sin of promoting peace, understanding, and co-existence.”
Although Morrow has been at the forefront of the ideological war against Takfirism, Wahhabism, and pseudo-Islamic terrorism for several years, the attacks he has received in recent history all come from Islamophobes. As he explains:
“It is not enough that I place my life in peril by denouncing Daesh and other extremist groups on a daily basis: Islamophobes hate all Muslims without distinction. To them, there is no difference between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and a little Muslim school-girl. We are all vermin to them. Their worldview is Hitlerian. Islamophobes are as hate-filled and violent as so-called Radical Islamists. They are two sides of the same coin.”
Like most religious leaders of Jewish, Christian or Muslim faith, Dr. Morrow reports all such incidents to Google, Gmail, Hotmail, YouTube, and appropriate authorities.
Asking why he decided to act in the case of Elmer Argomedo, Morrow did not mince his words: “If some random person insults on the street, I would be more than pleased to return the greeting. However, when a uniformed member of the military engages in harassment, such behavior is absolutely intolerable.”
The culprit in question, Elmer Argomedo, sent Dr. Morrow an insulting message on June 17, 2017, in response to his video titled “Where are the Moderate Muslims?” in which the scholar refutes the Islamophobic allegations of a certain Hussein Aboubakr.
While Argomedo looks respectable in uniform, one should never judge a book by its cover. A man is judged by his words and actions. They are a reflection of his character.
Responding to Morrow’s claims that Muslims should not be condemned for laws found in their religious texts any more than Jews and Christians should be condemned for the laws found in the Bible, the US Marine responded in the following fashion:
“soooooooooo ?? because it is in the bible we all the same too ?? i do not get it. Who the fuck care if is in the bible or not ? the thing is we do not do the same shit as the majority of muslims (…) …”
In Argomedo’s view, Jews and Christians do not follow the penal code found in the Bible. In his mind, most Muslims believe in implementing the corporal punishments contained in the shariah. If he were more educated and less overly emotional, he would find that such a gross overgeneralization is false. Most Muslims have no interest in resurrecting Old Testament style punishments.
While Morrow is ready to let most civilian insults slide, placing trust in divine justice, he is not prepared to be harassed by a person who openly and proudly professes to be a member of the US military; in this case, a person from the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina.
“How would Elmer Argomedo feel,” asks Morrow, if someone said that Latinos were illegals, criminals, drug-dealers, and rapists?” “I cannot comprehend,” he continues, “how a member of a minority can stereotype and discriminate against other minority groups.” As Morrow explains,
“The level of animosity against Islam and Muslims on the part of some Hispanic-Americans is certainly alarming. In fact, on June 18th, another Islamophobic Latino, 22-year old Darwin Martinez Torres, an illegal alien from El Salvador, kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and beat to death a 17-year old Muslim girl with a baseball bat after she left a local mosque. If Muslims are a threat to America, what about Islamophobic Latinos? And what happens when such hateful people are deployed to Muslim countries? There are consequences to that.”
Morrow, one of the leaders of the Covenants Initiative and the Genocide Initiative, was credited by Stars & Stripes, the major US armed services publication, for contributing to the passage of the Fortenberry Resolution in 2016 which labeled ISIS as war criminals who were guilty of genocide.
To attack a patriot, like Morrow, who has been consulted by the Obama and Trump administrations, along with other world leaders, on issues of counter-terrorism is entirely un-American and counter-productive. Anyone who opposes Morrow for trying to neutralize extremists and terrorists on all sides of the spectrum, and bring Muslims, Christians, and Jews closer together, can only be someone who wishes to foster discord between them. Clearly, Morrow is a man of peace whereas the Marine in question is a man of war.
Although Dr. Morrow is not a Marine, he will not tolerate being abused by a Marine, nor is he prepared to allow him to harass others with impunity. Besides being an Islamophobe, who stereotypes all Muslims as being terrorists, Elmer Argomedo promotes violence against people because of their sexual orientation. For example, he liked a video titled “How Trannies Get Beat Up.” Since he engages in harassment while identifying himself as military personnel from the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the US military could be held vicariously liable for his actions.
In response to the scandals caused by the misconduct of male Marines harassing female Marines by posting sexually explicit photos of the latter online, the Commanding General, T.D. Weidley, has the following words to say:
“On-line sexual harassment, threats of violence, and other misconduct that demeans, degrades, and bullies fellow Marines is absolutely unacceptable. This despicable behavior cuts at the very core of who we are as Marines and erodes the sacred trust and confidence we place in each other as Marines. We owe it to each and every Marine to maintain world class installations that not only prepare warriors to go into harm’s way, but also foster a culture of pride, dignity, and respect. If you witness this type of online activity, report it immediately.”
By filing a complaint against Elmer Argomedo for online harassment, Morrow was simply following the recommendations of the US Military. As far as the latter is concerned,
“Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and intolerant individuals like Elmer Argomedo are unfit to serve in the armed forces of our great nation. As Commanding General T.D. Weidley states, ‘A Marine is a Marine 24/7… even online.’ They must respect themselves and respect others and when they serve, they serve ALL AMERICANS regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. And if people like Elmer Argomedo do not like it, and have no respect for the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights, let them ship off and ship out. Go back to where you came from! This is America: love it or leave it!
POST SCRIPTUM (8/2/2017)
I am pleased to learn that the US Marine mentioned in the article above, Corporal Argomedo has personally apologized to Dr. John Andrew Morrow after Tayyib Rashid, a Muslim Marine, offered to act as a mediator. Considering the crimes that certain self-professed Muslims commit in the name of Islam, and the negative image portrayed of Islam in the mass media, it is understandable that some people become frustrated with Muslims and lash out. Generalizing poses real dangers as it dehumanizes individuals. They become stereotypes and scapegoats as opposed to human beings. This highlights the importance of human contact and communication between Muslims and non-Muslims. If you know your neighbor, you cannot demonize your neighbor. If you have Muslim friends, you will not view all Muslims as enemies. Although Islam demands justice, Islam also encourages forgiveness. Dr. Morrow held Elmer Argomedo accountable for his actions. Corporal Argomedo had the decency to recognize his wrong-doing after engaging with a Muslim Marine. Dr. Morrow acted as any good Muslim would do: he forgave the man who wronged him. Surely, in this story, there are lessons for all to learn.
This article is written by Hanan al-Harbi.