The Problems and Perils of Muslims Condemning Terrorism

Main Article Content

Todd H. Green


Calls for Muslims to condemn terrorist attacks are commonplace in the United States and Europe. These calls emanate from public figures and media outlets across the political and ideological spectrum. This article briefly surveys efforts primarily from Muslim scholars, leaders, and organizations to heed these calls and to communicate, in word and in deed, their rejection of terrorist attacks supposedly carried out in the name of Islam. The article raises questions about whether these efforts make a difference in improving attitudes toward Muslims who live in the United States and Europe. The article argues that Muslim attempts to condemn terrorism inadvertently reinforce Islamophobia, in part because such efforts involve tacit acceptance that Muslims should be presumed guilty of harboring violent tendencies and terrorist sympathies until proven otherwise, in part because such efforts keep the focus on Muslims and violence so that white and white Christian Americans and Europeans need not come to terms with their own violent past and their ongoing complicity in a violent world order.

Article Details

How to Cite
Green, T. H. (2023). The Problems and Perils of Muslims Condemning Terrorism. Journal of Muslim Philanthropy &Amp; Civil Society, 7(1). Retrieved from
Author Biography

Todd H. Green, America Indivisible

Todd Green is Associate Professor of Religion at Luther College. A nationally recognized expert on Islamophobia, Green served as a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. State Department in 2016-17, where he analyzed and assessed the impact of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe on countering violent extremism initiatives, refugee and migrant policies, and human rights. He has also given lectures on Islamophobia to other federal agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

As a public scholar, Green has contributed to The Huffington Post and has been interviewed by a variety of media outlets on Islamophobia, including CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Reuters, and The Intercept. His views on Islamophobia have been cited by organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for American Progress, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Green is the author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West (Fortress Press - 2nd edition, 2019). The book surveys the history of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe and the United States and addresses the political and cultural factors contributing to the rise of Islamophobia in the post-9/11 era. In 2018, The Fear of Islam was cited in an amicus curiae brief filed by prominent civil rights organizations, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, in the Supreme Court of the United States. The brief argued in favor of enjoining President Trump's executive order banning entry into the United States from select Muslim-majority countries.

Green is also the author of Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn't Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism (Fortress Press, 2018). This book argues that asking Muslims to condemn terrorist attacks is a distraction that prevents majority populations in the US and Europe both from facing their own violent histories and from asking critical questions about how their countries' national security initiatives and foreign policies contribute to a violent world order. The book proposes healthier ways for majority populations to engage Muslim communities other than through the prisms of violence and counterterrorism.

At Luther College, Green teaches broadly in the area of U.S. and European religious history as well as interfaith dialogue. He also leads a study abroad course in which he takes students to a variety of European countries to study the political and cultural debates surrounding the place of Muslim minority communities.