Since, as a Christian, I have a lot of respect for Islam, I would hate to see misplaced defensiveness create a temptation to keep silence about things that need to be exposed (“let’s keep quiet about the bad stuff some of our guys do, because people who don’t like us will take advantage”).
I would never say that Muslims are the only ones who do this. My ex grew up in a small town in the deep South, and went to (Christian) church every Sunday. When he was a child, there was a notorious lynching in a nearby town (we’re talking 1950s here). Although Sunday sermons were of the hellfire variety, and fulminated about all kinds of sins, the ex told me the preachers never mentioned this very public murder which must have involved local citizens. Why not? It would give the area a bad name. That silence undoubtedly reinforced the idea, among many churchgoers, that lynching was “sort-of OK” and that they should keep quiet about anything they knew.
I would levy a similar criticism of John Paul II during his 1995 trip to Kenya. Kenya is about 25% Catholic, and female genital mutilation (FGM) is common. In Kenya, JPII preached about chastity and the duty of the individual to make sacrifices for the family- WITHOUT mentioning that Catholic theology ALSO forbids mutilating the human body. I have a huge problem with this because chastity and maintaining a strong family are PRECISELY THE EXCUSES PEOPLE USE TO JUSTIFY MUTILATING THEIR DAUGHTERS. In my book, both the pope and the Imam sinned by omission- preaching a sermon that the listeners might perceive as condoning the murder/mutilation, without clarifying that these things are wrong.
PS Abu Noor, thanks for the kind words.