We are a nation of freedom and religious tolerance … at least we try and our Constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That applies to all religions, including the Muslim religion. Jefferson and others went out of their way to be sure Muslims and other religions were included.
However, when it comes to Muslims today it is clearly difficult not to be prejudiced, but not because of their religion which, after all, at the core believes in the Christian and Jewish God and in prophets common to all three religions; people of the book. (I attended a Catholic Church on Malta and they used the word Allah for God).
So what is the difference? Organized religion long ago gave up violence in its name supporting or furthering its goals. The Muslim religion, unlike sects of Christians does not have a single leader or central organization setting policy thereby creating a vacuum in interpretation and the ability for individuals and groups to distort teachings.
Muslims are more literal in interpreting their Holy Book which tends to reflect 7th century society. Is there another religion where the death penalty is actually carried out for apostasy? Can non-muslims be expected to understand that? Muslims live under and accept theocracies; the distinction between religion and government is clouded at best. It appears this makes the religion more susceptible to being corrupted for political motives. Even the concept of Jihad has been corrupted by extremists.
Muslim teaching follows practices that are inconsistent with basic social norms in non-Muslim societies; treatment of women, gays and acceptance of religious freedom are examples. ISIS, following words from the Koran or Hadith, recently tied two gay men to chairs and threw them off the roof of a hotel to their deaths. To the rest of humanity that is incomprehensible.
Many Muslims prefer to live under Sharia (religious) law even while living in western countries. Conflict between the laws of the land and religious law confuse and create suspicion. Can devout Muslims be assimilated in a non-Muslim society? Do they want to?
Then we have terrorists who claim Islam as their own. Is it so hard to understand how their actions and the support they receive taints the entire religion in the eyes of non-Muslims?
From US State Department website:
Being anti-Muslim is as wrong as being anti any other religion, we all know that deep down, but it is truly hard today to understand something rooted in the 7th century with only minimal recognition of the passing fourteen centuries.
Washington Post 12-10-15
Protests and demonstrations have broken out in cities across Afghanistan this week in the wake of the massacre of seven people from the Hazara [Shiite] ethnic minority. The decapitated bodies of four men, two women and a child were found Saturday in a rural town in the southern province of Zabul. The attacks were carried out by militants who some suspect are linked to the Islamic State.
Marchers in Kabul on Wednesday walked for almost four hours with the coffins of the victims, which included the body of Shukria, a 9-year-old girl. They chanted slogans against the government, the Taliban and neighboring Pakistan, which is seen as having a hand in Afghanistan’s Islamist insurgency. Some protesters attempted to storm the presidential compound.
Terrorism is doing its job. It creates fear and stimulates actions which reinforce the propaganda put forth by the terrorists; that non-believers are the enemy; it widens the divide and justifies their actions. It’s a trap and we are falling into it.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric and xenophobia are only making matters worse.
However, it would indeed be comforting to see American Muslims mount a campaign against terrorists acting in their name, against violence and in support of their traditional religion… and their Country.
Categories: My Opinion