America, Terrorists, and Politics
A Nation On Edge
The recent attacks of Paris and San Bernardino by radicalized individuals have much of the world on edge. Presidential hopefuls are calling for an outright ban on Muslim individuals entering the country. Islamic adherents are worried for their safety and whether or not America, the home of the free, is truly free for them any longer. In recent days I find myself cringing as my fellow Americans speak in Islamophobic undertones and can only wonder if the same epithets and views existed towards the Jews during Hitler’s Third Reich.
I think of my good friend Mahil and his family; practicing Muslims who are some of the most wonderful and hospitable people I know. I remember him wanting to join the Boy Scouts with me and all the camping aventures we went on with our troop. I remember helping him with his Eagle project and watching him earn Scouting’s highest honor. I think of the various sleepovers, game nights, dinners and school projects I experienced in his home. Then I imagine them on the run, because some politician suddenly thinks they are dangerous. I can stand right here and tell you that I would help my friend without a second thought because I know who they are and what they stand for.
Not Part of the Faith
Now let’s pause for a second while I invite you to read my first sentence once again. Notice how I did not say “Islamic radicals” or “Islamic extremists.” While these radicals may claim adherence to the faith, and appear on the surface to be practicing members, they are no more Muslim than the Christian writing this article.
Most Everybody is Inherently Good
Folks, I’ve been a lot of places over my nearly 29 years on this earth. I’ve met plenty of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Sikhs on three different continents. Nearly every single one of them has been as just as kind and as welcoming as I would expect from anyone of my own faith. Yes, there are bad eggs, IN ALL OF THESE RELIGIONS! Does that make the entire group bad? Absolutely not. It simply means they are not following their faith.
But I read somewhere that Muslims…
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Let me stop you there. Unless you’ve been to a Mosque, participated in a worship service, and discussed the Islamic faith with a Muslim, I invite you to sit down and hold your tongue. Please do not make assumptions about people without first getting to know them. I ask the exact same of people who are critical of my own religious views. If we fail to give each-other due diligence, and ask individuals who practice a particular faith what they believe, we are no better than the Nazis who this nation condemned over 70 years ago.
Yes, we should conduct checks on those who wish to enter our great nation. Yes, we should vet refugees coming from other countries. Effective immigration and security policy demand both. Remember, however, that human-ness demands compassion and we could stand to express that side of ourselves a bit more.