Saturday, May 7, 2011

History Repeats Itself: The Muslim Witch-hunt

Of the four billion people who died in the 20th century from all causes combined, 185,000,000 deaths were caused by other humans. At 8.5 millions, murders exceed deaths related to natural disaster (including floods, earthquakes and volcanoes) by five millions. These are scary odds. They get even scarier when one thinks that many of the 'manmade' deaths are the product of hate crimes.

Sadly, since the September 11, 2001 incident, and again since the killing of Osama Bin Laden, anyone wearing eastern garments has been at risk of attracting unwanted attention, even though the individuals responsible for the 9/11 atrocities were disguised as normal Americans, and they boarded our planes wearing regular slacks, dress shirts and NOT donning a turban. The fact that two men wearing Muslim garb who were traveling to North Carolina on May 6, 2011 were removed from a plane because passengers felt uncomfortable, shows us that fear is still ruling over better judgment – if these guys were up to something, would they have worn clothes that were sure to attract attention? The ironic thing is that Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul were traveling to Raleigh, NC to attend a conference on prejudice against Muslims, or Islamaphobia, a meeting sponsored by the North American Imams Federation.

Ignorance has certainly played a huge part in this process, but it is intolerable that so many people have been demonized and demoted to sub-human status because of their religious affiliations or fashion trends. Religious conflicts and wars have claimed many lives throughout history, but it must be made clear that the people responsible for those deaths are not the good and honest believers; rather, they are a minority group of fanatics and radicals who have used religion to manipulate the masses and fit their personal evil purposes.

Worldwide leaders are hoping to promote understanding and peace, but it is up to individuals to comprehend that religions are paths to love, not hatred or destruction.
As children, we were taught that one bad apple does not necessarily spoil the whole basket, but as adults we conveniently choose to trash all the apples, regardless of the fact that many of them are good and perfectly healthy. Islamic extremists are the exception, not the rule, of Islam, as much as Catholic Inquisitors or Christian Crusaders were not rightful representatives of the Christian creed.

As citizens of this country and inhabitants of this world, we need to take a hard look at the atrocities we personally commit when we simply judge good people because of their beliefs or appearance.