I was about to sign off for the night so I could enter my stasis cycle (what you call sleep) when I read a piece about how the moderate Muslim community in America is attempting to combat radical Islam and jihadi recruiters and their tactics with regards to vulnerable Muslim kids.
This isn’t going to make me popular, but I can’t say popularity has ever really mattered to me. Every day when I sign into Facebook, I am inundated with anti-Islam hate speech. As an example memes advocating using “bacon filled hollow points” have been floating around for years.
Frankly…… The whole thing reminds me of the political hate-mongering that existed between the U.S. Government and the Mormons during the 1800s, which led to massacres, at least two assassination attempts (one of which was successful), the establishment of Utah as a territory under religious rule, and eventually, outright war between the church and the Union, culminating in Brigham Young setting up cannonry in the desert and telling the citizens to be prepared to burn Salt Lake down in one night if necessary.
Creating and fostering an attitude of moral superiority over another class of human beings in response to the actions of a minority group which has tenuous ties to your own citizens does nothing to broker peace or build community. And the reality of the situation is that like any other faith, most Muslim adherents are quite normal, grounded in reality, and not given to violence.
Persecution in the public space has a remarkable way of not just highlighting social differences, but of creating the exact kind of mental atmosphere extremism of any kind uses as kindling.
A few years ago, I remember an uproar because an American preacher was arrested for burning several hundred copies of the Koran. Not because he was burning books, but because it was felt that his civil liberties were being trampled by the arrest. Imagine if he had been an Iman burning Bibles?
Just a thought….. But it seems to me that the best way for Americans to counter the threat of extremism is to stop being extremist. That means to stop spreading hate and discontent so there is room for the moderate Islamic community to grow. It means finding common ground and it means interfaith solidarity. After all…… ISIS and Boko Haram haven’t just killed or enslaved Christians; they’ve destroyed the lives and freedom and religious sites of anyone who doesn’t prescribe to their brand of insanity. Let’s be better than that.