Is Islam really to blame?

I’ve grown increasingly troubled by the rhetoric focused on Muslims in America. For more than 15 years now, Muslims have been targeted by fearful Americans that do not understand Islam or the teachings of Islam and it’s promotion of peace and complete rejection of violence. What is interesting though is that there is blood on both sides of the fence and we need to hold up some mirrors to see the true enemy. What I don’t understand is why a double-standard exists when there is clearly verifiable violence perpetrated from Christians as there is from radial Islamists. Something about a pot and kettle…..

Islam is inherently violent, Christianity is inherently peaceful, and there is no such thing as a Christian terrorist or a white male terrorist. But the facts don’t bear that out. Far-right white male radicals and extreme Christianists are every bit as capable of acts of terrorism as radical Islamists, and to pretend that such terrorists don’t exist does the public a huge disservice.

SOURCE: 10 of the Worst Terror Attacks by Extreme Christians and Far-Right White Men

We don’t need to review our current events of the last few decades either, there is history of Christians being violent in our distant past as well. The Crusades were overruns of countries, spreading the word, with bloody and violent encounters with people who didn’t immediately yield to the Church.

…unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, which had been divided since their split in the East–West Schism of 1054, and establish himself (Pope Urban II) as head of the unified Church. Similarly, some of the hundreds of thousands of people who became crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the church were peasants hoping for Apotheosis at Jerusalem, or forgiveness from God for all their sins. Others, historians argue, participated to satisfy feudal obligations, gain glory and honour, or find opportunities for economic and political gain. Regardless of the motivation, the response to Urban’s preaching by people of many different classes across Western Europe established the precedent for later crusades.

SOURCE: Crusades

From the beginning, our young country had established this precedent that Anglo-Saxon enlightenment was the only true way of life and anything that threatened that had to be removed or eliminated. Our expansion into the West displaced hundreds of thousands of civilized Indian tribes from lands that they had occupied for generations prior to any “white man” setting foot on North American soil. Our own arrogance as “Americans” justified our belief that we were saving Indians from having to adapt into our Eastern culture.

Expansion and Indian removal created some phenomenal problems for the new American nation in terms of its moral character. How can this unique experiment in the new world — this nation that prided itself upon its democratic institutions, force Native American people westward? How do you rationalize the taking of land and the usurpation of property?

The argument that was used was, “This had to be done to save these poor Indian people. They don’t fit in the East, so we have to move them out beyond the frontier where they can do their Indian thing unmolested. This is the only possible way to save them.”

The hypocrisy of this is obvious because many of the people, though not all of them, who were removed were very sophisticated and relatively “civilized” people. For example, the literacy rate of the Cherokee nation is higher than that of the white South up through the Civil War, yet the tribe was moved westward as an uncivilized people, so that their land could be open for American expansion.

SOURCE: Manifest Destiny: Native American Displacement Amid U.S. Expansion

I hope this gets out to a wider audience because after having written all of this in one place, it makes me physically ill that we’re STILL, in 2016, thinking like we did in the 11th century, 17th century, 19th century, and the 21st century. Time to get a new blueprint, because replacing the target of our hate is getting old and will eventually come back to bite us.

I’ve started listening to understand. What would happen if more did that?

Islamaphobia, the exit is over here

Inspired by The Washington Post article “Muslim couple says they were kicked off Delta flight for using phone, saying ‘Allah’

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with all of us? Why are we all so afraid of each other?

A muslim couple, American citizens for 16 years, were singled out on their return flight from France to Ohio, USA because she was wearing a scarf and using a phone and he was sweating. Others heard them say “Allah” while seated. Trying to put myself into the shoes of the flight crew that reported this to the pilot is an impossible task for me. I can’t even begin to start forming thoughts that could justify the flight crew persons motivation for making this report to the pilot. Then, the fact the pilot forced them off the flight or he wouldn’t take off just added more fuel to the racist and bigoted profiling that had already taken place.

The rhetoric is already at a feverish level causing everyone to revert to thinking “with the crowd” instead of relying on their own, much more logical individual thinking. The article doesn’t indicate it, but I can be sure that most of the flights passengers were siding with the flight crew as they watch the couple being taken off the plane. They were probably thinking things like “Another terrorist is caught”, “I’m glad they’re not on *my* flight”, “They should have stayed in their own country.” What is apalling and absolutely disgusting is that it was their appearance and only their appearance that prompted the crews actions. The pilot didn’t even see the couple, they were going by the report from the flight crew only.

I’ve been on a lot of flights in the last several years. I can honestly say that until the flight takes off, I’m usually quite uncomfortable and sweating because a plane on the ground is warm inside. The difference here is that I’m not sitting with someone in a scarf, using a mobile phone, and saying “Allah”; I’m also not Muslim “looking”. I’ve been on flights where people pray before the plane takes off and pray again before the plane lands, it’s certainly not out of the ordinary. One particular flight I was sitting next to a devout Jewish Rabbi that prayed in the middle of the plane for over an hour during the six hour flight. Although that seemed to be like a bit of overkill, it wasn’t certainly anything I would report him for doing. In fact, I was slightly relieved he was doing this as it gave the flight a better chance of not crashing, every little bit helps for a guy that doesn’t like flying.

Shame on the flight crew and any of the passengers that fed into this fear that this couple were indeed terrorists. Shame on the pilot for blindly taking the flight crews report without first asking a few questions of the couple before dismissing it as ridiculous racism. Yes, I may have a broad “trust first, ask questions later” attitude, but I’m so exhausted with stories like this. People have to choose to not be racist and see the good in people until proven otherwise. The majority of people want to do the right thing but choose to ignore that due to their circumstances. It takes one person, one action, to cause someone to question their actions and be given the choice to do the right thing. If I was in a situation where I tried to accept the other person and offer the opportunity for them to do the right thing and they choose wrong, I won’t be afraid or hate them becuase *I* did the right thing.

I choose to do the right thing, always, regardless of the consequences to myself.