Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hate breeds hate.

Once again a terror attack has been visited upon our country.  We don't know everything about the people who did it but we do know that radical Islam was a factor in their decision to give up on the values of the United States in favor of the distortion of a great religion that led to homicide.  But what is remarkable, while much of country is fighting back with a sense of resilience, others are embracing their own form of hate and bigotry.

The usual Islamophobes were in form calling for deportation of Muslims, the destruction of mosques and if not that, one member of Congress suggested we should investigate all Muslims.  While I have almost given up on trying to explain the difference between the radical Islam and the vast majority of Muslims around the world.

I often wonder how it is so easy for so many people who's voice is amplified by position or money can be so thoughtless as to make clearly bigoted statements that inflame more hatred.  Ann Coulter suggested that the mother of the bomber should be arrested not for any crime, but simply for wearing Hijab as part of her religion.  Isn't this exactly what the propaganda of the Islamists is.  They portray the west as hostile toward the very nature of Islam.

We live in a country that from the very beginning started with a simple idea, that our diversity could be a strength.  We didn't always get it right.  But with each wave of immigration we had the fertile soil that would allow each group to add the best of them to what it meant to be an American.  Originally the concept of the American Melting Pot was that as more cultures brought their traditions and culture to the United States they would melt theirs into what it means to be an American.  But later the idea of a salad developed.  While each distinct culture will keep their own flavor but tossed together with the dressing of American freedom we all formed a more flavorful mix.  But in making the salad the bitterness of the culture needs to fade away.

But here is the thing, our culture has to find a way to welcome the good of other cultures.  When we stereotype, when we attack as enemy someone who has a real interest in adding to the greatness of the country then we will set ourselves up for failure.  Asking people to give up harmless cultural rituals or practices like hijab or circumcision because some people don't like it is not the American way.

Let me be clear, if someone wants to visit hate, terror or anything to undermine our country to our shores they should be stopped, sent away or prosecuted.  But here is the thing, when we decide to block the building of a mosque in a community because of a few terrorists' actions, when we bug houses of worship because some co-religionists preach hate or if we argue to criminalize harmless behavior because it "feels" unAmerican we aren't stopping hate of our freedom, we are contributing to it.

So be angry with the bombing, be angry at the distortion of Islam that would lead to it, but don't treat all Muslims the same way, hate is never a good defense.  Embrace the real American values, including freedom.

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