CNN recently featured the special, "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door." I wasn't looking forward to it. It's never pleasant to watch hatred at work.
The program was the story of the local Muslim community in Murfreesboro, TN, wanting to build a new center on the outskirts of town.
When the community purchased the land and put up a sign announcing the building of a new Islamic Centre, the trouble began.
People at demonstrations against the building of the center said things like: "This mosque they're wanting to build. It's really a training center." "Death to all infidels."
People wrecked the construction machinery, defaced the signs, and fired shots into the air to scare the people.
Everything was done to make the Muslim community afraid and to deny to them the feeling that Murfreesboro was their home.
I'd like to make something clear. I myself am a Jew. You know how we always assume that, if people belong to an ethnic group, they're always going to line up with (what we think about) that group? And it's said, or at least it's thought, that Jews are somehow antipathetic to Muslims? Well, I don't believe that's true.
I believe it's a line we've been fed like so many other lines and that it originates with the same people who were responsible for what Muslims are accused of.
I don't hate Muslims. I have no desire to see anyone falsely accused or watch any group be persecuted.
In reality, our ways of thinking about social situations like this are hopelessly simplistic and often inaccurate. Just as the persecutors' view of Muslims in Murfreesboro.
They consider that Muslims caused 9/11. Muslims did not cause 9/11. The same man who said that we should not listen to conspiracy theories, the same man who said if you're not with us you're against us, the same man who presided over the American nation when 9/11 happened, in my view, had far more to do with the events of that day than Muslims.
9/11 was engineered by persons unknown, persons who have escaped justice, persons who falsely accuse others, but among their number almost surely were the President, his Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State and many, many other officials of his government.