Why we need to tackle Islamophobia ASAP
Having read so much about Islamophobia and hating preachers like Ann Coulter and Pamela Geller, I always thought about my responses to them. I would formulate arguments in my mind over and over again. I was thankful that I would never run into these people, considering I don't really hang around racist Islamophobes.
However, it recently hit me that it's not just media personalities like Coulter that I have to fear. Hate and violence is being preached and advocated by individuals I once sat next to in school, laughed with and even considered my friends. Which brings me to a recent Facebook post.
A status came across my newsfeed in which a girl I went to College with said: "My heart is so heavy for the hit our Marine Corp took today. When will this all stop? God Bless Our Troops." A friend of hers commented and said: "When we blow that entire part of the earth off the map." To which she responded: "Please get on that ASAP!"
Admittedly, I'm not sure what part of the world she was referring to, but championing a call to kill anywhere is vile. It puts one in the same camp as the very individuals one condemns. The camp of blind preachers, propagating hate and death. If I had to guess, I'd assume it's the Middle East she spoke of, so here is my response:
The Middle East is apparently you think full of crazy individuals out to get Americans. The Middle East in your mind doesn't contain babies, children, women, grandparents, families, students, newlyweds, fathers, mothers, Christians, Muslims, Jews, blacks, whites, Arabs, thousands of years of history; nor any person, idea, or thing of value; or any trace of humanity at all. Basically the Middle East is just one collective terrorist to you and needs to be immediately "blown off" our shared planet. How rational is that?
This logic of collective punishment and generalization was the same logic Osama Bin Laden used for 9/11. He cited the U.S. government's foreign policy, U.S. support of Israel in its killing of thousands of Palestinians, and the U.S. indifference when thousands of Bosnian Muslims were killed; and the presence of U.S. military bases in the Middle East as a reason for his attacks of 9-11.
For OBL it wasn't about introducing violence into a peaceful world, rather he saw it as engaging in legitimate retaliation for already existing provocations. He said because the government of America is representative of the American public, then all Americans are responsible for the actions of the American government. In other words there are no innocent Americans, Americans are all the same according to OBL. Clearly, this mode of thinking is absurd and inexcusable.
Yet, you exercise that same rationale. You are stating that annihilating an entire part of the earth is a necessary and appropriate form of retaliation for the killing of 5 U.S. Marines by one individual. By stating "blow the entire part of the Earth off the map" you have made the act of one individual the responsibility of over 200 million people. How can you do that? How can you so readily say "please get on that ASAP" without recognizing that you are advocating, preaching, supporting, and even demanding the deaths of hundreds of millions of innocent people including children?
I don't know what specifically about this incident on Facebook led me to write this article, as I've faced Islamophobia numerous times. I once was asked by my boss at the time to give a short lecture on Islam to her Sunday school class at Church. My boss had told me beforehand that she did not like the way her Pastor was presenting Islam. She said the Pastor's description was based on the Fox news representation of Islam: That holy war is the central pillar for all Muslims type of Islam; the Islam that is not the real Islam.