I just can’t seem to shake my concern that the rising rate of ill-informed, if not outright stupid, anti-Muslim sentiment around the world and in the US. This is something we should be very worried about. I regularly get an email blast from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with news on such matters as hate mail, screaming of insults and other indications that Neanderthals are stalking anyone who professes a belief in the Qur’an and all things Islam, and it’s a scary thing, I’ve got to say. To paraphrase the Late Frank Zappa, I’m not a Muslim, but there is a whole lot of times I wish I weren’t a white man raised in the Christian way of doing things. That’s because there’s a lot of nutty stuff being handed out in the name of Christianity, enough to freak out even a casual observer. I should point out right here that I’m not a religious guy. I generally believe that spirituality is best left to the individual, and that we get ourselves into trouble when we try to make it into an organized thing, whichever organized thing you might have in mind. Anyway, these CAIR missives increasingly contain news of behavior so bizarre that I have to wonder if I’ve unknowingly ingested some kind of hallucinogenic drug.
For instance, the white supremacist KKK (or Ku Klux Klan), last month was spreading its bigoted, misanthropic message around neighborhoods in the area of Spokane, Washington — to wit, “You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake” and that the Klan is specifically targeting Muslims with its nasty spotlight. The message came on a sheet of paper contained in a plastic baggie and weighted down with a number of pebbles, presumably to provide balast for being tossed out the window of a swiftly passing car — drive-by leaf-letting of hate and bile. An image of some bozo dressed in a white sheet and pointy white mask/hat is emblazoned at the top of the sheet, and there was a phone number for fearful neighbors to call to report sightings of supposedly crazed Islamists wielding baby carriages, shopping bags or other items that clearly are meant to disguise their evil designs on unsuspecting white Christians. More than one neighbor subjected to this campaign of hate, I should add, started gathering up the plastic-bagged papers and tossing them out, prompting some Klan apologist to go to work defending the Klan’s right to disseminate this crap based on the First Amendment to the US Constitution. I seem to recall the National Socialist Party of America –meaning Americans of the Nazi persuasion using a similar argument in a Jewish-dominated area of Skokie, Illinois, in 1977. The Nazis wanted to dress up in Nazi uniforms and stage a march through a community populated largely by Jews, and the community didn’t want it to happen. The Nazis won, based on a free-speech argument, but the march got moved to Chicago, perhaps thanks to the uproar of objections.
In another recent incident, a group of Christians showed up to protest Oklahoma Muslim Day at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, where some Muslims had obtained a permit to gather and pray and speak. The self-styled “Christians” had no permit and were ushered out of the building after they started screaming epithets, calling Muslims “idiots” and the Qur’an “a piece of garbage,” among a lot of spicier comments I can’t use here. The ejection, of course, poured gas on the fires of rage among the Christian idiots, and their bigotry became cast in concrete. Now, I despise the acts of violence and terrorism being committed around the world in the name of Islam, but I don’t consider the perpetrators to be representative of mainstream Islamic beliefs any more than I believe the KKK – which claims to be a Christian-based brotherhood – or a ragtag bunch of right-wing, gun-toting, so-called Christians should be considered an example of mainstream Christianity. They’re all extremists, people who have decided to bundle up their personal insecurities, religious delusions and political grudges into one big, nasty bag of mental puss and use it to bludgeon to death anyone who does not think the way they do. They use selected bits of their chosen religious dogma to justify their actions, when in fact their actions have no justification whatsoever, particularly not hidden in the verbiage of their favorite holy scriptures. The KKK sludge, which has featured swastikas and Nazi symbology in more than one incident, is especially worrisome. Minorities have every right to get nervous when this kind of thing starts up in their neighborhoods. And now Muslims in America can add themselves to that list of on-edge communities, fearful of the day when the shootings, the burnings, the bombings might start.