A long-time acquaintance of mine, who happens to be of Persian descent, posted this status on his Facebook yesterday:
The TV at the gym was showing the protests in the middle-east, and a lady on a treadmill says: “They should just drop a bomb right in the middle of all those people” Made me think how much people are alike all over the world 😦
If I’m completely honest with my innermost self, I can briefly empathize with this lady’s statement…and shame on me for even considering it. But it’s an honest reaction to something that is so outrageous and hard to comprehend. But like many things in life that are hard to grasp, we tend to oversimplify and categorize our feelings…like this lady did…like I could if I choose to be lazy…and insensitive.
After all, let’s look at what’s really happening in the Islamic world right now. Extremists are preying on the fears of the poor, disadvantaged and uneducated among them and providing them with a purpose…a jihad…a call to arms to fight their oppressor’s in the name of the Holy Quran and the almighty Prophet Muhammad.
Except that’s not what happened. The Holy Quran and the Prophet Muhammad have not called for the destruction of the western world as much as all of us…the jihadist and the housewife, would like to believe.
It’s a byproduct of spin that creates these misunderstandings. No one is willing to challenge the popular assertions, the fear-mongering that makes things easier to define…makes us willing to put people into categories that are comfortable to us, but often mistaken and horribly wrong.
The Islamic religion, indeed Arabs of all faiths, don’t have a market on extremism. One need merely look at our own breed: at the sociopathic Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center; at Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian born Coptic Christian, maker of the incendiary film currently stirring misguided passions and fears overseas; at Pat Robertson and his “down-home” brand of racism and religious intolerance; and finally at the Limbaugh’s, and the Beck’s, and the Hannity’s…all commercial entities that pander to our own uneducated…our lowest common denominator…our lazy.
Extremism knows no religious belief, no skin color and no national boundaries. Extremism cuts its victims down with an impunity that would make Solomon proud. We are all extremists in the dark corners of our minds. It’s only through critical thinking and a modicum of education and humanity that we are able to overcome these fearful portions of our hind-brains.