A few months ago, I wrote a column about the word “they” and how it can be a dangerous word. Since then and after the tragedies in Paris and San Bernardino, California, the point is driven home by the consequences when some segments of global societies label Muslims as “they.”
In the U.S., some political candidates have called for banning all Muslim immigrants and the establishment of a registry to track their whereabouts — both are antithetical to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for religious freedom and forbids discrimination on the basis of religion.
In a society with a strong sense of decorum, we’ve heard reports of people spitting on Muslims; feces have been smeared at their places of worship; and the routine act of boarding a flight has been challenged by a fellow passenger because of prejudice. Where could this lead?
Violence is a reality in the United States and globally. It is a daily concern for Catholic Relief Service colleagues, partners and beneficiaries from different faith traditions who work in countries torn asunder by acts of annihilation.
I deplore that mass shootings have invaded our society. I grieve the poverty in spirits that bleeds hearts of all love and fills them with the desire to kill. I fear most what fear can do to us as people: how it can rob us of compassion, harden us, hijack our ability to think rationally, diminish our openness to different cultures, and dull our sense of optimism.
Fear, however, does not always have the upper hand. Despite the mass shootings and bombings in Oklahoma City, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, Colorado Springs, Roseburg, Washington’s Navy Yard, and many more unnamed shootings here in the U.S., we do not label all American males as threats to society. We do not segregate nor banish them from our families and communities.
We are able to distinguish an aberrant fringe that we do not allow to define our conception of males at large. Why would we not do this for our Muslim neighbors?
If we get to know Muslims better, we will have an image rather different from the one that dominates Western media and that shapes our perception. Muslims are part of U.S. history from the early days with Bampett Muhammad, Yusuf Ben Ali and Peter Buckminster serving in battles under George Washington.
Muslims continue to be part of the U.S. military. They contributed innovations that built America: Fazlur Rahman Khan devised the structural system of frame tubes that enabled skyscrapers including the Sears Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago; Ayub Ommaya invented the intraventricular catheter system for relieving cerebrospinal fluid; Ernest Hamwi concocted the first edible waffle cone that makes ice cream street vending something we all enjoy; Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Laureate in chemistry, situates his research and teaching at a leading U.S. university. And in the sporting culture of America, who would not know Muhammad Ali? Shaquille O’Neal? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
Extremism is a scourge, but let us fight this by reaching out to and encountering Muslims. Isn’t this the point that Pope Francis made at a mosque during his trip to the Central Africa Republic, “Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence that is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself” In the Gospel, fear is not countered by security, but by love.
Woo is president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.
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Really, what do the bombing and mass shootings in America have to do with Muslims or Islam? They are different at their core and reflect a unique sickness. One, the shootings, come from a complete lack of faith, atheism. Islam on the other hand, preaches violence, slavery, kidnappings, rape and murder of all Infidels, all non Muslims. The Infidel is to be used and discarded. If you will not convert to Islam, you are the problem to be persecuted and eliminated. And it is not so aberrant a fringe. But the most salacious non truth in this article is the statement that “some political candidates have called for the banning of all muslim immigrants” . The truth is that they have called for better vetting of those immigrants. Now some will say that there are no available records to vet them properly but at the same time our officials do no even look at their Facebook pages for a hint of their sentiments. And BTW Syrians and Afghanis are also Christians and a few short questions would determine this immediately. The United States has let one, yes one, Christian of all the refugees into this country. Glenn Beck went to a Christian Community on the Syrian border to specifically take 137 Christian refugees out. He found a vibrant Christian community there. Blessed in their faith. He attended Mass there. He has a method to vet them easily. No ISIS among them. And guess what? He couldn’t get permission to bring them to the US. They ended up in a European country to be unnamed to protect them both.
I think that this article is totally naive. The Koran calls for the beheading of the Infidel and all Christians are Infidels to them. The Islamic principle of Al Takeyya encourages Muslims to lie anytime they sense it is better for Islam. Allah absolves any guilt when it comes to the Infidel. And quite frankly african slavery can be laid specifically at the door of Islam. If you are not a follower of Islam, you are nothing but dirt. The Crusades were a response to the attack and invasion of Europe by Muslims. Queen Isabella of Spain spent her reign ousting the Muslims from Spain. The pope at that time issued a request for prayers for the defeat of Islam in the Adriatic. If it had not been for her, we all would be bowing to Mecca in stead of Christ. Look up King Richard the Lionhearted and Saladin. Considering the multiple rapes of European girls that the Muslim so called refugees are committing right now you have an idea of the contempt they hold for Christians, for non muslims. English cities have had this problem for quite awhile. Their response was to cover it up, they PCed it. They choose to allow it rather than prosecute it. Neighborhood schools have been taken over and replace with Sharia in England. And, yes, there are No Go areas in all European countries. Roadside Crosses have been knocked down in Germany. But there is some hope. Many Iranians have become secret Christians. Many have had visions of Christ. Pray for them because when they are found out they are tortured and executed. You have had a glimpse of the truth in San Bernadino. A glimpse of how they think. Some Michigan cities have been so taken over that you can now here the Muslim call to prayer 5 times a day. Be strong in you faith in Christ because you are going to need it. Ask yourself this, would you have the courage to still declare Christ as you faced beheading? I see that line of 30 or so Christian men in Syria about to be beheaded by ISIS and wonder would I be as saintly? God Bless them all for their faith in Christ and may their martyrdom never be forgotten and teach us the truth of Islam and its hatred of all things Christ.
Great response, thanks for the info.
Carolyn Woo admits that the majority of its funds come from the government (requiring population control initiatives).
Ask her why CRS replaced a cross on their food with a teardrop.
I refuse to support their organization.