Twelve years after the original 9/11, theories surrounding what really happened that day are flowing as fast as the blood in Cairo. It’s fifty years since the JFK assassination and that is still the subject of new books. And it’s almost seventy years since the Holocaust and there are still those who deny that it ever happened.
Interestingly, some of those who claim the last event is a fabrication and whose co-religionists are widely blamed for the first event will be marching for “Muslim rights” in our nation’s capital – if things go according to plan. Truly, these are strange times in which we live.
In all probability, the “March,” if it comes off will have far fewer participants than the organizers’ goal of one million. From the admittedly inaccurate numbers of perhaps 2.6 million Muslims in America, that would require nearly every other Muslim to participate. Islam, which is the fastest growing religion in our prison systems, would have to secure a one day release for some of its incarcerated adherents to achieve its goals.
But the issue isn’t whether a million people show up in Washington. It is a matter of the presumed motivation which is causing the organizers to make the effort to pull this event off. That is, theoretically, “to combat the discrimination that Muslims endure in America and to give us non-Muslims a better understanding of what Islam is really about.”
Perhaps I’ve been fortunate. My third and fourth years of college I lived across the street from Elijah Muhammad’s Temple of Islam #2. There were always a few young men, nicely dressed in suit and tie who stood outside the Temple and made sure that no incidents occurred there. This was about a mile and a half from the complex that Muhammad Ali built.
Because I lived in a very well-integrated neighborhood – not just in terms of race but in religion as well, I knew a number of Muslims who were proprietors of stores. One family started in this country with one brother who came from Pakistan, who worked two jobs and saved enough to buy a Standard Oil gas station. He then brought over two other brothers and his wife and all of them worked in the family business and purchased several more gas stations.
These were people who came here for opportunity, worked hard in what has clearly become the old-fashioned and now passé way and were well-integrated in their communities. But that is my experience and one that is not shared by a lot of Americans.
What is the American perception of Islam? It is rather different – and perhaps more accurate than mine.
The Twin Towers; the Taliban; accurate stories about the suppression of women’s rights in countries in which Sharia law rules the land; the Boston Marathon; the persecution of Christians; the constant defamation of Jews as pigs; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; the issuance of fatwas against anyone who speaks ill of Islam; well, the list goes on and on, but you get the picture.
In some respects, the presumed “persecution of Muslims in America” is very little different than Al Sharpton’s categorization of how blacks are mistreated in this country. And the problem is that when any group engages in what most of us consider to be uncivilized behavior, it is hard for even the objective observer not to extrapolate from that and conclude that is how all members of that group behave.
It is understandable to me that Americans who see constant reports about the number of violent deaths which occur in Chicago and our other major cities and see that the assailants and the victims are mostly black conclude that blacks are violent.
It is understandable to me that Americans who read about young girls in Islamic countries who are the victims of rape or refuse the advances of a male whom they spurned being stoned to death or being the victims of “honor killings” conclude that is the way Islam works.
Well, although it isn’t the politically correct thing, there is a tremendous amount of violence in our inner city black communities. And there is a tremendous amount of medieval behavior in countries where Islam is the majority faith.
If we start by admitting that, perhaps we’ll look for the path which will lead us to fixing those problems. And that would be worth a great deal more than having a march on Washington – or anywhere else.