Posts tagged Radicalization
Posts tagged Radicalization
As I listened to a story covered by NPR this afternoon, on a hearing scheduled this coming Thursday to investigate the radicalization of Muslim Americans, I couldn’t help but think about the underlying factors that would stir up such a debate.
I was taken back, for a moment, to the months that followed the tragic day in September 2001. I remember my parents being too scared to let me go to school, my mother cursed at by people who once smiled at her at the grocery store, glares of anger and acts of hate.
These days, with the ongoing freedom protests in the Middle East, I wonder what these simple factors mean for people like me in the United States.
Honestly, I’m disturbed by the fact that many people are more concerned about the price of gas. They seem angry at the fact that these revolutions have erupted not realizing that what may cost them 20cents more in gas is actually costing someone else their life and livelihood.
And with Middle Eastern dictators such as Libyan ruler Gaddafi having innocent protesters killed and having no mercy for humanity, it seems to have stirred up the September 11th stereotype of Islam.
I spoke to a gentleman just the other day expressing how happy I am about the revolutions in the Middle East. I explained that my excitement stemmed from the fact that Arab youths were standing up for themselves, taking charge of their lives even if it meant they were risking it.
Through unintentional ignorance, this man explained that he was fearful. That from what he’d heard, these revolutions were acts of terrorism in these Middle Eastern countries and that if these rulers fall it would mean bad news for America and the rest of the world.
Wow. This was his understanding of what is going on in the Middle East. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people out there are just as confused, how many people are misled and misunderstanding what is really going on. It’s disturbing to think that people are mistaking these freedom struggles for acts of terror.
Ignorance doesn’t sound like bliss to me.
Suddenly, debates on the role of Islam in American society have flourished. Muslims all across the nation being targetted through acts of hate and, for lack of a better word, confusion. People misled by the media, political propoganda and greedy incentives are fearful of a religion that preaches what all religions do: peace and understanding.
Fear is the catalyst of this hatred, of this prejudice. People are often fearful of the unknown, and in this case, what they do not know is what they are actually afraid of. Islam and Muslim Americans have become the stereotypical scapegoats of this fear. If the fear can be pinpointed, it can be eliminated. Why else would such an irrational meeting be scheduled by Rep. Peter King (R) of Long Island?
What next…internment camps for all Muslim Americans? You would think that sounds ridiculous, but this seems to be the kinds of steps political officials like Rep. King are leaning towards by instilling fear in everyone else. Somehow convincing many people, like the gentleman I spoke to, that the revolutions in the Middle East are acts of terror and that these supposed acts are spreading throughout the United States.
Does that make sense to anyone? Why are people so keen on associating terror to Islam? To Muslims? No one called Jarod Loughner a terrorist when he shot 31 bullets, wounding 19 and killing 6. No one associated his faith and beliefs with terror. What about the Unibomber? Timothy McVeigh? No one associated or stereotyped Christianity with terrorism. So why Islam? Why Muslims?
Read a little bit about all the things you didn’t know. Update yourself. Educate yourself. Understand the true nature of society. Learn about the things you’re not being taught.