Friday, January 09, 2015

Being level headed is hard some times

Over the years I've heard so many opinions on how to fix the situation in the middle east and the issues with terrorism and many of these answers have been entertainingly (a word?) bad. They've ranged from one extreme to the other. I've heard stuff like "we should bomb the entire region," "all today's Muslim kids are tomorrow's terrorists," "we provoked them," "they are misunderstood" "many have killed in the name of God and it's their religion and right to believe" and the list goes on.

Of all the things I'm extreme, staunch, polar and adamant about; this is one topic I've always tried to maintain moderation. I've suffered at the hand of Muslim extremism and my family is fragmented as a result. I've also heard broken English with Arabic accents shout "Yay! America. Thank you" in downtown middle eastern streets.

I know religious wars have happened for a long, long time. I understand that faith and religious conviction is the strongest possible feeling for many people. When people invoke the Crusades to prove that Christians have also killed in the name of God I have to think of the relevance since the First Crusade was started by Pope Urban II in 1095. I don't like to compare events that happened 919 years apart because we've grown and evolved as a people since then.

To all the people who say that all Muslims are dangerous, we know that the word "all" is often the most dangerous part of that sentence. Nothing is all anything, so be careful of blanket statements.

I've said all that to say this. It's getting harder and harder to look on the bright side and defend the religion and the culture. The extremists are still outnumbered by the reasonable, but the extremists are getting more and more extreme. From the WTC attack in the '90s to 9/11 to Boston to thwarted attacks to Paris right now; those with extremists beliefs are attacking innocent people. They are brutally beheading folks.

I want to believe in the good of people. I want to believe that we can all peacefully coexist. I fundamentally disagree with arguing among religions, since they are such intensely personal choices. It's even worse when it's among Christians, Jews and Muslims since they all share the same patriarch - Abraham.

I hate racial profiling. I don't want to be worried when I see Muslim men. I don't want others to treat good people poorly. But the only things Christians beat you with is scripture and verse. When's the last time someone Jewish kidnapped anyone for eating pork. We don't use churches or temples as arms repositories. God, Jesus, Yahweh, etc are not in our heads telling us to murder. Seminary and Yeshiva don't recruit people based on anger and hate.

I'm trying so hard to keep the terrorists and extremists in their own little boxes and realize there's more to Allah than ISIS claims. I'm really, truly trying. But the fact remains that in 2015 if I get killed in the name of religion, I can safely assume which religion will do it.

I don't know the answer. I don't know the solution. I just know I'm terrified of the future and all scary things seem to be coming from the same place.