A Few Practical Words on Islamophobia

The number of Muslims in the world is somewhere between 1.6 bil. and 2 bil. That’s a really hard number to fathom. Too many to assimilate through conversion. Too many to kill with bombs. And certainly too many to paint with one broad brush.

By comparison, at it’s height the number of active ISIS fighters was around 30,000. That number is easier to understand. Let’s say it’s the number of people at a Major League Baseball game.

If you created a bar graph where 1.6 bil. were represented by a 6 inch bar, the bar representing 30,000 would be imperceptible. Try to let that sink in.

The extremists claiming to represent Islam are, no doubt, extremely dangerous. When they strike, it gets magnified by ubiquitous media. It’s a scary thing.

But here’s the deal. There is a war of recruitment going on.

You really, really don’t want to piss off 1.6 bil. otherwise benign citizens. Angry, unenlightened, fearful rhetoric against Islam is a very dangerous thing. When this gets spouted by your leader, it increases the chance that you will become a target for the bad guys. It lessens the chance that the good Muslims will cooperate with you.

That’s just stupid talking.trump

We have to live together on this planet until we die. There are passages in the Quran and the Bible that, when wielded by the wrong people, are extremely intolerant and inhumane. Over time we must decipher, evaluate and, ultimately, evolve into compatible communities.

I have faith that all people are generally good, but easily manipulated by angry rhetoric and hidden agendas.

Love your neighbor.

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I recently took some grief for saying I felt safer in Indonesia than walking the streets of New Orleans at night. People were quick to point out that I was a man in a misogynistic culture.

True.

However, one thing I will point out is that there are over 340 mil. guns in the private sector of the United States. If properly organized, that fire power could conquer much of the world without using our military.

In Indonesia it is almost impossible to get a license to own a weapon. Just something to think about.

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A Message to Friends Regarding the Muslim Ban

Just sharing a little personal experience here. A stream of conscience, if you will.

I understand that fear of the unknown is natural. Seeing a Muslim extremist on television about to chop off someone’s head is frightening indeed. So many of my friends have strong opinions on this and yet the vast majority of those friends don’t even know a single Muslim. Not one.

While working with government contractors and associations I’ve had the opportunity to work with quite a few Muslims. I’ve had a Muslim supervisor. I’ve worked for a company with an Iranian president I assume to be Muslim. I recall being in meetings where no two people were from the same country. There was a harmony of purpose to achieve common goals together. No one blinked. No one regarded anyone else with suspicion. On several occasions it was a Muslim who had my back, so to speak.

I’ve also performed music regularly at a restaurant owned by a Muslim. My music wasn’t censored. The money was green. All good stuff.

How strange is it that some people are willing to include dogs and cats within their concept of friendship, but not Muslims.

I make no claims to any expertise in this area, but I’ve noticed that the countries in Europe where terrorism is the biggest concern have Muslim communities that are marginalized. In those countries most of the Muslim population live in ghettos segregated from the main population. Laws are passed controlling the way they live and dress. Some sensible, some merely exclusive.

It’s always been different here in the U.S. Muslims come here, albeit in fewer numbers, and assimilate seamlessly for the most part. They are happy, productive and patriotic.

Your new president (sorry, I just can’t bring myself to say “our”) has the power to change this. His actions are that of a reactionary rather than an intellectual. I want to say he’s just f@/king dumb, but I’m trying to write with some degree of sophistication.

Banning Muslims sends a huge message. A message large enough to cause a sensitive high school kid to abandon his plans on medical school because he now feels disenfranchised—a potential ISIS recruit in the making.

Sure, some of the Islamic traditions seem backwards and primitive to the western world. I certainly believe they need to evolve. But I really doubt that ostracizing them or cramming our culture down their collective throats is going to have the desired effect. We should live by example and watch as they adopt over time to a more progressive world. We should punish them when they actually break a law, not before.

There are Islamic extremist nutcases out there—foreign and domestic. It seems they don’t pick their targets randomly. I don’t plan to live in fear, but neither do I want my country to adopt policies guaranteed to make us more of a target.

But really, I guess that’s my way of saying if you don’t actually know any Muslims you have no credibility with me.