Monday, October 12, 2009

Anti terrorism and American Muslims

"As the FBI pursues one alleged terrorist plot after another, Muslim Americans are grappling with a widespread sense that the government thinks they all could be terrorists. In dozens of interviews across the country, McClatchy has found that the government's search for the enemy within is threatening to divide and destroy America's Muslim communities. "It's not a guilty complex; it's the stigma of being a Muslim and constantly having to defend religion," said Edina Lekovic, the communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "It causes people to give up and say, `Why should I bother? No one likes me. Why should I keep trying?'" Americans of all faiths support the government's efforts to keep them safe, but the war on terrorism looks different to those who find themselves under constant scrutiny because of their religion, ethnicity or both. Many American Muslims say the government's hunt for hidden enemies has tainted their mosques, charities and community centers by making them a front line in the war on terrorism. Many think that their mosques are filled with FBI informants because the government is treating their community more as suspect than as citizen and presumes Muslims guilty rather than innocent."

During World War II, German and Italian Americans never complained about any government efforts to root out Axis supporters in their communities. Instead, they volunteered and fought for their country.

Young Japanese Americans left family behind in "relocation centers", and fought in the U.S. armed forces, in the process demonstrating their community's patriotism and disproving the racist accusations of disloyalty.

Today, we should fight anti Muslim ignorance, bigotry and prejudice. We must recognize that the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans have no sympathy for Middle Eastern terrorists. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are not of Middle Eastern or Arab descent. On the other hand, don't complain if stopping people from blowing up more buildings hurts anyone's self esteem.

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