It’s tough being a Muslim in America right now.
I have thoughts that percolate for hours before I write them down and today’s post is generated in response to what has become a recent perception among a lot of Americans today.
It might be controversial so some of you may want to stop reading now…
“Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.” Yes, you even hear statements like that on one of the most popular news channels in America today.
Let’s substitute Christians for the word Muslims in the statement and ask this: How would that make you feel?
The truth behind statements is so hard to get at because it takes some digging. It takes some thought. It takes us holding back on coming to conclusions.
Using the “broad brush” and painting a whole religion based on the acts of some extremists is much easier to do.
But it leads to fear, hatred and untruth.
How does that fit into the Christian worldview?
Dean Obeidallah writing in January of 2015 states that in a five year period before he posted his article less than two percent of terrorist acts in Europe were committed by Muslims. He uses 2013 as a normal year and pinpoints 152 terrorist acts on the continent. Two were carried out by religiously motivated groups.
Recently we have suffered the bombing in Istanbul and the shooting in Orlando. Many people were killed and wounded.
And the news media was right there to focus on the Muslim faith and Muslim extremists.
Do other religions commit acts of terror?
Yes they do.
For example in 2013, Buddhist terrorists murdered Muslims in Sri Lanka. Israeli settlers in the disputed Palestinian territories committed 399 acts of terror against Palestinians in 2013 resulting in 93 Palestinians being injured, mosques being vandalized and even Christian churches.
Dare we turn to America? The FBI has been keeping records of terrorist attacks since 1980 and from 1980 to 2005, 94% of terrorist attacks were committed by non-Muslims. The data collected shows that 42% of the acts were committed by Latino groups and 24% were committed by extreme liberal groups.
A 2014 study has tracked American deaths due to Muslim terrorists from 9/11 until 2104 and in this time frame thirty-seven Americans were killed by “Muslim terrorists.” In that same time frame, 190,000 Americans lost their lives from homicidal acts.
In all fairness, it is hard to keep a cool head in these times when we watch our televisions and we have interruptions of our normal programming for a news person to come on our sets and tell us about another emergency. “Breaking News” is really so common today that it has become almost normal. One network has so many “News Alerts” with the flashy red graphic that they can happen several times in an hour’s news coverage.
In all fairness, covering the news today is also a business. News editors ask questions that will catch the largest number of available viewers. Covering Buddhist terrorists in Sri Lanka is not going to lead to high ratings. They know that spending hours covering Muslim terrorist activity will get attention today. Other questions revolve around audience comprehension. What is the easiest way to explain terrorism today? Blame it on a particular religion. The American people can understand that and they have some particular place to focus their fear and hatred. Making them think about the bigger problem will just be too confusing.
Not all Christians are terrorists but all terrorists are Christians.
Wow, that is “cringe worthy” isn’t it?
How would you like to evangelize the world if people were saying that about us? I don’t know about you, but I would find myself “hunkering down,” trying to avoid contact until the bad vibes go away. The problem is that extremist Muslims like ISIS are not going away very fast. They have gained a foothold in northern Syria and central Iraq and they seem to be larger than life. Thanks to the internet and their ability to utilize social media, their message has spread to disaffected people all over the world. If life is truly miserable, what is the solution? Join ISIS or commit some heinous crime in the name of this group. The news media will jump all over it and we have what we have today.
The title of Chapter 12 of Pastor Hamilton’s book is “Will There Be Hindus in Heaven?” but he really is not picking on Hindus. He talks about Jews, Buddhists and yes, Muslims.
I have to clear the air because of the media climate in America today.
Many in America would respond to the question “Will There Be Muslims in Heaven?” with a resounding no. Based on media coverage.
As a Christian, before I respond to this last question I need to stop and ask myself if I have the whole picture or am I being manipulated. Have I taken the time to look at the facts? Have I taken the time to think through my condemnation?
Or am I just responding to the “news of the day”?