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Preconceived notions formed either by traditional prejudices or media characterizations have been known to cause human beings to process thought without rationalism and logic. This is dangerous, especially when we then choose to act on such mental missteps. The most important thing in this rapidly changing world is that we enforce the laws of logic and reason, while still using the tenets of whatever belief systems hold dear as guidance along our life’s march. It can be done.
A belief that breeds hate is not one that has place in society, but an unfair bias against a belief’s development years is no better. Yes, there are inflammatory verses in the Holy Bible that are comparable to those found in the Holy Quran, but most Christians can tell you that there was a societal, social, spiritual, and philosophical context to those verses. As a Christian, I know this to be true, especially with the arrival, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Rabbi Yeshua ben haElohim. Wouldn’t I be fair to say certain teachings aren’t what they were during the early days of Islam as well?
Look, I don’t claim to be an Islamic scholar or one that deems himself to be an expert on the tenets of Islam, but what my logic and reason tells me is that my Muslim brother or sister is not my enemy. The same way many practicing Christians don’t attend church every Sabbath or Sunday, keep Kosher, pray, or even read the Bible every day to the point where it radiates off their faces, there are many within Islam that walk a similar path. We have fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. We also have extremist Christians and extremist Muslims.
This isn’t a foreign concept, nor should it be for the learned. We have fundamentalists in both religions, as well as many different subgroups, but none of the extremists in either group are considered part of the whole. That’s what extremism is–you take a certain teaching from within a belief system, naturally out of context, and you then proceed to conduct business in accordance with this newfound ideology, often to the rebuke, scorn, and (at times) fear of traditional adherents. Chaos ensues.
There are also many socioeconomic factors that play into the influence and effects of certain extremist groups within a particular belief system or region. Imagine, for a moment, if the Ku Klux Klan had access to a large portion of the United States’ economic power, such as foreign trade, currency, and a large portion of the region’s weapons cache. Imagine also if they were to have formed during the Reconstruction Era after the end of the American Civil War, in the midst of the sort of chaos that only arises out of a completely destabilized central government.
With the KKK suddenly in control of an enormous economic resource, weaponry, and access to international trade, they could easily take over the whole Eastern Seaboard within a matter of months, even after the Old South’s defeat at the hand of what used to be the Union States. Due to the time period, it would be rather simple for racists living in Union states to defect to the KKK, and now, suddenly, the Union is being attacked from every perceivable angle–all on the premise of an extremist, hate-filled, anarchist idea. The idea becomes as dangerous as the weapon.
Let’s all take a deep breath. We know who the real enemy is. Let’s win this together.