Monday, July 26, 2010

Spreading It Around

I have a lot of sympathy for Muslims in Western nations these days.

From the French telling Muslim women they can't wear their traditional religious dress in public, to Facebook telling some Muslim groups "Thanks, but no thanks," being Muslim in majority white-spaces isn't easy these days. As a black man, I can relate.

It's strange how ideas, particularly those founded on distrust and outright hatred can gain traction so quickly. So many people seem to think that a belief in Islam is definite proof of a bent towards terrorism. Trust me, I'm not blind to the fact that there are many Muslim terrorists, but I'm also not blind to the fact that "terrorism" is a loaded and misused word. One man's tea is another man's poison, and one man's terrorism is another man's War On Terror.

Think about it.

Sadly, most people don't think about it. Instead they make convoluted arguments that seek to justify religious profiling, all while denying that it's a problem. They seek to impose restrictions on others that they would chafe under themselves. And they excuse their own bad behavior, or the bad behavior of those that look like them, all while blaming other groups for the bad behavior of a small minority within that group.

All of it sounds mighty familiar to a black man in America, and I'm sure it sounds familiar to many of you. It seems that just like the Indians, Chinese and Jews all had their turn to join black folks as America's bogeyman du jour, Muslims are now treading the same path. One consistent thing about America is that if you're a minority, particularly a non-white minority, there will come a time when you are viewed with widespread suspicion, and you will have your rights challenged or removed. It's as certain as corruption on Capitol Hill.

The sad thing is that most of the minority groups who have faced marginalization and abuse will be at the front of the line when it's time to denigrate a different group. We are all like dogs fighting for scraps at the big table; howling and biting while we desperately attempt to avoid a swift kick to the ribs and eat our fill. Even though we all know that it will be our turn soon enough, we still rush to condemn and punish others.

We all should be troubled by the way Muslims have been treated around the globe since September 11. I don't condone, or excuse the actions of extremists or those who shelter them, but I do understand that things are rarely black and white, or simple, when humans are involved. I understand that many of the folks who turn to "terrorism" feel like they have serious grievances that are not being addressed. And while I disagree completely with their methods, I sympathize with their pain and frustration. Thus, it saddens me to see so many other folks fail to acknowledge those concerns, and instead blindly accept the latest manure being shoveled out by the powers that be.

Just spreading it around.



Sabina E. said...

a lot of innocent Muslims are killed in terrorist attacks in non-Western nations everyday, while Westerners aren't targeted as often. Mosque bombings, attacks on Shia or Sunni Muslims, and attacks on religious gatherings have had a toll on non-Western Muslims.

for those Islamophobic, racist assholes who say that all Muslims are terrorists: we are under constant threat of attacks by other Muslims and non-Muslims. WE are the ones under threat.

The media didn't even bother to make a big deal over an attempted bombing to blow up a mosque in Florida last month. A crazy white dude did it.

Anonymous said...

I agree it DISGUST me when I hear black comedians making jokes at Arabs and Muslims expense just trashy and stupid. Like that scene in 'Soul Plane' which was a disgrace. At least the guy in 'Flight Plan' got to vent his frustrations AND kick Jodie Foster's ass.

Big Man said...


that's a good point. I always noted that stories about bombings in Iraq or Afghanistan glossed over the fact the a score of native Muslims would be killed for every one American killed. That was just crazy to me.

If these folks are inflicting that sort of damage on their own people, it shouldn't be that hard to win support unless our tactics and mindsets are just ridiculous.

Imhotep said...

“I understand that many of the folks who turn to "terrorism" feel like they have serious grievances that are not being addressed. And while I disagree completely with their methods, I sympathize with their pain and frustration”.

Big Man, I trying to grapple with your statement. So what do you propose if their grievances are not being addressed, and he aggrieved party have limited or no options? Do you propose that they continue to file more grievances in hopes that their oppressors are overcome by a fit of humanity and decide to play fair? You say you sympathize with their pain and frustration. Ok, fine, now what do you advise? Would you advise that they be patient and take comfort in their misery? I say if you have access to terror, then bring terror. I believe terrorism is rarely plan A. I believe it’s the plan to resort to when you reach your breaking point, and need get your voice heard.

We agree that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and whoever controls the narrative, obviously controls the use of the word terrorist. Are white people ever labeled terrorist? Just asking. If Goliath controlled the narrative, David would have been labeled a terrorist.

Big Man said...


My beef with terrorists is that too often they target innocent civilians as a means of making their displeasure known.

Now, you could debate whether civilians are truly "innocent" if they aren't actively rebelling against a repressive regime, but for my purposes, regular folks just trying to live their lives as best they can are "innocent" when it comes to armed conflicts. As Jihad noted, these people bear the brunt of the "terrorism" in most countries, since roadside bombs and car bombs and even suicide bombers don't typically kill all that many foreigners.

I think it's a problem when you attack and kill your own people in order to get back at someone else. Or, you attack and kill people who are not actively involved in your conflict because they make easier targets than those who are involved. Or you don't care about what happens to those people who aren't involved as long as you can hurt those who are. I feel that way about those deemed "terrorists" and government officials who glibly discuss collateral damage.

So, while I don't oppose armed opposition or revolution, I do oppose tactics that purposely hurt the innocent in pursuit of a larger goal. That seems harsh and unjust.

Hope that clears up what I meant.

Imhotep said...

"I think it's a problem when you attack and kill your own people in order to get back at someone else."

A “Terrorist” does not attack and kill their own people, certainly not intentionally. When a group resort to terrorism it’s only because they lack the necessary military might to defend their cause on a modern day conventional battle field. So, they have to get your attention anyway they can, and yes, that may mean killing some “innocent” people who are members of the oppressive group.

Really, a terrorist would much rather set fire to an oil field and disrupt income producing assets, than to kill people.

“ since roadside bombs and car bombs and even suicide bombers don't typically kill all that many foreigners”

That’s because foreigners are not the intended target. Now if the car bomb goes off at a hotel that caters to foreigners, then you can say foreigners are the target. Car bombs, suicide bombers, for the most part are intended for members of the opposition or the politically powerful, but rarely foreigners. If and when foreigners are the target, it’s to partially interrupt the tourist money, and bring world wide attention to the problem.

Raving Black Lunatic