Could I have prevented the holocaust? Can I stop the next one?

Could I have helped prevent the holocaust if I had been living in Germany in the 1930s?

This is a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly over the last few days.  I’m afraid I don’t have an answer.  I’m afraid of what that might mean for my country and my fellow Americans.

Of course, we don’t have a Nazi party here in the United States, and antisemitism is mocked rather than promoted.  We are nothing like the Germans who followed Hitler in the 1930s.  We have nothing to worry about.

Except that we have isolated an entire group of our countrymen by their faith.

Today it is Muslims and not Jews who are blamed for our state of fear.  We, like the Germans after World War I, are broke and angry and unsure of what our future holds.  Our memories are scarred with images of burning bodies and crumbling buildings and we have no security blanket under which we can heal.  We are angry.  We are scared.  We are wounded and looking for justice and solutions.

We are not so different from the average German in 1933.

Except today the finger is pointed at Muslims instead of Jews.

It is true that at the root of some of our fears are men who call themselves Muslims.  It is true that we send troops to fight and die in countries where Islam is a dominant religion.  It is true that some of our country’s most vocal critics are self-identified Muslims.

But it is also true that Islam is a religion that is practiced every day by Americans.

The words Muslim and terrorist are not interchangeable.  People of all faiths blow things up and claim to be answering to God.  People swearing allegiance to a myriad of principles have committed heinous acts against their fellowman.  Christians.  Atheists.  Environmentalists.  Patriots.

And you know this.  We all know this.  We hear these arguments and nod our heads and the liberals among us say “yes, yes, we must be tolerant of the Muslims.

And we don’t even seem to notice that we are creating a divide in our country between us and them where we are Americans and they are Muslims.

We are Americans. We are united in our citizenship to a country founded by religious exiles, a people who cared less about what they could have or own or build and more about who they could be and how they could live.  We are Christians and Buddhists and Muslims and Wiccans and Agnostics and tree-huggers and gun-toters and homeschoolers and factory workers and mailmen.  We are Americans, all of us.

We seem to be forgetting when we say “Muslims” that we are referencing our countrymen.  Or maybe we aren’t forgetting, but we are OK with asking these countrymen to be lesser citizens based on their religious choices.  Do we blame them for aligning themselves with a religion used by terrorists?  Do we forget that their choice was about God and faith and not based on extremist figures?  Do we forget about the Christians who profess the same faith as Fred Phelps or Timothy McVeigh?

I suspect that we don’t even realize how much pain we are inflicting on our fellow Americans.

I suspect we forget that when we use “Muslim” when we mean “terrorist” that there are men and women who were born in this country who wince.  Perhaps we forget that we are labeling children who play in our neighborhood parks and women who serve on our PTA boards and men who fight in our military.

I am afraid.

I am afraid for my friend who is not always treated as if she is welcome in her own country.  I am afraid for her beautiful little girl who loves princesses.  I am afraid for her husband who took up American citizenship willingly.

I am afraid that they are not being treated with the same dignity and respect that I am.  I am heartbroken.  I want them to be loved back by this country, by their country.

I want to help.  I need to help.  I cannot stand by and watch my fellow Americans be marginalized and dehumanized until it is all too easy to for them to be fenced in with barbed wire and armed guards.  I need them to know that their Americanness is just as valid as mine, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is just as much their birthright as it is mine.  I need to do something to ensure those promises are kept.

But what?

I am but one woman standing against a wave of prejudice and fear and propaganda.  What can I, as one woman, do to prevent rampant racism from becoming state-sanctioned racism?  What could I, had I been but one German, done to prevent the holocaust?

Alone, I can do very little.  But I am not alone.  Together, I believe, we can rally around our brothers and sisters in citizenship.  Alone I can do almost nothing, but together, perhaps we can turn this ship around.

We are, after all, Americans.

faiqa

My fellow American.

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Comments

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  1. Sybil Law says:

    And Miss Faiqa happens to be one GORGEOUS Muslim American.

    This country is amazing because of it’s religious freedoms – right?
    You’d think so.

  2. Lexi says:

    Thank you for this post.

  3. Nanna says:

    Oh dear, honey, this is beautiful. And YOU are beautiful. And you’re right. The time to talk is past and the time to act is upon us. We MUST take action to protect our brothers and sisters. But how? I am encouraged by the STUDENTS -kids, y’all – who plan to protest across the street from Pastor Kookoo’s church this weekend and the clergy of different faiths who plan to read from the Koran in their religious services this weekend. But what else?

    Maybe we could create signs that say “Compassion spoken here” and plant them
    in our front yards all over the country

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Nanna, I actually considered going over to Gainesville this weekend.

      I like the idea of signs in our yards. :-)

      • jianali says:

        @Miss Britt, if I did not have to work, I’d go too

      • Little Miss Sunshine State says:

        @Miss Britt, That whole ugliness in Gainsville is making me sick to my stomach.
        I also thought about standing there in protest.

        The so-called “pastor” said on ABC that if Jesus was there, he would tell them what they are doing is OK.
        That’s one so-called “Christian” who knows nothing about Jesus.

      • Cara says:

        @Miss Britt, Friends living there posted a list of counter-gatherings happening all over Gainesville on Facebook, rallying their local friends to join in. I was so proud of them and really wish I was in a position to join them this weekend. Oh, and I should say they are practicing Catholics, as are most of those joining them. The pastor of that itty bitty misguided church does NOT speak for the vast majority of Christians… He sure got himself on the map, though, didn’t he?

  4. Kate says:

    Thanks for writing this. It needs to be said.
    Kate
    http://www.idreamloudly.com

  5. shiny says:

    … which is precisely why it drove me batshit crazy when the Anti-Defamation League came out with a statement which called the Park51 (“Ground Zero Mosque”) project “insensitive.” I feel that, as a Jew, my community has a responsibility to ensure that these types of stereotypes do not implicate a group in our society at large. Fortunately, many Jewish leaders have spoken out in favor of Park51 since then.

    So — what can you do to help? You’re doing it right now.

  6. Hockeymandad says:

    I see that picture and my first thought is my friend.

    What is happening in this country is nothing new. The weak-minded ignorant folks are targeting a religion this time instead of a race. Fear drives them and ignorance fuels their mopeds.

    People see the terrorism and war as directly being against Muslims and it is very sad and very embarrassing. I wish there was something I could do to help. Anything I could say to show them the error in their ways. But you cannot reason with someone who does not have the mental capacity to reason. They clearly cannot see that by persecuting someone for being muslim or even just looking like a muslim, they are acting like terrorists themselves.

    There is no religion that promotes hate, fear, and disrespect of fellow human beings.

    So what I will do is embrace my friends. I will stand by them and all Americans who only seek the same comforts and freedoms in life our country provides.

  7. avitable says:

    I hope that these attitudes don’t escalate even further until something happens from which we can’t recover. I want to believe that we as Americans are all bigger and better than that, but I worry that we’re not.

  8. Mandi Bone says:

    You are a wonderful friend. I think the only way to get past the hate is to teach our children to have respect for everybody. i love the idea about the signs especially since we have a local group buying up billboards that say hateful things on them.

  9. Beautifully written, Britt. I’ll proudly stand with you, my friend!

  10. Finn says:

    We can speak up. We can call bullshit. We can let “them” know that we will not tolerate discrimmination of any kind.

    Funny… I’ve always wondered what I would have done if I had lived in Hitler’s Germany or any of the countries they invaded during the war.

  11. muskrat says:

    I don’t think there’s any way we will fill box cars with Muslims and send them to gas chambers, but that’s just my silly interpretation of our Constitution and my oath to “support and defend” it “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

    • Miss Britt says:

      @muskrat, we rounded up Japanese Americans at one point under that same Constitution, sadly.

      Your interpretation of the Constitution isn’t silly, but I think we underestimate how easily a group of people can be separated from the larger community and dehumanized – and what we’re capable of allowing to happen to those people after that.

      • muskrat says:

        @Miss Britt, But no genocide. Russians, Chinese, Germans, and Africans are so much better at it anyway.

        • Faiqa says:

          @muskrat, I don’t know… you might want to ask a Native American what they think about that statement, “no genocide.” They now occupy only 1% of our population. They didn’t just conveniently disappear, you know.

        • Clueless says:

          @muskrat, I think the idea of “we’re better than them” is what leads to a nation’s downfall. When enough people get a misguided idea in their head, then they suddenly become ‘experts’ in things previously unimagined. All it takes is a few to yell loud enough and long enough and eventually you have a larger group shouting the same thing. Is it truth? Sure it is, because so-and-so said so. With the current state of affairs, you have a rowdy bunch of people yelling anti-Muslim sentiment, leading to mosque protests, Quran burnings, and attacks on Muslims.

          I think it’s only by staying vigilant to what is going on around us and educating ourselves and those around us who jump on every silly bandwagon that rolls along can we prevent another Holocaust or Japanese war camp.

  12. jianali says:

    ahh.. Dove outreach world center…. they make me embarressed to be from G’ville, and I have actually been to a service of thiers long ago.i thought it was very weird…more cult-like than a church.

    You put into words what is in my heart.

  13. Brandi says:

    Thank you for writing this.
    I am Canadian and I feel the same way as you. I have often watched American news and have sensed the separation you speak of, which makes me very sad. And at the same, Canadians are not much better in their views and it can be slightly harder to detect the racism because of our need to come across as ‘polite’ and ‘politically correct’.

  14. Eileen Balmer says:

    Well said, my friend

  15. lisahgolden says:

    It’s the silence of the average American when they hear their family and friends spouting the hate that hurts the most. It can happen here if we let it snowball.

    Hate of any kind is unacceptable. That’s what I say when I’m confronted with this kind of thing. When the person doing the hate wants to yes, but….I have my answer – hate of any kind is unacceptable. They may not like it, but I can sleep at night.

    I’m so glad you’ve added your voice to this, Britt.

    • Kerri says:

      @lisahgolden, You said “Hate of any kind is unacceptable. That’s what I say when I’m confronted with this kind of thing. When the person doing the hate wants to yes, but….I have my answer – hate of any kind is unacceptable.” Thank you. All we need is more people willing to say just that, to teach it to their children.

      Since my son was a toddler I have told him that all I want is for him to grow up to be a good, honest, loving person. It’s not a lot, but if we all did it, it could change the world.

  16. I wished I had hugged you so tight when I met you in the mail room at BlogHer!!

    LOVE THIS POST!! LOVE YOU!

  17. What a fantastic perspective. Thanks for posting this. My husband also posted about this issue at http://worshipmerger.blogspot.com/2010/09/burning-koran.html

    It’s horrifying that people do things like this in Jesus’ name, because Jesus himself would never attach his name to this kind of thing.

    Keep standing up for the cause, you’re not alone, and you CAN make a difference!

  18. BuenoBaby says:

    C-a-n-n-o-t believe we are living in a time when it’s necessary to write articles such as this!

    You’ve written, with such eloquence, the arguments and points I’ve wanted to make when debating with friends and family. Instead, I just foam at the mouth and am all, “Ya’ll are stupid-heads! What the hell is wrong with you? Dumbasses.”

    You make a better point:

    “Today it is Muslims and not Jews who are blamed for our state of fear. We, like the Germans after World War I, are broke and angry and unsure of what our future holds. Our memories are scarred with images of burning bodies and crumbling buildings and we have no security blanket under which we can heal. We are angry. We are scared. We are wounded and looking for justice and solutions.”

  19. [...] Britt poured salt on the wound by writing this [...]

  20. bo says:

    Except one of your basic assumptions is not true: ‘we are united in our citizenship.’ The last twenty to thirty years are marked by exceptionally and intentionally divisive strategies created by an increasingly polemic political party system. We’ve lost the ability to see grades or shades of an argument, nationally.

    This is why a person these days is ‘allowed’ to be Muslim or American. This is why some asshole thinks it’s okay to burn the Koran and not the Bible – because in our culture only one can be right. We cannot understand that the Muslims who blew up our building are not the same at the ones who want to erect a new one, because contemporary American thought requires that ‘Muslim’ equal ‘terrorist’ so that non-Muslim can equal ‘non-terrorist.’

    We are no longer united, but forcibly divided. And it scares the living shit out of me.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @bo, “We’ve lost the ability to see grades or shades of an argument, nationally.”

      But WE haven’t. *I* haven’t – and I’m part of we.

      • bo says:

        @Miss Britt, No I know YOU haven’t lost that ability. That’s why I included the word ‘nationally.’ But taken collectively, Americans are polemic, even increasingly binary. This is part of the ‘we’ as well, and, I fear, a much larger and much more vocal part.

        But I applaud you for doing what you can in your distinct way.

    • Robin says:

      @bo, “We are no longer united, but forcibly divided. And it scares the living shit out of me.”

      Absofriggin’-lutely. You hit the nail right on the head.

  21. cagey says:

    You are doing it right now by writing this very post. Folks read you, folks listen to you. Standing up and emphatically saying something is wrong is the first step. The more of “us” who do this will result in the the more of “them” realizing their way of thinking is tragically wrong.

    Thank you for this post.

  22. Lisa says:

    Wonderful post!

    My hope for humanity is that we can get past this kind of thinking (the racism, the divisiveness) and stop using religion as an excuse for intolerance. Right now, I just don’t know. If enough people use their voices to make change then maybe, just maybe, change can happen.

  23. steen says:

    I heart this.
    I’ve long hated how “terrorist” now automatically means “Muslim.” I remember Timothy McVeigh, I remember Columbine, I remember the Beltway sniper. I’ve read about Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz, Gacy.

    People are good or bad because of the things they do, plain and simple. Actions speak louder than words or skin color or religious beliefs.

  24. Dawn says:

    “Of course, we don’t have a Nazi party here in the United States, and antisemitism is mocked rather than promoted. We are nothing like the Germans who followed Hitler in the 1930s. We have nothing to worry about.

    I wish that I could agree with this. I really do. When we — as Jews — learned about the Holocaust — we were told to “never forget.” The rest of the “never forget” sentence was implied… “never forget so that it won’t happen again.” It was ingrained in us that the only way to stop it from happening again (because it could, we were told) was to never forget what happened in the past.

    We may not have a Nazi party here in the U.S., but antisemitism is still fairly rampant. Yes, it’s mocked. But it’s displayed before it’s mocked. It shouldn’t even be displayed, obviously.

    Every swastika that’s spray-painted on wall? Before it’s mocked, it’s displayed by some asshole.

    Every Jewish “joke”? Before it’s mocked, it’s said by some asshole.

    I’m glad that we live in a time that there are (hopefully) more mockers than displayers and sayers, but it’s still horribly sad that it’s still out there. And it IS still out there. Sadly.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Dawn, I can’t even imagine living with that constant unspoken dread.

      And you’re right that antisemitism still exists – but it’s not openly tolerated and accepted (thank God) at this point the way anti-Islamic sentiments are. NEITHER are OK, mind you.

  25. theewens says:

    This is why I love you and fawned over you at BlogHer. You are a gifted writer, a passionate American, and a good friend.

  26. I feel a lot better now reading this, because a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the same thing, and I got harassed for it. Someone made fun of me for caring about other people. And for days, I questioned what I had written. Had I been too hard? Had I unintentionally offended anyone?

    Guess what? I don’t care. Hate is an ugly thing, and I refuse to believe that we have to have this hate — no matter how it exists: gays, Jews, Muslims, teen moms…

    I’ve reread my post and my replies to comments several times since, and I still stand by my original statement: There are people who don’t want this community center built because they hate Muslims. They are racist. And it’s wrong.

    I’ve never had so much heat for a blog post, so I have yet to write a followup. I’m still trying to decide on how to approach it.

    But in the meantime, thanks for this.

  27. Tina says:

    Bravo….well said. This whole thing makes me sick. The crazy guy who calls himself a religious leader burning the spiritual guide of another religion. The protest of building a place of worship where a horrific mass murder took place. The ignorance is just so infuriating. I wonder how Christians would feel if someone burned a copy of the bible in protest? People would go nuts. I’m too much of a big mouth, this I know…BUT what it really comes down to for me is people equating being a Christian to being American. The separation of church and state is something that, if not followed with fidelity, provides fuel for this kind of ignorance.
    Thanks for this post.
    Best,
    Tina

  28. Tina says:

    Also…because, like I said I have a big trap. I challenge your reader who thinks we have had “no genocide” in our country to research what our country did to Native Americans and rethink that assertion. There are MANY who consider this genocide that we do not acknowledge or take responsibility for.

  29. Corina says:

    The intolerance is sickening…. and beyond frightening. Last week, I had a person respond to my “one day, no hate” post from last year. In his response, he stated that he had a feeling that this was a response to anyone against leftist policies. I responded by saying, “no, it is against hate speech and divisive language, on all sides of the political spectrum. That both sides utilize it for sensationalism and it does not help anyone. we need to find common ground to work for all americans.” Through a series of emails, he said that there is no common ground, progressives don’t have a concept of reality, and if we work towards common ground and a utopia, the “bodies will start piling up.”

    This was a response to my article about eliminating hateful speech for one day. “the bodies will start piling up.”

    Here is my fear: the negative is just too loud. The fear and the anger and the hate is considered the “news” and it plays louder than anything else. Even if this is a small church of radical (RADICAL) Christians, it is getting more attention than anything else out there. We need to publicize the positive. We need to publicize those making changes. We need our voices of reason, of love, of acceptance, of hope to be louder, MUCH louder than they are. Until they are, the fear and hate will spread, infecting communities in their path.

    Time to get loud.

  30. Erin says:

    Thank you for vocalizing what i feel so many of us are thinking….united we stand…

  31. Faiqa says:

    This is the fifteenth time I’ve started this comment… I’m not sure what to say. Thank you, of course, is always a good start.
    I also hope that other Muslims will see how much non Mulsims are opposed to the actions of these few. I hope that, having been through something similar, that Muslims in America will remember not to judge an entire religion by the actions of a misguided few. I hope.

    • Jared says:

      @Faiqa, As a christian I hope that other Christians realize that there are douchebags in every walk of life. In fact I bet douchebags could unite all races and religions. Its one thing we all have in common, every race and and religion has ‘em.

  32. It’s appalling the amount of misinformation that is being spread about the Muslim faith and the amount of hatred that is being directed towards people who practice that religion. It makes my heart hurt.

    It’s also important to note that in the history of our country, members of other religions and cultural groups have been the target of intense hatred and misinformation. For instance (and this is just one example of many), the Mormons moved West to Utah in part to get away from hateful and murderous mobs. Isn’t Glenn Beck a Mormon? Doesn’t he know the history of his own religion? Interesting.

    You are one woman standing up and having her say – but you are also not alone. Many single voices create a chorus. Keep singing.

  33. holy fuck was this a wonderful post.

    the only thing i can think of to do is to educate. educate by not being shy when we hear someone say or act in a manner against what we know to be true…educate by standing tall and explaining that all muslims are not terrorists, just the same as all christians are not fred phelps or timothy mcveigh. educate by our actions.

    together we can make a difference.

  34. [...] by anonymisskris in Quotables I have never read a more elegant piece than this one.  It is well worth the click. [...]

  35. Jodi says:

    One of the most brilliant and intelligent blog posts I’ve read in a LONG time. Thank you!

  36. Robin says:

    Someone told me about this, but I honestly didn’t believe it was true. It’s not only wrong and tasteless, it’s just so god damn disrespectful. And scary.

    NYC Mayor Bloomberg stated on the news last night that he was in favor of the Quiran burning because it falls within our 1st amendment rights of freedom of speech, religion and expression – he felt that if we tell this asshole he’s not allowed to burn the Quiran, then he’s not allowed to be disgusted about it and voice his opinion about that. While I agree with that statement somewhat, I will never support something that can so clearly incite violence and strife and pain and anger upon millions of people throughout the world….what is the point of that? For him to say that Jesus would have supported this is to say that Jesus would have supported every incident of religious persecution that’s occurred since the beginning of time.

    I don’t buy it.

    • shiny says:

      @Robin, Just a clarification: Mayor Bloomberg did not say that he was “in favor” of the Quran burning. He stated that he “defended the right” of the pastor to engage in this act and that it is protected by the Constitution. He also used the word “distasteful” when describing what this pastor is looking to do.

      It may come down to semantics, but the point here is that we have the right to express ourselves — but we don’t have the right to not be offended. Supporting one’s right of expression doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not sickened by the actions therein.

      • avitable says:

        @shiny, actually, if our words incite violence or cause a clear and present danger, we do not have the right to express ourselves. And I consider this to be that type of speech.

        • shiny says:

          @avitable, It’s a tough call — especially in this case. Will the presence or absence of the actions within this event cause some sort of retaliatory strike? Would there be the same concern of violence if instead of the Quran it were a cross being burned? Or an American flag? Or a pile of Justin Bieber CDs? Could the erection of a controversial building near Ground Zero provoke an emotional response which could cause a dangerous response? It’s truly hard to say.

          Personally, I don’t think that this one event will turn the tide of mainstream Islam against the United States. There will be those who will use this as fodder for a propaganda battle to demonstrate the evils of the western world. But those will be the same folks who will find whatever justification is needed to feel provoked.

          But you’re right: not all expression is protected. The disagreement is if this expression falls into that category.

      • Robin says:

        @shiny, Yes, I know that. I should have been clearer…I apologize. It was all over the news this morning.

        • shiny says:

          @Robin, No worries. I had a feeling that I knew what you had meant. It is a passionate issue for many people, and that sometimes can affect the words used. :)

  37. Selma says:

    I feel like crying when I hear of something so offensive as burning a Koran. That cuts deep to the heart of Muslims everywhere but what the Christian zealots don’t realise is that it cuts to the heart of everyone else too. No one wants religious discourse to come to this. I am so saddened by it. By the lack of respect, by the ignorance, by the hatred. By the little empty places that open up in the hearts of the good Muslim people I know that can’t be filled up again.

    It is happening in Australia too. An Islamic school that was in the process of being built was recently burnt to the ground abpout an hour from where I live. I just feel sick thinking about it. The hatred floors me.

    Your post is a little light shining through the mire. XX

  38. [...] Yet another offers the needed reminder that being just plain old American should be enough to warran… [...]

  39. Clueless says:

    Amazing post here, Miss Britt.

    It disgusts me that this guy in FL thinks Christ is okay with what he’s doing. On the other hand, I think it’s amazing that so many groups are getting together to protest him. I hope the support continues to grow, not just for the anti-Quran burning but for Muslims. We need something to balance all the hate.

  40. Kirsten says:

    Yet another extremely thoughtful post in which you put into words what I wish I could, and with far more eloquence than I ever could.

  41. Rebecca says:

    This post rocked my socks off.

    Thank you for publicly standing up for Muslims in America. I am not Muslim but I am SOO over the stereotyping, the ignorance, the constitution going down the proverbial drain.

    I was just asked this question in my sociology class and I said basically the same thing as you, although I admit you said it with a lot more gusto. :)

  42. Deb says:

    Although I don’t agree with the demonstration, they have a right as Americans to do it. I defend that right. It is a shame that a lot of people myself included look at all muslims and think of the terror a group of muslims caused. But I also look at other groups and stereo type. Life experiences do that to you, it is what you learn through life that teaches you how to believe/behave.

    I am horrified of hispanic men because I was brutally attacked by some, does this mkae me racist? No, I don’t think so. I think my life experience has given me reason to fear.

    It is unfortunate that things have happened to place hate/fear in the hearts of so many. How do you heal that? How do you move past it?

    I know every hispanic man I see isn’t going to do to me what those did, but I still can’t be near them and I break out in a cold sweat when surrounded by them. I think this is what a lot of people feel when they are frightened by a race/culture/religion. I don’t like that I feel the way I do, but how do you change it??

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Deb, they do have a legal right, yes. I’m not suggesting at this point that their actions aren’t protected by the law.

      I think it’s brave of you to admit that your perceptions have been colored – perhaps unfairly – by your experiences.

      I think THAT is the first step in getting past it. That and perhaps a desire to do so.

  43. Shannonannon says:

    By your side girl. We are two among many. I believe others will follow.

  44. Sahar says:

    Your words brought me to tears. Thank you for your amazing words. I can see why Faiqa befriended you.

  45. Jody says:

    As one who lives primarily amongst Muslims in the Middle East, let me say that I am filled with great respect as I witness their practise of deep faith in their lives. Kneeling each day, for some – five times each day, in quiet, personal prayer be it in their office, in their home, on the street. Something I have seldom witnessed in my ordinary life back in North America.

    ‘They’ are some of the most helpful, kind, faith-filled hospitable people in their culture, traditions and beliefs.

    I feel for Muslims who are treated with disdain in their own country. Those living in America, Canada, Europe who have somehow been grouped together and branded as the enemy. ‘People’ choose to do terrible things against others, humanity. We need to get away with the labels of Christian, Muslim, as they are only divisive.

    Thank you Miss Brit for your thoughtful and hope-filled post.

    Wishing your fellow American and all Muslims, ‘Eid Mubarak’ this evening.

  46. Kerri says:

    I feel like ever since Park51 this is all my friends back home and I can talk about. I removed someone from my facebook friends because they posted something with anti-Muslim sentiment, and then I told them that bigotry was inexcusable in my eyes, they said that they weren’t a bigot. I had to use all of my power not to send her a picture with the definition. The issue is that people DON’T think it’s bigotry. They think it’s okay, that it is perfectly acceptable to hate on anyone under the guise of terror. We’ve been here, we’ve done this. Over and over throughout time WE HAVE BEEN HERE. I am not a religious person, but anyone who can make religion a part of their life, who can let that kind of love and devotion for something more into their life and not let it turn them into self-righteous jerks… I admire them.
    Lastly, there was a song written by two Iranian Muslims that I linked a bunch of my friends to, and the lyrics encapsulate everything I wish people would hear when they hear the terms Muslim, or Christian, or Buddhist, or whatever. If you want to see what they had to say, look up the lyrics to Mohammad is Jesus by Deep Dish.

  47. Amazing post Britt. It makes me horribly sad to think that we live in such a great country and yet there are people who are so small minded and bigoted towards anything that is different or that they don’t understand.

    Thank you so much for writing such a great, thought provoking piece.

  48. Em says:

    Beautiful! Beautifully written, beautifully executed, beautiful message. So, what can we do? What would a heroine from 1933 do?

  49. Rocky Presley says:

    This was a great post. I do have to interject a couple of thoughts in light of the pastor resending his offer to enrage a billion people, although as I understand it, it is still on the table. What is troubling is the way that Muslims around the world reacted, and why it continues to build fear in the Western World. Protest, some turning violent were happening across the world with the simple notion of burning the Koran. Leaders in Hamas were calling for the criminal prosecution of this pastor. Criminal! Last I checked, no individual in the US is subject to the law of the Koran, unless they choose to do so.

    Tomorrow, Sept. 11th, I would not be surprised if YouTube videos popped up all over the internet of people burning the Koran. The reason why the Western world fears the Muslim world is because many react with an insane amount of rage and hatred, fueled by poverty and ignorance, and many despise this religion because some are trying to force their beliefs on the Western, ie, the Koran is the sacred words of Allah. If you burn it, you are a criminal deserving death. The same is true with any religion where they try to enforce a moral on a majority.

    So if we rationally look at this situation, the fear isn’t just 50 people in Gainesville, FL. It is our general in Afghanistan who feared what the Muslims in the area would do in reaction to the burning. It’s our President who fears how it will impact Muslim relations around the world. It is you and I who fear that if we do anything to make “them” mad, then some could retaliate in a way that could harm the ones that we love. That is the rational behind the fear, and it is not a fear that was just pulled out of thin air, or held only in the hearts of “tea partying white Christian racists.”

    My plea to everyone who may read this, both Muslims and not, is that the actions of the fringe do not define the majority. The actions of the Gainesville pastor does not define the stance of Americans. The actions of the 9/11 terrorists does not define Islam. Our negative reactions to one another are rooted in ignorance, and both sides are capable of genocide.

  50. martymankins says:

    Faiqa is every bit of an American as the rest of us that live in this country. This is a great post, Britt.

  51. This is why I read your blog.

    Because out of left field you can gather words, emotions and a point of view that is so moving and poignant and display it openly without alienating a single person.

    You’re that activist that can open the eyes of people, change their views on a sensitive topic before they have a chance to throw their guard up.

    Thank you so much for this post.

  52. Rachael says:

    I hate it that Faiqua and other Americans have to even go through this. It should not even be an issue. Your comparisons to the Nazis and Jews are somewhat frightening and worth a lot of thought on a lot of people’s parts.

  53. Rachael says:

    Aw crap. I’m sorry for the misspell Faiqa.

  54. Juli Ryan says:

    I appreciate the sentiments of your post. In fact, I too have likened elements of what is now the mainstream right in the U.S. to fascists. I also am appalled and worried by the vein of intolerance and xenophobia that has emerged again in the U.S. I agree that people must not sacrifice the liberties that we cherish, and we must protect the rights of all Americans.

    However, the aftermath of 9/11 is not the same as the Holocaust. This argument implies (and I know this wasn’t your intent) that Jews in 1930s Germany had commited a heinous act. And of course they had not.

    It might be more logical to compare the terrorist act of a fanatical Catholic, Timothy McVeigh, in the Oklahoma City bombing, to the acts of a few fanactical Muslims on 9/11. The U.S. has not discriminated against all Catholics because of the extreme acts of one fanatic. Likewise, the U.S. should not discriminate against all Muslims now.

  55. Miss Britt says:

    @Juli Ryan, I think the more important comparison is the non-Muslim post-9.11 American compared to the non-Jewish post-WWI German.

    American Muslims, which I’m talking about specifically, have also not committed a heinous act.

    I think these distinctions are important to make because we all know on a conscious level that we shouldn’t discriminate. We tell ourselves we don’t, wouldn’t, aren’t capable of, etc. But you don’t wake up one day a Nazi with people in death camps. It happens slowly, and I think that associating the word Muslim with the word terrorist – and all that implies – is a seed that has the potential to grow into something far worse.

    • Juli Ryan says:

      @Miss Britt, I agree with most of your points. Of course, Muslims have done nothing wrong. I’m just making a pedantic academic point, that a few Muslims committed a terrible act, while Jews in 1930s Germany had done nothing. And making a comparison between Jews of the Holocaust and Muslims of post 9/11 is hurtful to some Jews.

  56. Miranda says:

    Thank you for this post. It breaks my heart that our American brothers and sisters are findind an “other” to hate and succumbing to broad generalities about different peoples and different faiths. That a vocal minority have captured the attention of the media (on both sides of the fence). I am saddened by much of what I have seen and heard and heartened when I come across posts like this.

  57. mayabudhi says:

    Thank you for this post. It’s wonderfully written.
    I live in a country where Muslim is a dominant religion. But I am Christian. And I live in a society where Muslims and Christians or people of any other religions can get along well. It’s sad to see a group of people scar the good name of a particular religion.
    And if a dominant nation such as America can change rid the world of such wrong perception – that the words “Muslims” and “terrorists” are not interchangable – then I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of change even in countries on the other side of the world, such as Indonesia.

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