Friday, March 25, 2011

MUSLIMS LIVE ON MY STREET

I am tip-toeing into this upsetting subject.

I cannot pretend I haven't heard and felt the truth and reason in my friends very passionate, logical, factual concerns over Muslims throughout the world -- friends who know from personal experience that Muslims are threatening them and their relatives. Their concerns are also my concerns.

We are talking about life and death fears. We are talking about "race" -- the social and political problems caused by conflict between races occupying the same or adjacent regions.

People have always been judged based on their skin color, their religion, their heritage, their gender, and their race. People from all walks of life, from all around the world, face this every day, and it's the cause of many of the major conflicts around the world.

"Racism" is the belief that the genetic factors which constitute race, ethnicity, or nationality are a primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that ethnic differences produce an inherent superiority, or inferiority of a particular race.

The UN does not define "racism," but it does define "racial discrimination." According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, "The term racial discrimination shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public."

Okay, what do I know personally about this? I'm white. My family, agnostic Jews, who didn't want to belong to any religious organization, lived in an all white, wealthy, Christian community in Illinois. Even so, I was called by my classmates, a "dirty Jew," and punched, beaten up, rejected, told again and again -- "You killed Christ!"

It created in me race prejudice. Though later on, some of my best friend in my life were Jewish, I was Anti-Semitic. And maybe that's why I was intensely aware of how many people I knew thought blacks were an inferior race.

The anti-black dramas that I've been involved with, (on the side-lines but experienced nevertheless), are on my mind nowadays because of the anti-Obama zealots who hate everything he stands for, who have a mountain high pile of concerns about Obama destroying their America.

Is it race prejudice? Call it whatever you want -- it's a contagious, killing disease that I feel and observe every time I turn on the radio, the television, read a paper, or go online -- and I am seeing it now in my city and on my street.

This is my huge, biggest concern. Bigger than who is going to be elected in 2012. Bigger than how are we going to get out of the wars we are in.

The people whom I fear are not white supremacists. They are ordinary people, but I fear what's happening because of their insidious fears -- the fears of people in my city. They are now pulling away from their neighbors in my city and on my street -- neighbors who happen to be Muslims.

Hey, a Muslim in Africa, or in Egypt, a brother in the Brotherhood of Muslims is one person, not all Muslims. My neighbors, Muslims you know and deal with are individuals -- men and women. Don't let us become race-prejudiced against people who believe differently from the way we believe.

Love thy neighbor. Listen, speak with him, don't close your mind and heart.
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