Lets face it. America is not the ultimate good in this world, and neither is Christianity. Evil can lie present within an array of religions and cultures, and within the souls of any individual.
With the recent atrocities committed by ISIS, it is not unusual to be fearful for the state of the world, but narrowing down violence to a specific group of people is deplorable. The issue with the American media’s portrayal of ISIS is the emphasis on Islam and Muslims as a whole. I ask my readers to no longer attach the word Muslim to the words terrorist, radical or extremist. Instead, address acts of terror as simply acts of terror because violence and extremism have nothing to do with Islam. The Quran doesn’t endorse violence—in fact it does the opposite. The atrocities committed by ISIS can be explained by a failed interpretation of the text and a lust for power.
America’s reaction to acts of violence is more violence, but this should no longer be the answer. I am exhausted by this automatic impulse to spill blood. The excuse of, “We had to go to war” or “We had to invade” is a profoundly sad outlook. Dropping bombs will not stop ISIS, it will only take lives of innocent people. I grow tired as I think back on history and the notion that the death of innocents is just part of war. The generalization of Muslims and the impulse to act violently is heartbreaking.
Recently, President Barack Obama made a statement comparing the idea of Muslim terrorism to Christian violence. Obama’s statement caused a great deal of controversy in American media, and conservative Christians were outraged. Perhaps Obama was not trying to personally bash Christianity, but instead encourage Christians to consider that they are not perfect. Obama said in his speech, “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crowe all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Obama’s statement is valid; it was not made to slight Christianity as Bill O’Reilly claims.The premise of Obama’s argument was that evil is not inherent in specific religions or cultures, nor is good. Faith can be twisted in order to take lives and to serve individual gain. It does not matter if the Crusades occurred in the Middle Ages. What matters is that Islamaphobia is taking lives today. Anti-Muslim comments are ignorant and lethal. We are keen to use the word terrorist to describe acts of violence committed by Muslims, but we don’t use the word when Americans commit acts of violence. The hypocrisy is tremendous.
Recent acts of Christian violence include the bombing of abortion clinics, the killing of LGBTQ individuals, racially charged violence, the subjugation of women, anti-Muslim violence and the Ku Klux Klan. It is hard to recognize violence in your own religion, which is why Christians are so offended by Obama’s remarks, but it is imperative to understand that violence can be executed in the name of any faith. It is not about the religion itself, just the wishes of the one executing the violence. Christianity is not always the peaceful, loving religion it claims to be.
Anti-Muslim violence is a scary reality in our culture. Recently, three North Carolina students were killed by a man who allegedly posted anti-Islam statuses on Facebook. The worst part is that the media is taking little notice of the tragedy committed against Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
American media, and especially Fox News, have perpetuated a trend of putting all Muslims in the same terrorist category. I have to ask myself, is Fox News more dangerous than the religions and groups that they claim to be dangerous? Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox is an example of American mainstream media perpetuating this vicious cycle. Jeanine claimed that the US should “bomb them, bomb them and keep bombing them. Bomb them again and again.” She also refers to Iran as “the devil.”
Dropping a bomb, which will slaughter innocent people, is not a solution. It is an act of murder. Over the course of many years, it is obvious that attacking the Middle East has not accomplished anything. Violence is an American tradition and that tradition needs to end. What endorsers of Fox don’t understand is that while the threat of ISIS is terrifying, violence will not make violence end. When we throw more violence into the mix, what do we get? Simply more violence.
Finally, I ask Americans to consider the atrocities committed on American soil every day. Consider the exploitation and deaths conducted by corporations in the name of capitalism. Consider the violence committed against women and every unprocessed rape kit in America. Consider every hate crime committed in the name of racism, religion or homophobia. Consider the brutality executed by our police force, the people assigned to protect us. Consider how America is not the ultimate good and quite frankly, never was. Protecting fellow American citizens can begin on American soil.