Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Islamophobia: A Personal Struggle

The phenomena of "Islamophobia" is with us and perhaps for good reason. There has really been no huge outcry from the nation's Mohammedan population damning the actions of terrorist organizations. Possibly there is fear involved. It is undeniable that some who have bravely spoken out have received threats that may be credible. That is a shame. This is America after all and people should have no fear of reprisal when making their voices heard. I guess that is not realistic. Still the question remains; What are the thoughts of most Muslims in this country concerning 911, Sharia Law, the Ground Zero mosque, country before faith, etc? Americans need to know now. We have a right to know.
I firmly believe that most people, no matter their origin, religion, etc., have a desire to be left alone to live their lives in peace and yes this includes those that are Muslims. Do they not strive to protect their children? Do they not work to better their circumstance? Human beings are basically the same no matter where they live or what religion they practice. With that being said, it is undeniable that there are enemies of Western Civilization and Islam appears to be at the forefront. Islam may be as dangerous as Soviet style Communism. Perhaps more so. Europe has a very large population of Muslims that may become a danger of supplanting culture that is, for lack of a better word, ancient. That will likely not be tolerated in the long run and the results may well be disastrous. Phobia, distrust, or disdain of a certain group can well lead humans down a path that is unthinkable. Are there some cultures that can not "mix" well with others. Is that a possibility? I don't know for certain but I suspect that this is the case. In America we have a tradition of tolerating all comers with the result being eventual acceptance and immigrant assimilation. Europe does not.  Has America's acceptance of foreigners finally come to an end? This is not the 1850's when Know Nothing(ism) was a powerful force. We can look back on that era now with somewhat of a smile. A different time. Now there appears to be immigration without any thought of assimilation. This includes a great number of those from south of the border and quite possibly many Mohammedans.  What does all of this have to do with my own struggle with Islamophobia? Probably not a lot, but I will relay my thoughts on the subject anyway.

I must admit that I am Islamophobic. I do not trust the followers of the Prophet. Is that wrong? Could be, but I am certainly not alone. That still may not make it right, but at the same time, I must look at things how they are and not how I would like them to be. For instance, the aforementioned silence (for the most part) from the American Muslim community on terrorist action is quite disturbing. Perhaps the fear I mentioned also is to blame. Perhaps not. Just perhaps there is some tacit approval. We don't know because of the again aforementioned silence. If you recall, after the attack on Sept 11, a great many in the Muslim world rejoiced. There is image after image of Muslims celebrating the attack. That should give pause to any Westerner. The same thing happened after the attacks in Spain and the UK. Muslims celebrating. Is this not reason to be suspicious? I think it may well be. Yet at the same time when I see a Muslim family at the grocery or out on the town I do not feel threatened or even overly suspicious. It is a dilemma to some extent. A few years ago I was a bartender at a large July 4 celebration in Houston. There were literally thousands of people and I was some kind of busy, but I did notice, not far from my station, a family of Muslims sitting in the grass watching the fireworks with everybody else. A man, his wife and two beautiful small daughters enjoying a night out. Were these people my enemy? Have they harmed me or our nation in any way? I somehow doubted it. I also noticed a uniformed police officer loitering in the vicinity and I would imagine it was for their protection. There is a lot of beer drinking yearly at that event and some people tend to get out of hand. I really doubt the officer was there to keep an eye on the family in case they perpetrated a terrorist act.
I very rarely drive a cab anymore, I lease one and try my luck on rare occasions. When I was driving full time I had a couple of work friends that were Muslims. One was from Pakistan and the other from Senegal and of course one of them was named Mohammad.  We had each others cell numbers and used to communicate quite frequently about business matters. You know, where the traffic is running, if the airport (which I never worked) or the hotel business was moving. That type of thing. We also occasionally would meet for coffee at one of the umpteen Starbucks that litter the city and take a break. We never discussed politics, war, religion, or any other subject that may have been contentious. I was content to leave it at that. I must admit that I did wonder though what their thoughts might have been on various issues. I will say this; those men were some of the hardest working people I have ever known. I am lucky that my significant other has a good job- a luxury that neither of them had. They did what it took to support their families in a business that is hard.Very hard. I respected them.  I sensed in both of these men a firmness of character and may I say "goodness" that I don't often sense in others. Perhaps that is why I liked and respected them. Were these men my enemy? I would hate to think so.  On the flip side, if you will, one has to keep in mind the attacks by Muslims on everyday Americans. The "Beltway snipers" may have been motivated by radicalized Islam. Certainly the Army Major that killed his fellow soldiers and other citizens at Ft. Hood was radicalized.There have been other attacks also.  How many Muslims living in this nation are a danger to our fellow citizens? More than a few I would wager. I also think that the Ground Zero mosque/community center is a bad idea and a slap in the face. The legal right to build I do not dispute, but unlike our great president, I will comment on the wisdom of the issue. It is wrong and rather stupid of them to consider the site in the face of such opposition. Pure and simple. Do I believe that in war we should show no quarter to non uniformed Muslim terrorists? Yes of course. Anything less is ridiculous. Do I think that Western civilization is at war with Islam or more accurately, is Islam at war with Western society? Of course. To not recognize this is blindness. Yes I must admit that I am Islamophic. I hate that this is the case but one must be realistic. Islam is a danger to, and likely not compatible with, Western society.


Gary Fouse said...

Excellent post, which reflects many of my thoughts. Would you mind if I cross-posted this on fousesquawk? With due accreditaion of course.

Bartender Cabbie said...

I would be honored

Siarlys Jenkins said...

This is an excellent contribution, offering a heartfelt honesty and the kind of multiple perspectives that any real human being living a real three-dimensional life has to grapple with. It really elevates the level of discussion, or would if it were getting more play. I tried to cross-post again, at


but neither the "conservative" loudmouths nor the "liberals" have said much. Just me, Gary, and a thoughtful guy named Steve. If its not on the "recent" list, look for "Islamophobia is a misleading term." This ought to be front page of the NY Times AND the Daily News, on the same day.

Bartender Cabbie said...

Thank you Gary and Siarlys both.