By Janet Ellen March 18, 2018
NEW YORK – If you identify yourself as a decent person and you happened to read the latest Islamaphobic story from the Huffington Post – you couldn’t help but be appalled at the details that are about to unfold on this page.
The Huffington Post ran a story they discovered from a reader, that described, two mothers, accompanied by their children in Tempe, Arizona who decided to video themselves vandalizing a mosque and reciting negative and false accusatory language about Muslims. According to the article, the incident took place earlier this month but only came to people’s attention last week, after the reporter Rowaida Abdelaziz got a tip about a Facebook live video filmed by one of the mothers.
Since the video clip accompanies the article, I chose to write about it because what is appallingly clear is that ever since Donald Trump became president of the United States, it appears that there has been a huge surge in hate crimes and hate crime-related incidents all across America.
The most shocking comments in this account are coming from typical, white housewives who clearly are totally uninformed about the faith of Islam nor have they ever been exposed to Muslim neighbors or educated about culture and religion sufficiently enough to make educated choices.
What is even more disturbing is the fact that these women are indoctrinating their own children into a world that they, the mothers are creating, that reeks of preconceived assumptions, a lack of facts and a laissez-faire attitude that smacks of righteous self-entitlement.
My view would go something like this: “Well, if that’s what they are saying about Muslims what would they say about people of other faiths, colors, beliefs? Basically, what would they say about non-white, non-Christian people? Or what would they say about white non-Christians who may be of the Jewish faith, Bahai faith, Buddhist, Shintoist, Atheist or any other differing beliefs?
I shudder to even wonder about it.
Apparently, the reporter, according to the Huffington Post article, was made aware of the video through a tip from a source who is a member of the Islamic Community Center of Tempe. The reader who submitted the information said they had to verify everything by fact-checking and obtaining copies of everything before it was deleted from Facebook.
The reader who submitted the video and subsequent article to the reporter at Huffington Post, commented that Islamaphobia is very real and “becomes especially dangerous when a group of people are so vilified and demonized that women like the ones in this story feel emboldened to launch a hateful attack and bring their kids with them.”
Make no mistake about it: Islamaphobia, anti-Semitism and blatant racism against the Black and Hispanic communities all across America have doubled down since the Trump administration. The evidence is all over the place. Need we mention widespread fear instilled into the immigrant communities related to imminent deportation.
I was shocked recently when a Turkish friend of mine in New York City told me that her friend had just been deported back to Turkey. I had to remind myself of how quickly it appears that the America we knew once upon a time is fast becoming a ‘police state.’
The spoiled attitudes, the lack of verification of facts, the instant social media atmosphere that pervades an entire society where ubiquitous numbers of people crave their 15 minutes of ‘fame.’ But the worst? The ‘trigger finger’ eager beaver cops who haven’t hesitated to shoot first rather than disable a potential suspect with pepper spray – a certainly safer and less violent method.
What makes America great in the first place is the First Amendment but not to the detriment of cyber-bullying and spreading hate-filled propaganda designed to incite violence and encourage racist viewpoints.
Is this the type of rhetoric in our nation that got started with immigrants, who arrived in this country way after its original inhabitants – the Native Americans who laid claim to this land long before our ancestors hit the shore at Ellis Island. And is that as the current president likes to so often repeat – is all that hate filled talk what “makes America great again?”
I should think not.
I cannot fathom exactly what prompted those mothers to raid a mosque, laugh about it, repeat lies about Muslims to their children and then think it was OK.
As a world citizen whose friends include a majority of Muslims, I want to declare right here and right now – it is not OK.
Except that I have a good idea about that. They thought it was OK because as a nation we have become COMPLACENT. Violence is just an afterthought to some – cyber-bullying seems harmless to minds that are not yet fully formed, to those who think that what they see on video is ‘fun’ and ‘inconsequential.’ Volent video games and movies have become de rigeur in a society that prides itself on “freedom at any cost.”
But everything has a price and everything has a consequence.
To denigrate, deny, degrade, defame, deface and to otherwise demean is exactly the opposite of what America and decent Americans have always stood for.
There are no more excuses to hide behind.
When we have as we do now, a president who stands accused of numerous infidelities, obstruction of justice and chaotic leadership – a president who name calls anyone he disagrees with and recites his lines off prompters – who cannot answer questions about basic current events nor does he appear to care to do so.
Then the public should have questioned their own sanity long ago – why are you allowing this charade to go on?
What makes the lack of integrity even more glaring is a female press secretary who covers for her boss to the point of copying his vitriolic and openly disrespectful style – then you have to admit that something does not add up.
The bottom line boils down to asking yourself as an individual – how do you measure your decency? On a scale of one to ten, where are YOU?
In life, some things really are just evil or good and that is just the way it is as we have always defined it in our fairytales.
You are either accepting and tolerant of those who are different from you or you aren’t. And if you aren’t then can you agree to disagree in a positive, harmless and non-threatening way?
There is NO IN BETWEEN when it comes to BIGOTRY.
Either you are or you aren’t, period.