Fear of Muslims

12391411_10106867914950305_434552525704000528_n If you are afraid of Muslims you are not just a coward, you are a stupid coward.

I spent nearly every day during this past year of my life in Afghanistan talking to Muslims about and assisting Muslims with their own fight against terrorist and political organizations senselessly slaughtering their friends, families, and neighbors. The Muslims I spoke with were armed and some had family ties to Daesh or the Taliban or at least a decent reason to want to kill me. There were reasons for increased caution and extra security measures, certainly, but to spend each day, in a war-zone mind you, living in fear of Muslims was absolutely not an option. I wasn’t afraid because I was brave, rather it was simply because I wasn’t stupid. There will always be risks, and you do your best to mitigate those risks, but to accomplish your mission you must identify your goal and take actions that reflect that goal, and not let yourself be driven by your fear of what might happen if X or if Y or if Z. In the same way, the roots of Daesh lie in the disenfranchisement and economic exploitation of a large segment of the Arab population after years of imperialists looting the culture and economies followed by post-imperial dictators leading these hollowed out and crudely cobbled together nations propped up by the west as long as they were economically compliant. And of course, specifically, our invasion of Iraq and policy choices over the last 13 years. Defeating this organization and the slew of like minded groups that will inevitably spawn from their ideas will take many years of repairing relations, cultural integration and compromise from both ends, internal economic development, and political stability and self determination. If we decide some radical clash of civilizations is the only way, rather than committing to the policies previously mentioned, which will, make no mistake, see terrorist acts taking a limited number of innocent lives in the years to follow, we are sentencing ourselves to eternal global war and millions upon millions of future tragedies. Being afraid of Muslims because of some lunatic right-wing fantasy about global Christian holy war and the end of days with an epic clash of civilizations is playing into the hands of the American version of Daesh as well as the Muslim version. They are two sides of the same coin and they want to control you through paranoia and fear. Fear that the “other”, be it Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim, is only waiting for their opportunity to stab you in the back if you open the door to them.

So once again, if you are afraid of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world because of Daesh and their goals, then not only are you a coward, you are a stupid coward. We are at war with radicalization of all stripes and thinking there will not be casualties in the future is naive. However, cowardly appeasement of the enemy’s goals such as abusing Muslims and treating the entire population like members or potential members of Daesh means you are actively working against the interest and security of this nation.

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