I have been remiss at updating this blog. Going to make more of an effort going forward to do better at that, and it should also be easier now that things have calmed down somewhat at work.
A few weeks ago I went to this Islamophobia event in Brooklyn. The discussion was even more heated than I had expected, somehow. Also, at least one person scheduled to appear did not due to apparent death threats.
The six panelists could be placed along a spectrum. One extreme end of the spectrum would be those who believe that nothing is wrong with Islam, the real problem being the hatred and prejudice faced by Muslims in the world, perhaps thrown in with the corruption of Islam by unjust governments. On the other extreme end are those who believe that Islam itself is to blame, is a hateful and violent religion, and any Muslims who say otherwise are just deluding themselves. The truth is, I believe, as always, somewhere in the middle, and that is what seemed to emerge from the discussion. The overall consensus did seem to be that extremist and fundamentalist Islam is, like nearly all other extremist and fundamentalist manifestations, a problem. Yet, it does seem that the bigger problem is the almost always irrational hatred and fear of Muslims. Recently, I have noticed that it is essentially acceptable in much of America to show bias and prejudice towards Muslims. That scares and bothers me, although it doesn’t surprise me.
So the question is, what to do about it, if anything? Being that I still know so little about this topic, my first goal is to educate myself. I’m reading a book on the history of the middle east for now. I want to make this more of a priority of mine. I hope to share more resources in the coming weeks and months.