By Rashad Jafer
The Republican debate on Sunday the 5th of August, gave me the chills. As a Muslim American of Pakistani descent, the anti Muslim comments made were deafening. Half the time, it seems, was spent on calling the Muslims, â€œJihadistsâ€, â€œIslam-O-fascistsâ€ and â€œIslamistsâ€, terms that do not exist in a dictionary and their sole purpose was to create hatred, racism and bigotry against a religion in the American community.
Senator McCain called it a â€œgenerationalâ€ war against an ideology that would last till the next century, Governor Romney asserted that the Islamic World needs to be changed to fit the Western standards and Mayor Guiliani was most vocal and exclaimed that the â€œJihadistsâ€ and the â€œIslam-0-fascistsâ€ have to be eliminated. Rep. Tancerdo stood by his statement that bombing Mecca and Medina would be justifiable in his war against terror. Governors Huckabee and Thompson were equally arrogant and suggested that there should be no â€œappeasementâ€ of Muslims.
The â€œLone Rangerâ€ was Ron Paul, an obvious irritant to his peers, totally disagreed with the otherâ€™s rhetoric and insisted that the war was a mistake and should be immediately stopped.
Average Americans do not talk or think like that. They are extremely cordial, understanding, respectful and willing to learn about new cultures and religions. Similarly, The Muslim Americans are gracefully assimilated in the fabric of America. They are doctors, engineers, lawyers, business owners, and teachers and live, breathe and bleed like anyone else. Just visit a hospital, an engineering firm, a school or any other business and you will find and appreciate the Muslim American. And just like any other, they have their â€œbad applesâ€ that need to be dealt with according to law-not more, not less.
So why are our leaders so â€œRadical?â€ Is talking and reaching out to the worst of our instincts important to them? Is creating hatred amongst the masses their goal, or is this a continuation of religious bigotry? What is the difference between Osama Bin Laden hating the West and Guiliani hating the Muslims? The terminology used by the Republican leaders is the same as used by the terrorists.
The need to appear â€œstrongâ€ or â€œtoughâ€ or â€œresoluteâ€ does not mean getting down to the same level of inhumane tactics or civility. For Godâ€™s sake Americans are different! This is â€œOne Nation under God with liberty and Justice for Allâ€. Muslim Americans are part of â€œWe the People of the United States…â€ and are â€œbuilding a more Perfect Unionâ€ and Islam teaches them to â€œEstablish Justice….â€
Our leaders seem to have forgotten the building blocks of our nation. There is a fine line between civility and barbarism. That line has been crossed by the enemy; it seems that our leaders, on Sunday, crossed the line too.