By Dr. Aslam Abdullah
During the last week in the United States, some 200 plus violence related deaths were recorded.
Many of these acts were committed by people who are church goers and who identify with right wing evangelical churches.
During the last week, some 5,000 protesters came out on the streets opposing health care reform. Man of them admitted that they did not know anything about the current health reform, rather they were asked by their religious leader to join the chorus.
Some admitted speaking on behalf of insurance agencies and their lobbying groups. During the last few weeks, many US backed mercenaries, once part of the US army, once again demonstrated their religious zeal by reminding each other that their job was to eliminate Islam and Muslims.
The Blackwater anti-Islam crusade is not fully discovered. But it is apparent that rather than the security of the country it was the religious fanaticism that led to many torturous and murderous acts on the part of their perpetrators.
What do we make out of this? How do we describe it?
Is this not a Judeo-Christian version of Osama Bin Laden and his gangs who use the name of Islam to justify acts which in fact are harmful to Islam?
Indeed, it is becoming clearer that in every sphere of the bureaucracy, there are some Americans who are driven by anti-Islam hatred and and who do not waste any opportunity to harm Islam and Muslims. They are everywhere.
At the airports they demonstrate their anti-Islam face by harassing and humiliating ordinary and average law-abiding citizens in the name of national security. On our streets, they stop Muslims not dressed like an average American and force them go through humiliating search. In public places, many show their hatefulness to Muslim women wearing hijab and Islamic attire.
The anti-Islam climate is often fuelled by fanatic and fascist minded religious leaders and political activists.
During the Bush Administration, not a single day passed without some Republican and/or right wing Christian evangelical making a statement against Islam or Muslims.
Even now, in thousands of churches across the country, anti-Islam sermons are very common. In one of the churches in Florida, Islam was equated with satanism and Christians were encouraged to stop having any dealings with Muslims.
Of course most of these Churches combine their racism with their religions. They were the ones who refused and some still refuse to accept blacks as equal human beings.
How should we deal with this situation?
First and foremost is to recognize that this situation exists.
Second, to understand that we must invest in investigating individuals and organizations who are indulged in anti-Islam crusade.
Third, these individuals and organizations should be exposed and brought to court, if they appear to be promoting hate speech.
Fourth, we must have a public initiative to interact with non-Muslims at the grass roots levels through joining projects that are beneficial to people.
However, we must do whatever it takes to ensure that the interests of Muslim Americans are secured and this task would be undertaken by Muslims in cooperation with those who are not hate mongers and who believe in an America that is pluralistic and accommodating to all.