What lay repressed by exercise of restraint, buried under layers of civilized behavior, simmering in the subconscious, is now unleashed. I am referring to bigotry and prejudice. Allow me to get really specific: Islamophobia. It was considered uncivilized and un-American to express hate. Now, thanks to the election rhetoric, it has been sanctioned.
Reading Imam Khalid Latif’s op-ed on CNN, and prompting from my interfaith network, gave me the courage to speak out. We don’t know if the murder of the Imam and assistant Imam in Queens, New York this past Saturday, was an expression of anti-Muslim sentiment, but I feel terrorized. Notice, that I didn’t call it a ‘hate crime’. It remains to be determined what motivated the killer, but I am nevertheless, terror-stricken.
Allow me to define terrorism in my layperson’s understanding:
Person(s) creating terror by killing innocent victims.
We—as in Muslims—are now living in a state of terror. Muslims, or anyone who looks like a Muslim, is scared that he or she might be the next victim. That is terror! And what do we call an act that inflicts terror? Lets call it what it is: Terrorism!
During this election cycle, Muslims have been bullied, harassed, threatened, and assaulted. There has been loss of property, and burning of houses of worship. And now, an Imam has been murdered.
This anti-Muslim rhetoric has to stop. It has gone way too far. It is giving people a license to kill. It doesn’t get worse.
My dear readers, speak out. Speak out as individuals, speak out through your networks, speak out through your leaders, garner support and raise your collective voice. Your voice has power. Words have power. We have seen how words can inflict hatred; lets harness the power of our words to spread respect and love.
The genie is out of the bottle. Can we put it back in?
Yes we can.
We can reclaim America.
Let there be peace, and let it begin with you and me.