by Joe Scarry
|December 6, 2015 — This week, American Jews are participating
in a series of nationally coordinated actions against Islamophobia
and racism to mark the eight days of Chanukah with a rekindling
of their commitment to justice. (See jewssayno.org)
As a person working to put a stop to war, it is clear to me that the conflating of the ideas of “the threat of Islam” and “the global war on terrorism” are the biggest obstacles to peace today.
Simply stated: Islamophobia fosters war.
We live in a 24/7 entertainment and media culture, and it is a constant struggle to shift from being a passive participant in the dominant cultural narrative to being an active influence on the ideas circulating in our communities.
Numerous groups are leading an effort to replace Islamophobia with education and conversation. (See links below.)
In particular, as an active participant in several church congregations, I recognize the responsibility of people of faith to move from contemplation to action. (Apostles act.) I invite us members of Christian communities to ask ourselves:
Here are some of my recent blog posts on the subject of Islamophobia:
We all wish to be judged by our good intentions. But the way people know us is through our actions. So … what do people in the Muslim world know about us here in the United States?
If we are going to stave off a U.S. war against Iran, we are going to have to have some very difficult conversations with other Americans. Some people are extremely hostile. It’s confusing and a bit frightening, but we’re going to have to confront it.
In 2013 America, we have been conditioned to feel anything associated with Middle Eastern and/or Muslim men should trigger feelings of suspicion, fear, and hatred. And when those cues are triggered, all of our objectivity and healthy skepticism goes out the window.
Here’s something that would be courageous and valuable, in my opinion: zero in on the handful of people in the world who have their fingers on triggers of the massive nuclear arsenals that threaten us, and bring them to heel. That would be impressive.
I wonder if the outrage that many Muslims seem to feel at the suffering of other Muslims doesn’t put us Christians to shame.
The biggest idea coming out of the 2013 Drone Summit? We will only deal successfully with the crimes being committed using drones when we understand them as part of the much larger war against communities of color . . . .
“Yes, I tell everyone: I’m Sicilian — but,” she said, “that doesn’t mean I’m Mafia — and German — but that doesn’t mean I’m a Nazi.” And then she added: “And being Muslim doesn’t mean someone’s a terrorist! That’s what I tell people!”
I was back in New Jersey to visit with high school friends in July. It gave me the opportunity to visit the newly opened 9/11 Memorial. Not surprisingly, what I saw made me spend days and weeks thinking about the memorial itself, and the larger issue of 9/11 in our national life. Out of all that I have seen and heard and read and thought about, several thoughts keep rising to the top.
10 Strategies to Counter Islamophobia – Presented by Imam Malik Mujahid at 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago, January 27, 2016.