Will God be involved in the next world war? Since 9/11, the heat has turned up on religious issues, constantly teetering on the brink of boiling over. With fundamental extremism a source of fear for people all around the world, America’s internal struggle will test our true mettle and dedication to a free and just society. Moreover, because extremism can come in any form, from any religion or any group, this discrimination can easily rear its ugly head at any particular group. If we let extremist actions tear us apart domestically, how can we expect to deal with issue internationally? Take recent events in Yorba Linda, California as a prime example. During a charity event by the Islamic Circle of North America to raise money for women’s shelters and homelessness, a group of Orange County residents gathered outside to protest. While the video is spine-chillingly disturbing and disgusting, as you watch young children walk pass as the crowd shouts, “you beat your women and rape your children,” it is not unexpected at a hate rally. The Ku Klux Klan has done it; Western Baptist Church during soldiers’ funerals has done it. I cannot condone the blatant disrespect as the right to free speech is being abused, but ignorance is just that, ignorance.
What is truly shocking is the willingness of politicians to publicly endorse this hate. Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly says, “I know a few marines who would be happy to help these terrorists to a, uh, early meeting in paradise.” Worse, it wasn’t only local politicians, two United States Congressman, Gary Miller and Ed Royce, also spoke. As a fellow American, I would like to believe that as a country we learned from our mistakes in the past. That intolerance based on people’s race, gender and religion is assumed to be implicitly wrong by our common American values. Yet, here are public officials, people we entrust to make decisions that guide our country, promoting this message of hate. Could you imagine a politician speaking at a white supremacy rally? Or making anti-Semitic remarks publicly? It boggles my mind that for some reason, politicians feel it’s okay, in today’s society, to publicly support the discrimination against a group of citizens based on their beliefs.
The plight of the Muslim-American really resonates with me as a Chinese-American. As tension with China grows, will I be the next target for these demonstrations? Asian-Americans throughout the country should all pay close attention to these developments. How far will this go? As public figures can now feel free to wield words of hate are fears of another Manzanar and internment camps unfounded? I hope these thoughts are only a product of overthinking…for the sake of our country and our world.
Religion should be a way to guide us to be better human beings. It should be a catalyst for a better understanding between human beings. This country was founded on the belief that we find strength in our diversity. We must remember the lessons we’ve learned throughout the 20th century and we must remember the vows we’ve taken to never repeat those mistakes. As the United States provides leadership and continues to be a beacon of hope for the world, it is imperative that we come together in unity as a country. We cannot let fear destroy our country, lest it destroys the world.
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