Please don’t hate Muslims

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As soon as the attacks in Paris occurred, I knew there would be a backlash not just against ISIS but all Muslims. Surely the world must realize that the majority of Muslims are peaceful with no wish to harm anyone? As one Parisian Muslim said yesterday on CNN, “These people are not Muslims – they are going to hell”. You can misinterpret any ancient religious text – from the Old Testament to the Book of Mormon. The Old Testament reflected the violence of the times – an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth. In biblical times it was common for men to take more than one wife to protect a widowed sister-in-law because so many men died in battles. I did not meet one polygamist in Egypt despite the law allowing you to have four wives that must be treated equally. Some of the Koran’s texts are archaic but it is still just a general moral code, like the Bible and the Torah.

To get some perspective, if you ever, even unwittingly, supported one of the ‘Irish’ groups in the US who were funneling money to the IRA, in the 70s and 80s, then you may have unintentionally reduced the quality of my and my family’s life. One time when I was staying in a relative’s home in southern Ireland, the house shook to when a bomb went off in Northern Ireland more than 50 miles away. I know that the IRA, and likely the Loyalist Protestant faction, were smuggling drugs, guns and other illicit substances across the border to fund their terrorism. I have to share some guilt in this. When I was a teenager, a neighbor’s son, who was at school with me, was rumored to have joined the IRA. He was probably disenfranchised, lived in over-crowded public housing and was the minority religion in a Protestant city. That said, he was streamed, like me, to study medicine or law so the world was his oyster with public funding available for university study. Perhaps I should have told a teacher or someone else in authority but I was too frightened to say anything. In any case, I had no evidence of his activities other than the information was from a very reliable source. His parents used to play Irish rebel songs at full blast in the back yard just to annoy the Protestant neighbors – we felt horribly stuck in the middle.

I suppose what I am saying is – did you hate all Irish Catholics or Irish Protestants when the IRA/Loyalist terrorism was at its height? What about the Kennedys? When terrorism rears its ugly head, we need to be vigilant, sensible but keep perspective. One decade it was Christians, the other Muslims and yet another, people of no faith. Bottom line – you have to be a bad person to take the life of an innocent for whatever cause you believe in.