Muslims are not the problem; they never have been. Our national perception is where the problem lies.
According to a 2012 Wired article, “Since 9/11 … 33 Americans have died as a result of terrorism launched by their Muslim neighbors. During that period, 180,000 Americans were murdered for reasons unrelated to terrorism.”
Syrian refugees have received a clear “welcome to the United States.”
From some of us, and sadly a majority of states (31 states, including North Dakota), they have received a giant middle finger. We see threats instead of people in need. We see them as savages instead of our global neighbors.
For some reason, we refuse to accept them as equals. We do not see them as human fleeing social unrest. Rather we see them as unjust people, whose prime objective is to murder our way of life.
We live in a unique time. I think it is far too easy to justify today’s injustice. We say that rejecting refugees is a “safety issue.” That is simply not true though. Not every Muslim is a terrorist. Just like not every Christian is a terrorist. Just like every gun owner isn’t a psychopath.
We all know these assumptions are false. We are not the victims, they are. It is high time that we treat them as such.
These are men, women, widows and children who have witnessed true horrors. These people have witnessed civil unrest. They have witnessed chemical weapons. They have watched as 200,000 of their countrymen perished.
I think we forget far too often that these people are people. They need our help; they need a safe space. We can no longer call this a national safety issue.
From the news, from the statements, from the statuses on Facebook, I think we can point the finger at a few things: bigotry, ignorance and hatred. I have heard comparisons of the refugees to a pit of snakes. I have heard them compared to a military. I have heard comparisons to the Trojan Horse. It truly sickens me, as I am for sure it sickens many.
It is high time that we unmask this “issue.” It’s not an issue. Rather, it is a problem, a problem that those with these beliefs hold. A problem with hatred, Islam and with actually educating themselves on the actual issues.
Islam doesn’t encourage hate, but stupidity does. ISIS preaches hate; ISIS uses ignorance and hate to spread its message, hurting many in its path.
Instead of hurting people, we must help the hurt. Instead of rejecting people over fear and pure ignorance, we must help those who need it most. It is our civic duty. This is how we separate ourselves from ISIS.
We must send another message to these refugees. We are not stupid; we are not full of hate. Rather we welcome you in your time of need. You are victims, and we are the aid. No matter your religion. No matter the color of your skin. There’s your real welcome to America.