West-side Story: Love (and Hate) are Both Alive and Well in Albuquerque

While the recent Charlottesville, Virginia, incident revealed that hate still has deep roots in our country, I just discovered that hate also lives in my own west-side Albuquerque neighborhood.

Disclosure: I am on a team of three people trying to help a family of Afghani refugees resettle in our city as a volunteer for the Catholic Charities Center for Refugee Support Program. The family consists of “Grandma,” “Auntie,” and two teenage boys. The family in Kabul had been broken apart by Taliban extremists in the mid-1990’s. Most of the adult men (including “Grandpa,” “Uncle,” and the boys’ father) had been slaughtered for reasons that are unclear. They fled to Iran, where they lived for years happily (despite the fact that they are Sunni Muslims, not Shiite as most Iranians are) before transitioning to the States about three years ago. Relief/humanitarian organizations like Catholic Charities have been helping them resettle and survive their struggle that they live with every day. Here is a blog post in which I wrote about the family and my reasons for choosing to help them.

This west-side “love/hate” story began 18 months ago when on March 12, 2016, I posted this in our local Nextdoor.com electronic bulletin board that reaches hundreds of homes on Albuquerque’s west side.

Need television for an Afghan refugee family I'm helping a refugee family from Afghanistan who lost their husband, father, sons, and uncles to the Taliban, and now their TV is kaput. I will pick it up and can pay a low price.

I wasn’t sure what kind of response I would get. My heart leapt when almost immediately I received 27 Thank you posts, 29 secondary Thank You posts (Thank you postings to other postings), and 7 replies, including two offers of free TVs and three asking me what else the family needs, such as “Keep us posted if they need anything else.“

Then a few weeks later, I posted this:

Need laptop for Afghan refugee family I just found out that a teenage boy in the Afghan refugee family I'm helping through Catholic Charities needs a laptop to do his school work. Does anybody have one to donate?

There were three quick Thank you posts, 25 secondary Thank you posts, and seven replies, including three offers and these comments:

  • I will share this information with my network of friends. I'm sure we can find something suitable for him.
  • Will an iPad or tablet be sufficient?
  • I wonder if I can help in any way. I'm a teacher and I can help with tutoring, possibly.

Finally, in August, 2016, I posted this:

Needed: Television for the Afghan refugee family I'm helping Both a television and a computer were donated through this board in the past year by kind neighbors for this refugee family that is experiencing turmoil during their resettlement. I volunteer at Catholic Charities. The family is made up of a grandmother, aunt, and two teenage boys. The father/son/brother had been killed by the Taliban. The donated TV has gone kaput because of bad behavior by one of the boys. Grandma used to watch Pashtun (Afghani) language programs on it all day. Sadly, she now stays home all day lost in painful memories. If you have a working TV that you would like to donate, please call me to arrange my picking it up.

Within minutes, two TVs were offered. For the third time, the response clearly showed that there are a high number of good folks from both banks of the Rio Grande to the desert Petroglyphs, folks with love and compassion in their hearts; that is until I started receiving a series of private emails through Nextdoor.com from a person whom I will call Neighbor X regarding my requests for help for the refugees.

On August 3, I received this from Neighbor X:

Just curious, are these people Christian or Muslim?

To which I replied:

They are Muslim.

Neighbor X:

Why do you feel the need to help these people who's ideology demands they kill or convert you? Just curious. Thanks for helping to bring down the community!

To which I replied:

You are wrong in your assumptions and obviously not a committed Christian. These people are not violent, anti-American, or trying to convert me and the others who reach out to help them.

To which Neighbor X replied:

As for me, you can just skip your propaganda. If you truly know anything about islam, you would know that these people should stay in the middle east where they belong! New muslim immigrants always start off as grateful, then play the victim, then they start demanding that we change our ways/culture to fit theirs. Islam from the very beginning has always been by the sword! Now they have changed their tactics. Their ideology teaches them to deceive/lie, to the infidel, which is anyone who is not muslim. The majority of the people in this country do not want them here. They know what has happened in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Europe, the UK, Australia, Canada and some parts of the USA. Dearborn Michigan, eastern Pittsburgh and Minneapolis are a few examples.

This one came in just when the army of hate was waiving the Nazi flag in Charlottesville. While the media mentions hate directed at African-Americans, Jews, immigrants, Hispanics, and LGBTQs, hatred of Muslims (Islamophobia) has unfortunately moved from the fringes of American society to the mainstream. As Neighbor X continues the rant, we see that this hate is based on several “alternate facts.”

I know you think you are doing the right thing but if you know the true history of islam then you know that mohammad based this barbaric cult on his tribal moon god baal/molech. This is a satanic death/sacrafice cult, it is a whole way of life that conflicts with our Judeo/Christian values and culture. You have been suckered in by their lies. ISLAM IS ANYTHING BUT A "RELIGION OF PEACE!"
Do you know the real reason for the Crusades? Christians were defending themselves against moslem invaders who were murdering, raping, torturing and taking sex slaves in many Christian countries. That is the real reason for the Crusades!
What I don't understand is how you can justify bringing muslims here who's ideology teaches them to lie to non muslims, to KILL Jews, rape women, even their own and children, including boys. islam can never reform because it is satanic at it's very roots!
Now because these jobless basement dwellers have nothing better to do, they dress in black and cover their faces (like hitler youth) brandishing weapons, and using them on people and property, clearly they want to cause a riot and do damage to get a point across? It's been the liberals who have been causing all of this trouble because they didn't get their KILLERY!

To which I, trying to keep my cool and staying real, replied

I pity you and your kind who did what they did in Chalottesville.

The Facts

  1. Hate crimes in nine U.S. metropolitan areas are rising more than 20 percent yearly, fueled by inflamed passions ignited during the presidential campaign and more willingness for victims to step forward, a leading hate crimes researcher has reported. The new numbers, collected from police departments, reverse a trend toward fewer hate crimes in many of the cities in recent years.
  2. Dec. 13, 2015: On Fox News, Trump was asked if his ban would apply to a Canadian businessman who is a Muslim. Trump responded: “There's a sickness. They're sick people. There's a sickness going on. There's a group of people that is very sick.”
  3. About 3.3 million people in the United States are Muslim, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  4. The U.S.-based Islamophobia network’s inner core is currently comprised of at least thirty-three groups with access to at least $205,838,077 in total revenue. whose primary purpose is to promote prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims. (latest Council on American-Islamic Relations Report)
  5. In December, 2016, a woman yelled at a hijab-wearing shopper in a grocery store, calling her a terrorist. The Albuquerque Journal reported that police say charges weren't filed because the Muslim woman was not physically attacked or afraid that she was going to be.

Seedpods to carry about

  • Think before you speak.The mother of the woman killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, to President Trump
  • Darkness cannot drive (out) darkness; Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Love can do that. Martin Luther King (1963)
  • Don't promote negativity online and expect people to treat you with positivity in person. Germany Kent
  • Since September 11th event, in many occasion I always come forth, with a defense of Islam. Islam like any other major tradition. I think the very praising Allah means love, infinite love, compassion, like that. I understand Islam, they usually carry rosary, all 99 beads, different name of Allah, all refer compassion, or these positive things. Dalai Lama

#hate groups #hate-speech #Islamophobia #Albuquerque hate #anti-Muslim

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.