Our country is based on the principles of freedom of religion and tolerance for all. A few hate-filled Jihadist terrorists who have perverted the meaning of Islam must not make us turn against millions of patriotic and peaceful Muslims.
If we give in to hate and discrimination ourselves, then murderous San Bernardino shooters, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook, will have won. ISIL and its death-worshipping adherents are desperate to create a dangerous divide between Muslims and everyone else in the world. That would be their apocalyptic dream. They want endless bloodshed and worldwide war.
As President Obama so wisely pointed out in his presidential address on Dec. 6, we must not give in to fear. "Our success (in destroying ISIL) won't depend on tough talk or abandoning our values, or giving into fear. That's what groups like ISIL are hoping for," he admonished. It would be a terrible legacy for the 14 innocent people who were slaughtered in San Bernardino, to have us villainize three million American Muslims because of the hateful actions of two.
To be clear -- no U.S. politician has loudly demanded that every white male be entered into a database and tracked, despite the fact that white, Right-wing male extremists have killed seven times times more Americans than Muslim terrorists have. Look no further for an example of this than Robert Lewis Dear, who gunned down three innocents in Colorado Springs, CO at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 27. In fact, Right-wing extremists committed an average of 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, murdering 254 people. In contrast, Muslim extremist terrorist attacks led to 50 tragic deaths.
Nevertheless, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have irresponsibly incited anti-Muslim hysteria and demanded that we make it government policy to discriminate against Muslim-Americans. "I would certainly implement a database system tracking Muslims in the US," Trump declared to NBC News on Nov. 19. "I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases..." He insisted that Muslims be legally required to sign into the databases: "They have to be."
Really? Is that what we want America, the home of the free, to become -- a police state singling out the members of one religious faith and demonizing them -- just like the Nazis did to the Jews in WWII?! GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz introduced a bill to the Senate that would bar all Syrian refugees -- including children -- from being admitted into the U.S. unless they are Christians. He branded desperate Syrian refugees fleeing ISIL as "potential terrorists", and applauded the 31 state governors (all but one a Republican) for announcing that they wouldn't allow Syrian refugees into their states. This is despite the fact that not a single Syrian refugee in the U.S., has been linked to terrorism.
Peace-loving Muslim-Americans and Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives must not be made scapegoats for the "tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world...who reject [ISIL's] hateful ideology," asserts President Obama. Instead, as our president contends, we must "enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate."
Our country can't give up its very essence as a proponent of tolerance, diversity and freedom, because of ISIL thugs. It's discouraging that political leaders campaigning for president are trying to appeal to our basest instincts, rather than to the ideals of our Founding Fathers.