Monday, November 22, 2010

Who is my neighbor?

So I was perusing the internet(s) during my day and looking through the regular sites to get some news and infotainment. I came across the NPR website to check on a story I had heard about earlier in the day and observed a story that I thought was pretty interesting, “Number of Hate Crimes Down in 09.” If you are as unfortunate as I am you have the time and the resources to check out national news on a regular basis via the internet. I say unfortunate because “news” is rarely news and is far from uplifting. I can’t check out a site without hearing about something Palin related. That woman stands for everything I am against and is totally worth a post solely on her own, but I digress. If you do observe the happenings of the world and the nation you see an alarming amount of concern regarding terrorism and people being afraid of Muslims (refer to previous NPR employee, Juan Williams, fired for saying, “"When I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.")

Within this small article they obviously highlight the positive statistics of hate crime dropping but they go on to expand on the statistics. If you venture to take a look you see something that absolutely baffled me.

Of the 1,376 hate crimes "motivated by religious bias," 70 percent were anti-Jewish and 9 percent were anti-Islamic. In 2008, according to the FBI, about 66 percent of hate crimes involving religious bias were anti-Jewish and 8 percent were anti-Islamic.

I’m put in a tough position because I don’t believe any hate crime is justified but I feel misled by our news organizations that there is some sort of mistrust of people with Islamic faith. In an idiotic hypothetical situation where I was the contestant and the question would be, “In 2009 there were 1,376 hate crimes recorded, that were based off of religious bias. Seventy percent were anti- _______?” And I had three choices and they were; Jewish, Buddhist and Rastafarian, I would still not pick Jewish. More to the point, how is the narrative of America that we hear from news organizations that people will burn Qur’ans, not allow Islamic centers in New York and that the head employees of NPR are afraid to fly with people of the Islamic faith. Yet I don’t hear about the injustices occurring to the Jewish community. What is not being said is that one religion is being picked on more than another, what I’m arguing is that the narrative of the nation right now is, that it is far more profitable to cover the pseudo tension between non-Muslim and Muslim citizens. My understanding from what is covered and what is statistical is the posture we as Americans take towards Muslim citizens is fear, yet the facts show that there is much, much more hostility towards our Jewish citizens. This could mean a variety of things, but what it certainly does mean is that there is complacency in regards to the covering of hate crimes and religious intolerance. I can’t think of a time recently where I have heard anything about a Jewish center in America being picketed or anyone threatening to burn the Torah. There is a disproportionate amount of news focusing on an entire group of people that sheds a less than favorable image while at the same time we have an entire people suffering and going unnoticed.

I know I’m just posing a problem and not giving any sort of real solution because for once in a long time I am shocked. There are no news stories about professional athletes, politicians or public figures that truly surprise me anymore. Call me a cynic, or just a negative person but I have little faith in humanity. But this statistic truly caught me off guard and gave me the motivation to share my findings with the limited audience I have. I don’t know if the problem is certain areas are targeted by the same hate groups or if we really still have a bigoted nation of anti Semites. Regardless the irony is that in a “Christian nation” the most persecuted religions have the same deity as the persecutors; Allah, ABBA, YHWH.

Matthew 22: 36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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