Social and Political Commentary

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Getting to know Muslims better

... were ALL Muslims to blame for 9-11?

by Ed Boyd

I have a friend out on the West Coast who e-mails me from time to time. Recently he forwarded a message written by an America Airline's pilot; Captain John Maniscaico who writes about Arab/Muslims whom he feels are terrorizing our country.

He says, “On September 11, nineteen ARAB/MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud loving fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children’s mothers. The Palestinians celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed as was most of the Arab world.”

Captain Maniscaico goes on to say, “As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist.”

I don’t for a minute believe, “The Palestinians celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed as was most of the Arab world.” It is pretty difficult to absorb that the whole of the Arab/Muslim population was happy with this slaughter. I have to believe that only a minority of fanatics would celebrate such a travesty.

Let me reflect a little on the history of our great country. In 1845 the great famine in Ireland caused about 100,000 Irish refugees came to these shores. Today there are 34,300,000 claiming Irish ancestry. Back in 1845 Irish Catholics brought their priests with their funny white collars and skirts that fell to shoe tops. The Irish were persecuted in Boston and elsewhere because of being different. Shortly after, Italian Catholics migrated here, called “wops” or “dagos”, suffered similar persecution. The Irish and Italians built towering edifices, higher than any one else, in the service of God. Probably St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City is the grand church of Catholics nation wide.   

In 1905, John F. Fitzgerald became the mayor of Boston. JFK himself was elected as president in 1960. Then, if you go beyond and think of that which gives us our character, it is the great strength we have in allowing for divergence. There are Jewish Temples, Christian Science and the Mormon Church are just a few of examples that show how we can absorb differences. As a matter of fact, Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, is about to pave his way toward the Presidency.

I know it is a very trying time especially where Arab/Muslims don’t have our language and don’t share our beliefs. But all this is very new to Muslims and to us. I have to believe that if we can better get to know Muslims, and they get to know us, they will assimilate as has been managed in the past. I live in Melrose, MA just down the street from Salem, MA. Let’s not have another witch hunt.

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