Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Muslim Woman is attacked in Columbus

The story is here.  That's not good of course.  Details are still pending, but if the story unfolds the way the victim describes, it sounds like an attack based on the mere fact she was Muslim.  That no doubt happens.  The quotes from officials are somewhat vague.  On one hand, it says what I've noticed - being a native of the area - that these things haven't happened much in the last 10 years, if at all.  The quote from a FBI spokesman named Mike Brooks from the Cincinnati chapter of the FBI makes it a bit murky, since he states, "I can't say that it never happens, but it's not something that happens every week."

Does that mean in all of Ohio, Cincinnati, Columbus? I'm not aware of any such attack in years.  There has been more vandalism and arson against churches than Mosques, and our Jewish community has seen its usual dose of attacks over the years.  Of course as one reader at Get Religion pointed out, since Muslims make up such a small number of Americans, that makes the attacks proportionally higher.  And yet there are still 300 million Americans, most of whom aren't Muslim and almost none of whom are doing such things. 

Again, none of this is to make light of the attack.  It was wrong, and the stuff of hatred and ignorance, as is all such criminal activity.  But before we go with the usual 'just shows how racist America is, how evil America is, why Muslims have every right to be cowering in stark raving fear', let's just compare and contrast how Muslims are fairing in America versus their Christian counterparts across the Islamic world.  Lest you think I'm making mountains out of molehills from a single story about the Christian in Iraq, here are a couple other examples here, and here

FWIW, it took me all of four minutes to find the stories above.  On any given day, I can find any number of reports of violence, oppression, and political discrimination against religious minorities across the Islamic world.  And yet, I would be an Islamaphobic bigot to say there's a problem inherent in modern Islam because of it.  Yet a single case - the first one I'm aware of in years - of violence against a Muslim woman will be used to prove how racist and intolerant and ignorant America is.

This is the legacy of Multi Cultural education.  On one hand, it demanded that we never, ever condemn other cultures or civilizations.  We never take the high road and presume to judge because that would be 'ethnocentric' (a word I heard a million times in my day).  On the other hand, when one notices that we have far less tolerance for America, or Europe, when it comes to wrongdoing, we cannot say it is because Western civilization was in any way superior. It wasn't.  To say otherwise would have been - you guessed it - ethnocentric.  It's been a double edged sword.  We hold America and the Christian West to a far higher standard, where anything less than 100% perfection is condemned as evidence of the most heinous evil, and yet we are not allowed to justify such intolerance of our sins on the grounds of being a better, more enlightened civilization with a better stock of people.  Think that one through a minute, and it just could help explain the general malaise that permeates so much of the Western world. 

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