Republican presidential candidates, in an effort to appeal to the worst among us, have escalated their anti-Muslim rhetoric in the days following the Paris massacre for which ISIS claimed credit. In a Op-Ed penned by Charles M. Blow for the New York Times, Blow warns us of the dangers such comments pose.
Examples of the hate-filled speech abound, including,
- Donald Trump stating he will “have no choice” but to close mosques, and calling for the registering of Muslims.
- Ben Carson comparing Syrian refugees to rabid dogs in your neighborhoods.
- Donald Trump’s quote earlier in the campaign, stating, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”
- Mike Huckabee calling for President Obama’s resignation because he is “protecting Islam over America.”
- Ted Cruz contending that President Obama is a “radical and a zealot” for welcoming refugees “coming here to commit jihad.”
And that is just skimming the surface. Both print and broadcast media, as well as the web, abound with such speech. Voters who don’t bother to inform themselves, and who take what they read or hear at face value, buy into these comments, and our society as a whole continues to devolve to the point that we destroy ourselves before the first “jihadist refugee” sets foot on U.S. soil.
Exposure to such vitriol can, over time, numb us to its presence. We get a little more comfortable, a little more complacent, until suddenly we are faced with unimaginable acts perpetrated by the very leaders we elected. That which we would normally abhor becomes allowable when couched in “us or them” terms.
Legislatures in 32 states have moved to ban international law. These bans, based on models created by anti-Muslim activist David Yerushalmi, inflame anti-Muslim attitude over fears of Sharia law being instituted in the U.S. Yet proponents of the bans cannot cite one single instance where a U.S. court relied on Sharia law in its deliberations. The ACLU decries these laws, stating,
Efforts to single out Muslims and to advance the ugly idea that anything Islamic is un-American are unjust and discriminatory and should be rejected. Laws that single out Sharia violate the First Amendment by treating one belief system as suspect.
Vilifying and demonizing one faith, be it Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc., is indeed a slippery slope, as Blow attests. The comparison of Adolph Hitler and European Jews or the treatment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II cannot be discounted.
They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Are we that easily manipulated? Have we learned nothing, then?
Featured image courtesy of nbcnewyork.com.