Feature photo by Asterio Tecson

Throughout history there have been many attempts at explaining the seemingly random ebb and flow that dictates the good and bad times of any given geographical point. In this sphere of haphazard blame, often times it is easier to look toward some sort of group that could be causing the problem, instead of taking accountability for whatever the broader situation is. This group is known as a scapegoat.

The purpose of a scapegoat is to take blame away from oneself and inflict it upon a group that is widely unknown. This mystery and/or reluctance to enter the “mainstream” (in other words Christian) society invites that society to target said group in order to fix whatever is broken. Because in order to be fully integrated, one must delete all memory of a unique culture by making it an inferior part of a person’s personality. If one does not do this to the fullest extent, it seems that the larger group around it gets pretty riled up.

For what almost seems like the entirety of human history (that involved a large number of the global population being monotheistic), the Jews have served this purpose. From poisoning wells to murdering children to use their blood to bake their unleavened bread to controlling the media and banks, they’ve always been “up to something”. I’ve often thought that perhaps it is strategic fiscal application that makes Jews seemingly more prosperous than others, which invites the envy of those without. However, the hatred felt towards Jews is far more complicated than money.

The religious right and middle often times blames/d current situations on Jews because of what they did to some sort of bearded magician who they nailed to a cross and left to die for three days. No mention of how this was common practice for any crime committed at that time of the Roman Empire. However, the bad wrap that Jews get because of this seems to never been let go by these people who love this sandal-wearing hippie. One would think that they would take one of the core principles he thought up, that of forgiveness, and apply it to the future relationship with member of Jesus’s native religion. Well, Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about apparently.

Let us enter the political theater of the present and observe the trends at hand. It seems as though 9/11 was the catalyst that finally brought Muslims (or just Muslim-looking people) to the forefront of blame. The guy behind the counter at the gas station in a turban? Terrorist at $3.99 a gallon. Mother, headscarf and her two children waiting at the bus stop? Terrorist and terror trainees. The man with the brown skin in the suit, walking in The Loop in a hurry, carrying a briefcase and looking at his watch? Terrorist to go. All of these seemingly mundane, normal Americans are thrust into this demographic. Not Muslim, they all are. It’s the terrorist demographic. The gas station clerk is Indian, the mother and her two children are Turkish, the guy in the suit… let’s say he’s Pakistani. Pakistani? That’s a breeding ground!

The point is these people are no more suspect than, say a white male in his early twenties. For the purpose of the discussion let’s say he lives in Arizona. Or a man from mid-New York state? Did I mention he was white and spent a brief period of time in Oklahoma City? Both of these variables suggest that maybe it isn’t just Islam that turns somebody into a radical anything.

Speaking of New York, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) is so strongly opposed to terrorism of any kind, he has taken it upon himself to denounce Muslim Americans for not actively opposing terrorists and doing nothing to prevent homegrown terrorists. Well, Mr. King, I don’t think they will accept and defend the values of a system that has demonized them and rationalized hate against so that “real” Americans should not feel bad about their collective fear toward this group. They’re potential terrorists after all. He hates terrorism. In this country, at least.

Feature photo by Asterio Tecson

King has been a very vocal supporter of the IRA. In 1982, speaking at a Pro-IRA rally in New York, he declared that, “We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.” Switch those words around to fit the current political state, and you’ve got yourself a one-man jihad.

That might have been 29 years ago. People, societies and opinions change. However, as recently as 2008 he spoke out in defense of Pól Brennan, an IRA member who had escaped a UK prison in 1983 and who had been detained in Texas 15 years later. Not only was he a member of a terrorist organization, he also entered the country illegally. When his work visa expired and he was being held without bail, he said that his “experience dealing with (Irish) republicans is that they don’t jump bail in this country. They honor their commitments.”

It’s surprising to me that someone who feels so strongly about justice and race relations would allow such an unjustified and racist hearing to follow through. I guess in his mind it isn’t relative. What the IRA is fighting is British Imperialism and the right to practice their religion in the land they call home. Well, what about American Imperialism and the attack on religion that Muslims in the Arab world (and after this debacle, at home) are fighting against?

The moral of the story here is people shouldn’t throw accusations of terrorism when they themselves live in a terrorist home. Radicalization is a reality that must be addressed, but to exclusively lay that extremism and blame squarely on the Islamic religion, that’s not very perceptive at all. There is no such thing as a violent religion. There is only violence.

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