Just a few mornings ago, I opened The Bruin to learn that the LAPD had decided to shelve the Muslim Mapping Plan. I was surprised, not because the LAPD had decided to shelve the idea, but because the idea existed in the first place, and that it had been on the road to implementation.
The planis wrong on many levels.
As an American citizen and Atheist, I have prided myself on being part of a diverse and accepting nation, particularly on our freedom and diversity of religion. The United States was once a role model and defender of the then new concept of religious freedom.
Instead, the mapping effort makes clear that our society sees Muslims as a foreign and dangerous group. The plan is accusatory in nature. It was to be implemented by the LAPD's counterterrorism bureau, a law enforcement agency, instead of a religious analytical group. This sets Muslims apart from "the rest".
Apparently, we need to remind ourselves that American-Muslims are still American and should not be treated differently from any other religious group.
Particular care should be given to differentiating between Muslims and Muslim extremists. Most Muslims do not associate themselves with Islamic extremists, just like most Catholics do not associate themselves with Irish Catholic extremists.
Violent radicals are found in almost every religion. Muslims are no exception.
Recent Islamic extremism is not solely related to religion, but culture. In his videos, Osama bin Laden makes reference to the West and berates western culture, which includes western religions. The point is, radical Islamists are American-hating individuals, who happen to be Muslim.
They hate the West for it's influence and power. Like anyone, they try to justify their actions through what they believe. Since the issue is much narrower than religion, it makes no sense to stigmatize all of Islam.
It's important to remember, that as Americans, we have a duty to protect and respect our fellow Americans. I hope that, soon, when I open the paper again at breakfast, I will find this article, and that it brings comfort to the Muslim readers, and to all who appreciate tolerance of other theistic and atheistic views.
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