Lately there seems as if there is a growing fear and hostility towards Muslims in America. While there will always be racism in culture, and there will always be Islamophobia, the current level of fear and hatred toward our Muslim brothers and sisters is ramping up to levels that I haven’t seen since the early days following 9-11.
This peddling of fear and hatred hasn’t been limited to folks who just live in the back woods and don’t get out much- high profile Christians are getting in on the action too, and this is something I have found just absolutely sad. The highest profile of which has been Franklin Graham, who now seems to have made a modern crusade against Muslims a core part of his platform. If his twitter account hasn’t been enough, his recent statements and TV appearances have been over-the-top in his claims that the President favors Islam, that Muslims now have “access to the White House,” and that persecution of Christians is coming because President Obama is “sympathetic” to Islam.
My Facebook and Twitter feed have been full of the same type of fear-baiting to the point where I can’t block or unfollow people fast enough. It’s as if a massive section of Christianity in America is not only afraid of Muslims, but they want us to be afraid of them too. I know no other explanation for the behavior.
But you know what? I’m not buying it. I’m not scared of my Muslim neighbors. But you know who I am scared of? Who I think we should really be concerned about?
White guys with guns, that’s who.
I’m not scared of the people who come out of our local mosque after evening prayer, I’m not scared of the guy who owns the Somalian food store in town, and I’m certainly not afraid of that guy who likes to invite you into the shop to have some tea with him.
Who I am scared of however, are people who see no reason that a person should undergo a background check prior to owning a firearm. I’m scared of the weirdos who take their AR15’s shopping with them at Walmart just to prove a point. I’m scared of the people pushing for a change to our state law, advocating that anyone should be allowed to carry a concealed gun on their person without any type of permit or training. I’m scared of the geniuses who take their 10 year old kids out to the woods to shoot an Uzi, scared of the people who think that limiting the amount of ammo their guns can fire in a single burst is an offensive restriction on their liberties, scared of the 19 year old kid who think he’s a badass because he went out and bought a gun with his paycheck (that used to be me), I’m scared of people who are ready to shoot someone simply because they “feel” threatened, and I’m definitely scared of the kids who got picked on in high school who went on to become cops.
I’m scared of people who have been so indoctrinated into the acceptability of violence, and who have been filled with so many fear-based stereotypes about others, that they are only a blink of an eye away from pulling that weapon out from under their shirt and using it.
I’m scared of all of them, because I don’t trust them with my life. I don’t trust them to use their weapons in public places where my daughter might be innocently walking, I don’t trust them to use lethal force as a last resort, and I don’t trust their overall judgement as people. Anyone who thinks that a private citizen should be able to own military grade weapons and that any oversight of that right is an “infringement” on their right has lost me– because that’s not rational thinking. And, if they can’t think rationally before picking up a weapon, I sure as heck don’t trust them to think rationally when it’s loaded and cocked in their hand.
I’ve seen nothing in my Muslim neighbors worthy of a general fear of them, as some Christian leaders want us to hold. The absolute worst-case-scenario with my Muslim neighbors is being invited over for food and tea on a day where I have a super busy schedule.
I’m not scared of Muslims. But I have to be honest, I am scared of white guys with guns.
So just remember when you see all of the anti-Muslim fear baiting from Christian leaders: the real looming threat in our country has nothing to do with people who wear a hijab, but people who have been indoctrinated into the acceptability of violence, and who carry guns snuggled neatly underneath their flannel shirt.