Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Iranian Refugee Victim of Anti-Muslim Hate-Crime, Isn’t Even Muslim

In Portland, Oregon, an Iranian refugee came home from a few days out of town to find his home had been horrifically vandalized while he was away.

And, I’m not talking just some spray paint on the outside of his garage door– the house was broken into, and every room in the house had been vandalized.

From slashing his couch, to spray paint on the walls and mirrors, the racist vandals wanted to send a message: Muslims are not welcomed here.

Oh, and they even left a Christ-like touch to the whole mess: bullets arranged in the shape of a cross. Because, you know, nothing says “Jesus loves you” like bullets arranged in the shape of a cross.

Turns out, racists aren’t always that bright: the man isn’t even Muslim— he’s Baha’i.

I mean, if you’re going to do the whole xenophobic, racist attack thing, maybe at least target the right people?

Baha’i is actually one of the youngest religions in the world, and is founded upon belief in “peace, justice, love, altruism and unity.” The religion promotes “the agreement of science and religion, the equality of the sexes and the elimination of all prejudice and racism”, according to the website Baha’i Teachings.

But I suppose to so many “American Patriots,” being from the Middle East automatically makes one a Muslim, even though Islam is just one of many religions represented within this population.

As I’ve thought about this story, I’ve found myself amazed at the way we hate people we don’t even know.

And maybe that’s the problem– we don’t know them.

It’s so easy to fear and hate when we’re dealing with stereotypes and information from shady websites– it’s much harder to fear and hate when we stop, and take the time to actually discover who someone is, and what they actually believe.

It’s much easier to hate a caricature than the person sitting across from you at the dinner table.

A case in point from a recent commentor on my blog, who wrote:

“I will not debate you !!! you love Islam so much along with hollywood and the liberal POLITICIANS then put your money where your mouth is. put them up in your homes. Feed them. Cloth them pay for their schooling, pay for their housing and expences. Let them rape murder your family and take over your neighborhood. Until your doing that don’t preach to the rest of us. Your “”feel good”” christianity doesnt mean anything unless you walk the walk and you live unafraid and bring them in your home. Enough!!! I’m done with you! God said do not let foriegners invade your land. I’m sick of insane liberals like you who cherry pick scripture to push your radical TYRANNICAL liberal Islamic trogen horse agenda!!! your views sre insane and suicidal.Go live over in Sweden, brussels, france. They are destroying their heritage and their culture raping, murdering and piliging . Go embrace them over there. NOT HERE!!! GO GET GANG RAPED AND SHOW THEM YOUR LOVE AND COMPASSION WHILE THEY DO IT TO YOU.PROBABLY 5-10 AT A TIME. YOUR VIEWS ARE DESTRUCTIVE AND UNRATIONAL.”

This individual, who in addition to not realizing I have many years experience loving and serving the large refugee population in my area, where the worst thing a Muslim has ever done to me is insist I keep eating after I’m already full, also wrote:

“So don’t give me THIS BS. These radicals have been bred to hate kill and destroy. RAPE KIDS AND WOMEN AND EVEN MEN AND GUILTY OF THE MOST HORRIBLE CRIMES IMMAGINABLE. Dont give that love crap and turn the other cheek BS. God loves the worriors for righteosness, David who slayed GOLIATH, God wanted the jews to kill the giants in the promise land God and Jesus are the same. You want everyone to let someone come and kill you DESTROY your country rape your kids and women???? You want us christians to lay down and die for Islam. Thats what you want. Your no CHRISTIAN…”

While I don’t know this person in real life, and while I’m not telepathic, I can tell you this one thing about them: they don’t actually know any Muslims.

Whenever I encounter anti-Muslim sentiments with people I know in real life, I often ask them how many Muslim families they know. I ask them how often they’ve shared meals, or if they’ve ever sat down and had a discussion with a Muslim in real life.

The answer is always the same: they haven’t.

And that’s the problem.

My prayer is that we’d stop falsely calling ourselves Christians until we’re willing to do what Jesus did: sit down at a table and actually get to know one another, before making assumptions.

Video of the crime, courtesy of Koin6:

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

Join the resistance: Subscribe for posts and updates from BLC!

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  • I don’t know how many stories I’ve heard about morons who assaulted Sikh men assuming they were Muslim. I even recall hearing of a non-Muslim woman who was attacked because she wore a head scarf. It was windy out. It’s mind-boggling how much hate is out there, but even worse when it’s coupled with ignorance. And your correspondent is clearly oblivious to the many places where God said to be kind to the stranger in your midst.

  • Amen. Great article Dr Corey. Thank you very much. I hope the victim of this hate crime was helped to put his house in order by some true Christians, and anyone else of any other ‘faith’ who wanted to help. There’s so much fear out in the world now, its destroying our societies, or it will if individuals continue to let it.

  • “Love God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the fulfillment of the law and the profits. Jesus came to tell us to love one another. It was, after love God, the most important thing he ever said. He also said that he who does not love, does not know God because God IS LOVE. ALT Jesus throws stones, hates his neighbor, throws the poor into prison, persecutes widows and orphans, AND DOES NOT KNOW GOD! These hateful anti-Christians who call themselves the true Christians do not know their Bible or Jesus. So WE cherry pick? They don’t even listen to the one commandment in the entire Bible that Jesus said was the most important. Jesus said turn the other cheek, not some hippy dippy liberal. How can you call yourself a Christian if you don’t even follow what Jesus Christ told us was the most important rule to follow? I don’t get it. But then I am a peace-loving liberal. Maybe I’m just too stupid to understand what my Savior meant when he told the story of the Good Samaritan. Hmm, thought I had a pretty good grasp on that one.

  • “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt:” Leviticus 19:34.

    Plus, according to a wide range of sources, 9 people per year are killed in the US by Muslim extremists; but 12,843 people are killed by guns in the US each year (excluding suicides). And, “The chances of being killed by a refugee committing a terrorist act in the US per year is 1 in 3.6 billion.” People really need to get a grip.

  • Benjamin:
    My prayer is that we’d stop falsely calling ourselves Christians until we’re willing to do what Jesus did: sit down at a table and actually get to know one another, before making assumptions.

    Ronny to Benjamin:
    And even when we don’t know the other person personally, we are simply to love them. We are to love them, just as God/Jesus Christ did and does. We are to follow Jesus Christ and his example for us. For even on the cross, while he was being brutally killed, he prayed for those killing him and asked God the Father to forgive them. And those people and all of us, we will be together for eternity. For God the Father and Jesus Christ, have already seen to that! 🙂 We, as in Christians, we are simply to love all people, just as Jesus Christ did and does! 🙂

  • This is VILE, CRUEL, and DEMENTED…. If I were there the first thing I would say is; Get me a BRUSH and some PAINT, we’ll make this as good as NEW….

  • “God wanted the jews to kill the giants in the promise land God and Jesus
    are the same. You want everyone to let someone come and kill you
    DESTROY your country”

    I think someone is projecting their own violent tendencies onto muslims…

  • Lord help them.
    You became man and died as a sinner for us so that you could reach into and touch us sinners trapped in our sin and death and heal us.
    Hold out your hand to them in the dark pit of hatred and fear and suffering they have dug for themselves and bring them out into the light.
    Because all I see when I read about people doing such things, and writing such words, and thinking such thoughts is an unreachable soul dying in darkness and agony and there’s nothing I can do and it makes me want to cry.
    Amen.

    • In these situations I try to bring to mind these words from Paul:

      “I pray that, according to the
      riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your
      inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in
      your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in
      love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the
      saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know
      the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled
      with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

      I rarely do at first and often don’t at all but I will add your beautiful prayer when I remember–at least to myself.

  • I also find it quite interesting that based on the cut and paste of the commentor’s comment, It’s quite clear that he’s relatively uneducated in general as well.

  • It will be a wonderful day when Muslims become accepted in the American culture. Then, perhaps, we will have a return to modesty and purity. I look forward to that. The hijab, in my view, is far better for our women than the nearly naked and over-sexualized version of the modern American woman we promote now which is far more sexist than what the hijab symbolizes. I doubt that a Muslim making a music video will have twerking “ho’s” either or a film maker make a story with naked adolescents having sex and using the most foul language. What a relief! Christian culture has not seemed to be able to stop the ever-onward march of human debasement we see progressively destroying the country.

    • I agree. I think in many ways American culture is worse for women than the prevailing Muslim culture, which is pro-woman and pro-modesty–pro human! Sexualizing and objectifying women is so much worse than giving them a choice to wear a headscarf or not. Yes, it becomes a problem when women are forced to wear or really DO anything. But that is not what Islam is about. There are certain unenlightened cultures (Saudi Arabia comes to mind) which happen to be Muslim by creed. But lets think for a moment about all the horrors Christianity has inflicted on women and others for the sake of dominance. I think the Fundies are mad because they’ve lost the war they started in the 80’s. They are lashing out because of fear and because they are pissed off that the rest of America didn’t hop to at their command. Now they have a president who validates those fears and that anger and hatred. They feel entitled to act out that hatred in despicable ways.

  • Very sorry that this Iranian refugee came to this country to live in peace and has been met with such repulsive hatred. Thankfully, this hate crime doesn’t represent the majority of Americans. Most of us have a live-and-let-live attitude towards our fellow Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or even politics. We don’t have a President who shares that attitude but most of us didn’t vote for him and don’t share his bigoted sentiments.

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