Anti-Muslim hate crimes are now a commonplace headline on newspapers across the US. Especially after the chilling murders of three Muslims at Chapel Hill, the Muslim nation is reeling and not sure where to turn for support.
One Islamic community in Houston is shuddering after a hate crime was committed on February 13th, when the Quba Islamic Institute went up in flames. Officials have detected the use of accelerants in the fire, which highly suggests that the fire was purposely set by someone as a hate crime.
Thankfully no one was hurt, but the community still feels the pain of fear and loss. It’s one thing if someone anonymously commits a hate crime, but it’s another when anti-Islam sentiment is so strong that people publicly share vile, hate-filled words only intended to fill communities with fear.
Following the fire, a retired Houston firefighter tweeted “Let it burn… block the fire hydrant.”
A Muslim school in Rhode Island was also placed under this shroud of fear when someone vandalized their school with hateful comments such as “Die Pig” and “F*** Allah now this is a hate crime.”
I couldn’t imagine the amount of bullying and discrimination Muslim kids must get at school with all these extremists— Patrick (@PatrickxDow) February 16, 2015
As this tweet astutely points out, these are the stories that make it to the news. The everyday abuses, sneers, name callings, and hate that Muslims go through don’t make the headlines. It is no longer newsworthy because of the frightening, day-to-day reality.
This graph shows just how rampant hate crimes have become for Muslims.
We also see the ISIS beheadings and haunting photos of hostages in orange jump suits, with their faces bent down in grim acceptance.
We use these haunting images to justify our behavior. The simple truth is that extremism fuels extremism, and vice versa.
We are not living a new era of extreme hatred. We are history repeating itself. We are the Americans who threw innocent Japanese Americans into internment camps. We are the Germans who tried to eradicate a national threat. We are the Chinese who tried to squash a revolution. And while this form of hatred has its own sting and story, people in the future will look back on this as just another mistake we made.
These images come to mind. After feeling pain, hatred is our most natural reaction.
But in reality, the only enemy is hatred. It has never been one group or another. It is hatred that fuels the history of human violence.