How The World's Treatment of Muslims Mirrors Past Treatment of the Jews
The age old lesson has been that history is essential to a person's education, otherwise it is bound to be repeated. However, in light of the events of the past forty years, and especially the last sixteen, the ever growing fear of Muslims has been contagious. But unlike a virus, "waiting it out" no longer seems to be an option. There is treatment for this fear, that in some cases, is warranted. It must be enforced, maintained, and measured over time.
The festering fear that exists throughout the world, but nowhere more so than the United States, began it's spread in the 1970's, when Islamic terrorist groups became greater in number, were being broadcasted on every television, and were making more than just idle threats. This was during the peak of the Cold War, and what was then the Soviet Union had dominion over Afghanistan.
A group known as "mujahideen", which comes from the same root as "jihad", were a group of citizens of several Arab nations who banned together to oppose the forces of The Soviet Union after they invaded in 1979. Sadly, because the Cold War between The Soviets and Americans was in full force, and due in part to the US withdrawing from Vietnam in 1973, then President Jimmy Carter funded the mujahideen, due to having a common enemy. China and Saudi Arabia also supported the group. In 1989, the Soviets left Afghanistan in surrender, and shortly after in 1996, the fundamentalist Taliban began its rule in Kabul.
The Taliban was removed from government in 2001, following the harrowing attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11. This was when the fear of Islam began its revamped, cancerous rampage.
"Mother, Should I Trust The Government?"
The events of 9/11 were nothing short of terrifying and deeply disturbing. They were fueled by an unfathomable hatred that still haunts the minds of millions worldwide. However, making assumptions and blanket-statements about every hijab-donned woman and every Arab speaking man is not what will educate this nation on what Islam is and stands for. This exact behavior is likened to how America responded to the German propaganda of World War II, and its lack of military effort to aid those in concentration camps while having full knowledge of what was happening.
When the concentration camps were still on the drafting table, the Nazi regime took to the media to instill its antisemitic message on the common people. This meant with art, theatre, and music, and reading material. The propaganda displayed on the streets of Germany depicted grotesque images of Jews, mostly men, often with money or devil heads. This image was also used in commercials, encouraging the people to shun their Jewish neighbors, and instilling a sense of lower social status. Many European nations believed this propaganda, and even offered up their Jewish citizens in exchange for money or immunity during the Nazi occupation of their country.
Adolf Hitler was quoted saying "propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea." (Mein Kampf, 1926) This perceived belief lead to horrific discrimination that lead to the dehumanizing of the Jews, beginning with the removal of their home, their belongings, their own family, and for millions, their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
While Islamic terrorist groups have committed actual atrocities both in the U.S and abroad, this is not an excuse for the masses to accuse those of the same following for having the same agenda. Christian, Buddhist, and other religious groups that bring a tainted image to the actual doctrine of the religion it claims to uphold do not seem to have anywhere near the same effect as Islamic groups do. When a change in the interpretation of religious word becomes practice, one cannot blame the religion, but the worshiper who errs. And even so, this cannot be assumed for all.
While false information, or "alternative facts", fed to the people on a daily basis can be overwhelming, a conscious person must be able to differentiate between sensationalism and making of dollars, and facts that can educate and heal the heedless hatred that descends on the minorities of our lands.
The Choice Is Yours
While nations have every reason to fear the terrorist groups that are shoved in their faces with every news day, two things must remain: resilience, and faith in people. Education on the history of these religions, and the events that resulted from those who did not/would not understand, is key. History cannot repeat itself. Simply put. And that decision is up to every one of us.