The recent shooting in San Bernardino has triggered politicians and conservatives to spew negative propaganda against Muslims. The West has seen a pattern since the attacks of September 11, 2001 (and even before that). Whenever terrorist attacks occur the West closes its heart to Islam and Muslims.
Professors Eric D. Gould, and Esteban F. Flor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem published an article in the Economic Journal in July titled, “The Long-run Effect of 9/11: Terrorism, Backlash, and the Assimilation of Muslim Immigrants in the West.” They argue that since 9/11 Muslim Americans feel backlash following terrorist attacks. These backlashes isolates Muslims, decreases their assimilation, promotes marriage within Muslim communities, decreases likelihood of English acquisition, and increases sympathy to terrorist organizations. They connect these trends directly with ‘hate crimes’ committed against Muslims, and intimidation by non-Muslims following terrorist attacks.
In response to the San Bernardino attack presidential hopeful Donald Trump, by using hateful language has encouraged enmity and possible war against Muslims. In his attempt to protect America, he actually damages America and strengthens ISIS and terrorism by demonizing Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace, and terrorists do not representative its teachings. Muslims who live in America need the same religious freedoms and protections that are granted to other Americans.
St. Francis of Assisi wrote, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” The fruit of peace is only sown with peace. If we want peace, we must first be that peace, which starts as a seed that grows within our hearts. Although we cannot control the hearts of anyone else, we can control our own, so let us do so.