Jeremy J. Jones – Stranded in Thought

August 8, 2010

Poor Communication Opens Door for Hate

Filed under: Opinion — Jeremy @ 8:29 am

I might end up with a ton of inflammatory comments about this, but I don’t care. I have to write about this. The New York Times published an article today titled Across Nation, Mosque Projects Meet Opposition, wherein it discusses the fact that some Americans are rallying against allowing mosques to be built all across the country, not just the proposed one near Ground Zero in New York.

In that article, Mr. Mahmoud Harmoush, an imam (the lead priest of a mosque) and a guest lecturer at California State University, talks about the positive things his group does for the community. His group are living among the community and are involved in that community, having sent food to New Orleans after Katrina, participating in festivals around the area, and donating to food banks.

Now that they are trying to build a 25,000 square foot mosque on a property in Temecula, California they have owned for ten years, there is public outcry against the idea, and Mr. Harmoush notes, “We do all these activities and nobody notices. Now that we have to build our center, everybody jumps to make it an issue.”

He’s right. But I have to ask, if Muslims are doing such great things in their local communities, why don’t we know?

And furthermore, most people don’t know how much of our tax money we spend giving aid to foreign countries, including many predominantly Muslim countries. So if America does such great things around the world, why doesn’t anyone know that?

There are surely several reasons. One I can think of is the media, who would never report something positive if we paid them, because we won’t watch or read positive news, but don’t get me started on all that.

A bigger reason is, most of the time people are embarrassed to shout about the good things they do. Call it humility.

But here’s a potentially shocking fact: Muslims are no different than we are. We all feel that if we do the right thing, good things will come our way, and so we don’t run around talking about how great we are. We even frown toward those who do, as it’s considered bragging or self-involvement.

But that’s not how it works with inflammatory types. They only see what they want to see, and without strong evidence to the contrary, their flawed assumptions become powerful.

Think about this: if every time some radical Muslim leader preached to his group of followers that Americans want to see the destruction of Islam and the murder of every Muslim man, woman, and child, one of his more charismatic followers then later told the others, “Actually, I’ve found Americans to be quite wonderful. Last year, when I was living in Providence, my friends invited me to their home for Thanksgiving, and it was a really wonderful experience.”

That would diffuse the entire argument of the leader for some of them. The more jaded among the followers would still believe that we want them all dead. But it’s a start.

It’s also worthy to ask, what do you think would happen if that charismatic follower stood up during the speech of his leader and made that statement? What happened when people spoke out publicly against Hitler, Hussein, Castro, or any of the others? So no one does it, whether they disagree or not.

And the converse is true as well. If every time someone said that Muslims want to take over Congress so they can institute Shariah law someone else said, “That’s not true. They just want to have a place where they can worship in their own way, protect their children from drugs and gangs and give them a good education, and live a nice, safe life,” then the arguments of the radicals lose their power.

Of course, some people do try to make both those arguments, and they are shouted down as uninformed idiots by the radical masses on both sides.

I’ve been to many places around the world, and I have friends from, in no particular order: America, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, and I’m sure several other countries I’m forgetting (no offense to anyone, or no “offence” for those of you with other English spellings).

One thing I know is that every single person I know, from every single place on the planet, regardless of their age, color, religion, politics, and whatever other demographic we’d like to give them, want exactly the same thing.

We all want to have a safe place to live and prosper, and we want our children to grow up safe and protected, get a good education, and be able to have a good life. We build houses differently, we eat different foods, we worship differently, but those underlying goals are the only things we really want.

So, basically, we are all the same. If you don’t believe me, start asking around, and see who really is Muslim, and ask them what they want from life. Trust me, if you start earnestly asking people, you’ll be surprised what you learn. A few years ago I asked the gas station owner at my corner where he is from. “Pakistan,” he said. An overwhelmingly Muslim country. I asked him his religion, and he said, “Christian.”

He could have been lying, but I doubt it. He is incredibly friendly toward everyone who comes into his store, and it’s far too genuine to be an act. He’s just a happy guy who lives here because he can work hard and provide for his family.

So it seems to me that the thing we all need to do is start massive campaigns to inform the whole world of our true intentions. Muslims can show the world how much they just want peace by promoting it and showing how much they care about their American communities. America can do the same by showing how much we care for and support the people of the Muslim world.

We basically need a promotional group that makes sure everyone knows about the positives the news won’t tell us about. Of course, the last thing we need that group to be is associated with any government or religious group. It needs to be a worldwide volunteer group of, say, Twitter followers who tweet about the good things they see happening among their communities.

Of course, for that to work, we’d actually need to know about our communities, and know that those people over there that just gave clothing to a clothing drive are Muslim. We need more openness and communication.

Communication equals power. In the absence of communication, hatred and ire rule.

Maybe I’ll start that Twitter group. Might be interesting.


Copyright © 2010 Jeremy J. Jones


Advertisements

6 Comments »

  1. Poor Communication Opens Door for Hate…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by World Wide News Flash — August 8, 2010 @ 9:11 am

  2. I cannot disagree with your assessment of the way things are. The world is full of hateful people. You may go ahead with your plans but don’t expect miracles.

    Comment by Dad — August 8, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  3. Once again Jeremy has more to say & think about the important things in life & once again raises very valid points!

    Comment by Catherine Jones — August 8, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  4. @WWNF, thank you. I’ll check you out as well.

    I expect no miracles, honestly. But I do believe that if people talked more about what they love than about what they hate, we’d all get along far better. That said, that’s a tall order.

    I think all day about things like this. Makes me sick to my stomach, most days.

    Comment by Jeremy — August 8, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  5. I am afraid you are right. But remember to focus more on what people do than what they say. I think the Ismamic radicals are beyound saving. I think in their view if you are not Islamic you don’t deserve to liveand they are absolutely dedicated to killing the rest of us.Their view is I think “I have my mind made, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

    Comment by Dad — August 24, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  6. Yes, you’re certainly right about that. I am not worried about changing the minds of the crazy radicals. I am more worried about the people on the fence, on both sides. Those people can go either way, and they are only actively courted by the crazy people. The good ones should spend as much time courting those on the fence as we do feeding their hate with negative news images, and we might just turn this around.

    Not to mention that if enough people see the positives of both sides, it might give them the confidence to stand up to the crazy minority in their midst, and we might just get the world back under control.

    Comment by Jeremy — August 24, 2010 @ 7:33 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: