Fox News says they got it wrong. They apologized this week to millions of viewers here and across the globe for inaccurate, prejudicial statements either they or their guests made in the wake of terrorist attacks in Eastern Europe. They reported that there were ‘no-go-zones’ in Europe where ‘Islamic law supersedes local law’ and they said ‘Birmingham, England is a totally Muslim city where non-Muslims don’t go…’ Further they stated that the ‘EU poll shows that 69% of Muslims in France support ISIS…’ an inaccurate comment designed to terrify all of Europe. Their reports went on to vilify, exaggerate and yes, insult Muslims and non-Muslims across the globe. But here’s the thing. We all do the same thing. Not on the air but in our homes and jobs and minds. We cast aspersions on those we don’t know, make judgments, quote and re-quote inaccurate information and build the foundation for hatred. And we do it every day.
In Iraq we have ISIS capturing and killing Yazidis, (OK they released 250 of them mostly children and the elderly, thanks for that). But then we ask why. What is it about the Yazidis that would make anyone want to kill them? They are one of Iraq’s smallest minority populations, whose religion is considered a pre-Islamic sect that draws from Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. That sounds innocent enough but according to CNN, they have been persecuted because many Muslims see them as ‘devil worshippers.’ Doesn’t that translate to ‘they’re different’? And so, what if they are? Aren’t we all? How many kinds of Christian churches are there? How many different types of Jewish synagogues are there? How many religions are there? Look in the Yellow pages! Read a book on World Religions!
World-wide there are a multitude of different religions ranging from Islam to Shintoism to Hinduism, Buddhism. Then, there is Shi’ism, Taoism, Baha’i, Cheondoism, Jainism and Tenriism, to name a few religions, most of us haven’t even heard about. We learn every day about this small ethnic or religious minority being persecuted, killed or hated by someone with the power to act on their hatred. Every day people are killed individually or en masse because they are different than their killers; different in their religious beliefs, different in skin color, hair type, language, traditions, race or country of origin. Different in socio-economics, different in sexual orientation, different in their views on abortion, the role and power of their government, the right to die with dignity (euthanasia), the right to bear arms, the right to immigrate into another country on it goes. Every day people are being killed because someone doesn’t like or agree with something about them. And we’re not talk about fringe killers. We’re not talking about the odd serial killer who targets young blonde students or the war ravaged sniper shooting random shoppers in a shopping center. We’re not even talking about Mafia style killers who bully and murder for financial gain or power. No, we’re talking about organized national and international killers who seek to destroy entire nations of people, entire cultures, and entire countries, who seek to superimpose their beliefs on others, who seek to be the one and only recognized authority on truth or perfection or the right way to live.
Hatred and impassioned mass murdering has been a part of the human condition almost from the beginning of time. Obsession for global acquisition drove the Vikings, the Huns, the ‘who-evers’ to gallop across mountain ranges and cross oceans in their quest to destroy and conquer. Fighting to protect your home is one thing; fighting to destroy someone else’s home is another. So I ask, perhaps we all should ask why. Why is it part of the human condition to hate? Why is it so acceptable? Little snide comments you may hear, go unchecked. “Oh, she’s rich, well she’s a Jew,” “There’s that scum bag with the rag on his head,” “He’s gay so you better watch your kids!” “Well, what do you expect he’s … (fill in the blank).”
We make those comments all the time. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We hear them all the time and we never seem to ‘get it’ that these are the building blocks out of which wholesale prejudice grows. Keep it up and there’ll be no one left to till the fields, or milk the cows, or make the clothes, or teach the children, or heal the sick or run the countries. On its most fundamental level it’s up to us. No we can’t change all the militants or terrorists or murderers in the world. But we can start now to create an atmosphere in which hatred and discrimination is unacceptable. We say ‘watch your language’ when a kid swears. We can say the same thing when someone says something hateful. We can begin to transform our own culture from the ground up. Really, there’s no time like the present to start changing the ever-narrowing world we live in.