An interesting thing happened today. A predominantly Muslim country potentially saved the lives of many Jews. Israelis no less. Yes, you read that correctly. Kosovo police thwarted an attack on Israel’s international soccer team reportedly planned by members of ISIS from Syria. This turn of events, one that causes a collective sigh of relief and for those who believe in a higher power a show of thanks to God up above, also has very relevant and majorly important significance in a country not directly involved. That country being our very own United States of America.
Over the years I’ve been anything but moderate in my approach towards Islamic extremism. I have no problem recognizing the danger of the aggressive and violent approach taken by too many elements in the Muslim world. I have zero tolerance for those who are murderers in the name of a so-called cause and I recognize the vicious hatred and venom towards Israel from much of the leadership in the Muslim world. That being said, I also not only recognize, but believe wholeheartedly that the greatest majority of Muslims, regardless of how they actually feel toward Israel and the west, do not want any part in violence towards anyone and just want to live a peaceful and productive life. In fact, I would go as far as saying that what took place in Kosovo is evidence to that fact.
Since the election of Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States, the status of Muslims in America has been very much in the forefront. I get it. I honestly do. I have often said that although most Muslims are not terrorists, the majority of terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslims. The safety of innocent people is a major responsibility of any government and actions need to be taken to see to it that all that needs to get done does get done. However, an attack on an entire people or religion is not only immoral and reminiscent of tyranny from the past, it’s a bad strategy. The events in Kosovo bare this out. In the name of fairness and objectivity, when you listen carefully to Donald Trump’s words and proposals, he never goes after all Muslims. What he does however is target the problem as being a Muslim problem, which if done correctly and with a degree of tact would possibly have tremendously positive effects, but when done with mere soundbites causes a large percentage of people to see the entire Muslim world as a threat.
I don’t make a habit of defending Muslims. As a Jew and a Zionist I’ve had plenty of justified anger towards many Muslims over my lifetime. However, I also don’t believe in going after one group of people merely because of what they are, and if only from a pragmatic sense, it’s stupid. Setting aside the fact that I personally base who I like and who I call a friend on how they are personally, if the entire Muslim world gets alienated, even if it’s a result of interpretation of Trump’s words as opposed to their actual meaning, the rest of us are indeed not better off or safer as a result. My fellow Jews who think otherwise need look no further than Kosovo, where a police force of a population mostly consistent of Muslims did the right thing and stopped a potential massacre of Israeli soccer players.
There is a middle of the road, and throughout history that middle has always achieved the best results, not an extreme ideology in any one direction. There is indeed safety in numbers, and if there are large numbers of Muslims who want to live in peace, a fact that any reasonable individual knows to be the case, then working with them will get us a lot further than alienating them. The argument that “Trump didn’t say that”, isn’t enough anymore. As President-Elect he has a responsibility to how his followers interpret his words, and if he does not recognize that, even if his intentions are good, the damage caused will result in him failing tragically, for everyone, including those that support him.
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