Lately I’ve been consistently reading opinions about a “War on Christianity” and I have to say the idea that Christianity is being targeted in order to advance Islam is a completely groundless concept.
In order to metaphorically “stick it” to Muslims, anti-Islam rallies are popping up all over the Southwest, first in Texas, and now in Arizona. After the shooting in Texas by known terrorists, organizers in Arizona decided to have another “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest last weekend in order to bait Muslims to react violently. The goal may be advertised to advance free speech, but really we know that the goal is to goad violence from Muslims in order to fuel anti-Muslim sentiments and stereotypes that Islam is a religion of unadulterated violence.
To understand what’s really going on in the U.S. let’s look at the amount of hate-crime violence that Muslims face in the United States every year compared to Christians. The FBI reports in 2013 there were 1,223 victims of anti-religious crimes, and of those victims, about 60 percent were Jewish, 14 percent Muslim, 6 percent Catholic and 4 percent Protestant. So, by the FBI standards nearly 75% of all religious-based crime in our nation had Jewish and Muslim victims.
Now imagine if Muslims in the U.S. had a rally specifically to patronize and mock Jesus Christ. Christians would be outraged. In fact anytime Muslims seem to rally to promote Islamic tolerance Christian groups seem upset.
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For example, there was the large Christian gathering that interrupted and heckled Muslims during the Muslim Capitol Day in Texas in January. Then the next month a similar event happened during a Muslim rally in Oklahoma when a young Muslim girl tried to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Finally let’s not forget the now infamous controversy, protest and outright disdain over a proposed Islamic Community Center being built in New York City two blocks away from the World Trade Center site.
This is where the root of the problem lies. There are people in this nation who after 9/11 believe that Muslims cannot be American and therefore aren’t entitled to American rights. They think acts of foreign and domestic terrorists should define a whole race of people, and Muslims are de facto subordinate to Christians.
Our nation is one of tolerance, especially religious tolerance, and the way we’ve been treating Muslim-Americans since 9/11 has been disgusting. A 10-second Google search could cite a dozen articles of bigotry and outright violence against Muslim-Americans and pro-Islamic organizations within the past year.
I deployed to Iraq in 2008, and in my company there were two Muslim-American soldiers. I wonder sometimes how they feel when they see these acts of blatant prejudice against fellow Muslims. There is no “War on Christianity” by Muslims here in the United States, so let’s stand together to stop this propaganda from further disenfranchising American citizens, some of whom have fought and died for this country.
Nick Connery, 28, is an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and serves in the Missouri Army National Guard. He lives in Jefferson City.