I am proud to say that I am a Christian and I will not and cannot apologize for that! For several years after 9/11, I was “randomly” pulled aside at airports in the United States whenever I was travelling internationally – embarking and disembarking. I was searched and frisked, even my wallet and all documents on me were thoroughly examined; they even counted my money. I would like to state unequivocally and very categorically that I am not a terrorist nor do I ever want to be one! This “profiling” went on for years, until I finally wrote a complaint letter to the Department of Homeland Security asking for an explanation. They responded, indicating that they could not tell me why I was being “randomized” (my word, not theirs).
I suspect that they were “profiling” me because I have an unusual name and I was doing a lot of international traveling with more than a fist full of dollars (under $10,000). How did they know this? Folks, they know everything! Well, almost. Who is to say that the time they spent watching me could not have been spent apprehending and stopping some real criminals/terrorists.
Now, to the topic at hand. With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, and San Bernardino, there are some who are calling for the restriction or banning of Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. How fair is that? I spent 18 months of my life in a predominantly Muslim Country (Senegal), I have family in Ghana, where Christians and Muslims live peacefully side by side. When I visit Ghana, it always amazes me when I hear gospel music and preaching being blasted from church loud speakers one minute and the Muslim clerics call to prayer the next. It is indeed a unique phenomenon which one has to experience to understand. I mean it when I say that some of my best friends are Muslims, and they are good people.
Next week, on December 14, 2015, MCCC will host a panel discussion on Terrorism and Democracy as part of our Current Affairs and Diversity Series. I encourage all of you to attend this event in our cafeteria from noon to 1:00 p.m. Needless to say, there will be some strong opinions about the relationship between Islam and terrorism. I encourage you to come, pose questions, and express your opinions. Meanwhile, please ponder the following:
- Dearborn Michigan (less than 35 miles from Monroe) has the largest number of Muslims in the United States; how many terrorist activities have occurred there?
- How many Muslims do you know? Do you have any Muslim friends?
- Do you understand the tenets of Islam?
- Do you believe Islam is synonymous with terrorism?
- Do you believe Muslims serve the same God as Christians?
- Is a Muslim more likely than a Christian or another religion, to be a terrorist?
- Should a Muslim be allowed to become President of the United States?
These are some of my thoughts, shaped by my background, my personal experiences and what I glean from the media. Just ponder all of that for a minute or two….