Protect thy (Muslim) neighbor

Americans must stand in unity against hate and violence

We were disturbed to hear about the recent arson at a mosque in Tracy, the fourth attack on a California mosque in the month of December. Authorities in the Central Valley city believe the incident may be a hate crime. Same goes for the fire at a Coachella Valley mosque and vandalism at two Los Angeles County facilities.

This wave of Islamophobia comes in the wake of the massacre of 14 people at a San Bernardino regional center on Dec. 2, brutal murders at the hands of an American citizen and his Pakistani wife, both Muslims. And, of course, it’s led to some outrageous rhetoric from Republican candidates for president, especially Donald Trump, who’s advocated for establishing a database tracking Muslims and also a religious test for immigrants that would prohibit Muslims from entering the United States.

What the propaganda machines aren’t acknowledging is that the murderers in San Bernardino are no different than the radicalized Christians who kill employees at abortion clinics in the name of some Bible scriptures they’ve bastardized.

It’s sad that this newspaper feels compelled to write an editorial about the fact that most Muslims aren’t terrorists, but considering the tenor on the national stage, it’s evidently necessary.

The next time someone talks to you about the threat of Muslims, ask them if they’ve heard about the Muslims in Kenya who, just three days before Christmas, saved a bus full of Christians targeted by Al-Shabaab militants. The Muslims on the bus refused to separate themselves from the Christians, forcing the ISIS loyalists to fall back. Two people were killed during the ambush, but it could have been a massacre; a similar attack last year left 28 dead.

It’s time Americans stopped holding an entire religion responsible for the actions of extremists who pervert the tenets of Islam. We must silence the Islamophobic rhetoric nationally and in our communities. We must stand up to those who would firebomb our Muslim neighbors’ mosques. We must stand in unity against hate and violence. Period.