Treat Thy Neighbor With…? Respect?

On May 2, 2011, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special forces in an early morning raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Yet, his organization (along with affiliate ISIS) lives on, terrorizing the world we live in. It’s not only the Western world being terrorized, in 2014 ISIS invaded areas of Iraq and Syria, demanding allegiance of all Muslims worldwide on pain of death. And, they mean that literally.

So, what does this mean for us? And, who are we? I guess if you’re a Muslim, and living in the Western world wearing traditional dress, it means that the prejudiced lot stare at you, ostracize you, treat you as though you’re a terrorist even though you aren’t one. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a woman whose husband is arrested and his business shut down, all his inventory confiscated, your family’s livelihood gone, because someone reported “suspicious activity” to the police? Hmmmm…. Where do I stand on that?

On the one side, do I want all suspicious activity investigated? Oh, hell yeah. On the other hand, do I want some subset of our population targeted just because they look different? No way…. If we do that, then bin Laden wins. No way do I want him to even get ahead, let alone win.

And if this woman packs up her family out of sheer disgust and moves back to the middle east, can you imagine what she would say to her children, her neighbors, her family about us? I don’t want that kind of reputation. I don’t want us shooting ourselves in the foot. I don’t want us furthering the Al Qaeda agenda, do you?

So, I’m thinking maybe we should go back to that old adage, love thy neighbor as thyself. Maybe try to get to know some of these people who look a little different. Maybe do a little neighborly gesture instead of treating them like lepers. Who knows, it might work. It might not. It’s worth a shot though, right?

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