Americans cling to the myth that we will never experience hand-to-hand combat on our own soil. We have had our share of internal conflicts, often involving violence, often based in racial or cultural divides, but foreign troops have not trampled our land in a very long time.
September 11 was a wake-up call, but it is seen as a “bombing,” not a boots-on-the-ground invasion. Many Americans believe that violence is not the answer. Martin Luther King Jr., who understood this, made the nation’s respect for non-violence the cornerstone of the civil rights movement.
Now, in Michigan, where large numbers of Arab-Americans have settled, we witness dangerous acts that potentially threaten the peaceful day-to-day lives of all citizens. The Sunni and Shiite factions in Dearborn in particular, have moved beyond living separately, name-calling, and subtle animosity to overt hatred expressed through random shootings and other threatening acts. Foreign disputes are being imported to a proudly pluralistic America.
This is unacceptable here, as it should be everywhere. It has been tried even here in New England — Protestant vs. Catholic, Irish against Italian, fascist against Jew. Our historic past contains a shameful history of lynching, along with acts against assorted immigrant groups. But our system of justice, even with its flaws, must eventually knuckle under to Uncle Sam’s demand that Americans respect each other’s rights, however difficult that may be for some.
We have sacrificed more than 3000 of our children in Iraq. That war, like the war in Afghanistan, and the conflicts in the Middle East, spring from ancient cultural and religious differences. Seemingly endless wars in those countries — civil and external — are fueled less by economic suffering, government corruption, or the rightful outcry of long-oppressed groups. These bloody slaughters represent a regional intolerance of social and religious differences, and, worse, the acceptance of violence and killing in the name of God.
If violence is unacceptable, then violence justified in the name of God is even more despicable.
In Dearborn, Michigan, and other places where Muslim-Americans have made their homes, America must clarify: NOT IN OUR BACK YARD!
You will not import the terror and violence from your country of origin into our cities, our schools, our businesses, and our homes. You will not fight your endless wars on our soil.
Americans have serious differences with each other — often as deep as your own. We struggle to deal with them without guns, without knives, without killing. Sometimes we fail; the state, then, must step in to punish the offenders. Our history shows that we all CAN get along, if we try.
: This Just In
, Culture and Lifestyle, Religion, Martin Luther King Jr.