people, including "expert" analysts seem to possess a really clear and accurate understanding oranalysis of the Muslim world or it is tainted with biases and agendas.Americans have been largely prevented from or uninterested in seeing the horror that is life forMuslims living in refugee camps or as victims of mass slaughter and blocked from hearing and seeingthe lives and stories of those who have lived through or seen the disease, torture and mutilation of theirbrethren because advertisers don't want their company's ads next to such pictures, among otherreasons. They have been largely denied hearing the personal accounts of what it is like to be maimedor have loved one killed by American arms or chemicals since that would be unpatriotic, but certainlyshown many images of the horror of others' pain and sorrow and the details thereof. Of course, thereare exceptions to this and major news organizations and communications technology have brought alot of things to the attention of the world that have helped to bring about more awareness and changeattitudes for the better, but it obviously has not been enough, and is in danger of all being forgotten inthe heat and rhetoric of war.The West, and particularly Americans, more easily get the graphic details of crimes both actually andallegedly committed by Muslims. Rarely do they hear of the many acts of charity, courage, enterpriseetc. that are a daily occurrence among Muslims and even part of their principles, so they don't believeit even exists or they are so surprised when they find out they do. This in combination with Muslimsspontaneous - but perhaps misdirected - expressions of joy at others pain are repeatedly televised whilethe thousands of others who see it as an inappropriate display and who relate to the pain of theslaughter, are not.While certain cultures are often portrayed as noble, dignified, or progressive, Muslims have beenthoroughly demonized and Islamic culture has long been portrayed as an ancient, irrelevant, passé andeven repressive civilization that only deserves a shelf on in the Eastern Philosophies section of thebookstore or library. At least that may be changing now since bookstores cannot keep enough booksabout Islam, Muslims or even translations of the Qur'aan (Koran) on their shelves. How many morenegative portrayals or images can I recall? Plenty...but you get the point.Arabs or Muslims are by no means alone in being negatively portrayed as void of worthwhile humanvalues. Racial stereotyping has a long and sordid history in America that no one can deny. Regardlessof how many Americans personally find it repugnant, the influence of these images neverthelesspersists. How long were American Indians portrayed as howling savages, African Americans asunintelligent, criminal and violent, Chinese-Americans as sniveling thieves, Italian-Americans asgangsters, Hispanic-Americans as slow and lazy, Irish-Americans as drunkards, Japanese-Americansas... you name it? Many groups or ethnicities have been targeted and widely accepted to be asstereotyped and some still haven't totally gotten beyond that negative historical portrayal, althoughthings have gotten better, with the exception of
No doubt the images and sounds of Sept. 11 and since have left a bigger impact than all of that puttogether as far as Arabs or Muslims are concerned. The cumulative impact of it all has had terribleresults. The worst images have been forever solidly cemented in the minds of millions. Should it thenbe any surprise as to why hostile reactions are directed at Muslims, Arabs, Eastern looking people orthe idea persists that Islam has something inherent in its ideology that leads to mayhem? I once heard aradio interviewer allude to this in a question to a Muslim. I was hoping the Muslim would respond,"Your inference and question are misdirected at the outset. For example, would you not find itoffensive for me to ask 'What is it as a white person that makes you inherently racist, or as a Jew thatmakes you inherently oppressive, or as a Black person inherently criminal, or as a Christian inherentlyviolent?! We all know what the reaction to that would be!
On the other side of the coin, there was and is no dearth of comments from us like, "...they are alldisbelievers and they just want to take us out of our religion", "They all hate us", "Their women canneither cook or take care of a house but they are easy to give themselves to any man", "They are a