Kadner: Real threat to America is from those who hate
PHIL KADNER firstname.lastname@example.org | (708) 633-6787 August 18, 2012 1:44AM
Updated: September 20, 2012 10:09AM
People find all sorts of reasons to hate.
Fear is usually at the heart of it, but they don’t always say so. There’s also an enjoyment factor folks rarely talk about.
People really love to hate. And they can usually find lots of people; family, friends, even political leaders, who will encourage them.
As for the people who say it’s ignorant, foolish and just plain bad to hate, well, they’re just idiots.
My loathing or resentment, the haters will always tell you, is based on personal experience, logic, even hundreds of years of history.
There recently have been a number of attacks that appear to be aimed at Muslims.
A monument on a grave in an Evergreen Park cemetery was desecrated with graffiti last week.
That may have been the act of someone who hated the individual who had died, the family of the person, or Muslims in general.
As I write, no one knows for sure.
But it is one in a series of recent incidents that is worrisome to the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
A high-powered pellet gun was fired at a Morton Grove mosque recently, and someone allegedly threw an “acid bomb” at a Muslim school in Lombard last Sunday.
To many people, those incidents probably don’t sound all that bad, since no one was injured.
But there has been speculation that a white supremacist who murdered six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin may have been targeting Muslims, although some believe he didn’t much care whom he was killing so long as they were non-white.
And as all of this is taking place, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a Republican from the northwest suburbs, is making speeches designed to fire up the worst fears of his constituents.
“There is a radical strain of Islam in this country — it’s not just over there — trying to kill Americans every week,” Congressman Walsh told a town hall gathering in his district.
“It’s here. It’s in Elk Grove. It’s in Elgin. It’s in Addison. It’s here,” Walsh said.
I didn’t react to Walsh’s remarks initially, and that may have been a mistake.
The congressman is known for his over-the-top rhetoric and putting his foot in his mouth.
There now are critics who claim Walsh’s statements, directly or indirectly, are responsible for some of the recent anti-Muslim incidents.
I won’t go that far because there is no evidence of that, although Walsh never seems to need evidence to point the finger of blame.
When a U.S. congressman stirs up hatred and fear, when he tells people to suspect their neighbors of terrorism, he deserves to be harshly rebuked by everyone who realizes the real danger.
And the real danger comes from within.
After 9/11, at the height of anti-Muslim fervor, this newspaper denounced attacks on Muslims in the Southland and throughout the country.
Appeals to the bigotry of the masses often result in a short-term political benefit.
However, such statements have nothing to do with patriotism. In fact, those who encourage religious intolerance betray the very principles on which this country is founded.
Such speech and such acts are in fact anti-American.
What’s important, I believe, is to send a clear message to Muslims in this country who feel they are under suspicion and under attack.
Acts of violence against them and their religious symbols are unacceptable.
So are statements by our elected officials that stir up anti-Muslim sentiments.
No matter who desecrated the grave in Evergreen Park and no matter the reason, it is wrong.
Even if one misguided person fired a pellet gun at a mosque, it is wrong.
And Joe Walsh is wrong.
While he says he meant no offense to the vast majority of Muslims who are peace-loving people, Walsh then issues a statement that he’s not going to ignore the real threat posed by radical Muslims for the sake of political correctness.
I’m not asking him to overlook a real threat.
I’m confident the Department of Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, Justice Department, Defense Department and law enforcement agencies across the country are focusing very hard on the real threat.
What Walsh is doing is casting a cloud of suspicion over every Muslim, irregardless of the threat.
Unless he can tell us how to identify a radical Muslim from a peace-loving Muslim, he must bear some responsibility for people who believe they’re doing the right thing by attacking any Muslim.
On second thought, I don’t even want Walsh to tell me how he would go about separating the good Muslims from the bad.
Americans must be ever vigilant to protect the liberties that make this country special.
The threat comes from within, all right. The haters never rest.