I have no particular love for Islam as a religion.  I’m not Muslim, I’m a Christian (though I’ve had not a few emails from people insisting that I can’t possibly be one given some of what I’ve written.  Oh. Well.)  I’ve read through the Koran twice in the last ten years (not nearly as frequently as I’ve read through the Bible, since I’ve been doing that once a year since I was 16).  In any case, I don’t really find Islam to be a particularly “beautiful” religion, despite what some will insist.  It strikes me as unusually fatalistic, legalistic and misogynistic and in reading the Koran I felt as if I was mostly being yelled at. Your mileage may vary.

            That said, I find deeply disturbing some of the things I’ve seen posted on Facebook and elsewhere, ranging from insisting that we not allow refugees into our country, to explaining how bad it is that certain members of our government might be Muslim, as well as the regular canard that the current occupant of the White House is Muslim (a very bad one, then, given his drinking of beer and consumption of bacon; as well as how his closest adviser is an unmarried woman and just look at how his wife and daughters dress!)  It really doesn’t matter if the president or others in his administration or government are Muslim or not, any more than it matters if they were Baptist or atheist.  There are no religious tests or requirements to hold office in the U.S.  The Constitution is remarkably clear on that point.

            More importantly: the harsh reality is that more Muslims have suffered at the hands of Islamic extremists than members of all other religious traditions combined.  This is not to lessen my horror at seeing my coreligionists beheaded by barbarians for their faith.  But let us not forget the Jordanian pilot who was placed in a cage and then incinerated.  Also bear in mind all the Muslim countries—Egypt and Jordan are two that pop into my head—who have attacked Islamic extremists and bombed ISIS.  The Kurds seem rather determined to attack ISIS and ISIS seems just as determined to try to kill Kurds—who, last time I checked are mostly rather Muslim.

            While ISIS and the other extremists would like to imagine that “the crusaders” are out to get all Muslims, the reality is something entirely different.  The extremists are mostly busy killing and oppressing Muslims, many of whom have become refugees that have fled to Europe and elsewhere.   The refugees are not our enemy. Islam is not our enemy.  Our enemy are the extremists who kill in the name of the Koran. Let’s not lose sight of who the bad guys really are, and let’s not add to the suffering of those who are fleeing or fighting the real bad guys.

            There are many things we can disagree with many of the Muslim nations, especially on human rights and religious freedom; but let us agree to all fight the true enemies of civilization and not to get distracted.