The Muslim haters who read this blog are fond of making sweeping generalizations like: “Why are Muslims so violent? Why do you always hear of Muslims attacking other religions when you never hear of anyone attacking a mosque?” In fact, I got into this argument with my own brother who thought it ironic that Muslims attacked churches in Palestine in order to protest the Pope’s statement that Islam countenances violence as a means to spread the faith. While this argument seems superficially to hit the mark–it really doesn’t. The only violence regarding the Pope’s speech happened as I said in Palestine, which is currently beset with extraordinary levels of poverty, malnutrition, lawlessness, and political instability. The chaos running rampant in Palestinian society had as much to do with the violence as anything the Pope actually said.
Getting back to the question the Islamophobes raise which I quoted above. The AP runs a story tonight reporting that a Melbourne, FL. mosque was sprayed with gunfire during Ramadan services:
Shots were fired at a mosque in Melbourne, Florida as worshipers celebrated the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but no injuries or arrests were reported, authorities said Saturday.
A member of the Islamic Society of Brevard County stepped outside of the mosque Friday night to use his cell phone when he heard several gunshots, the Melbourne police department said.
The member, who was not immediately identified, took cover behind a wall as several rounds struck the building’s south side, police said. He then ran inside and told mosque members, who called police…
Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that while no motive had been determined by police, the shooting fit a pattern of incidents at mosques this year.
Those include leaving a bullet-riddled Quran outside of a mosque in Chattanooga, Tennessee, vandalism at an Indiana mosque and other incidents against mosques in Maine, Arizona and Maryland.
“Worshippers of the mosque would obviously be disturbed if (religion) was the motive for the attack,” Hooper said Saturday.
The council planned a Saturday news conference to ask authorities to classify the shooting as a hate crime.
Given that the police have released little information about the incident, we should be careful in what conclusions we draw about the perpetrators and their motives. But if this is a hate crime, it indicates what I always say in responding to the ignorance I sometimes read here in my comments threads: Muslims have no monopoly on religious hatred. There is plenty of ignorance and rage among all the major religions of the world including my own, Judaism. Before we make gross generalizations about Islam and Muslims, we should examine out own hearts and those of our co-religionists to find, and root out the darkness that resides in us all.
I hope the police find the culprit/s and if warranted, charge them with a hate crime.