Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels, politicians and civilians alike were quick to up their anti-Muslim rhetoric.
We see these attacks happen far too often nowadays, and it’s sad that fear has creeped its way into nearly every part of our lives, but we must not allow this fear to influence our actions and policy in a way that strips away at our values and hurts our way of life.
On the day of the attacks, presidential candidate Ted Cruz gave a statement in which he said, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
Aside from the very low likelihood that such a plan would be effective or solve any issues, he is once again condemning an entire religious group to be mistreated because of the horrible actions of a small part of that group. America is home to nearly three million Muslims, the majority of whom are normal people just like us.
It is simply wrong to infringe upon the liberties and freedoms of a very large group of people just because they share the same religion as a much smaller, evil group of people.
We have to remember that the real enemy that we are facing is ISIS, not all Muslims. Allowing ourselves to overreact to tragic events like the attack in Brussels will do more harm than good, and we cannot afford to persecute peaceful people who are on our side.
On top of being dangerous, Cruz’s statement is also rather hypocritical given his position as a religious candidate who is against the government getting involved with religion. He seems to be taking a stance: religious freedom is essential unless the religion is different from his own.
The harsh reality is that violence has no religion and targeting a specific group as being dangerous makes no sense. According to the New York Times, in America you are seven times more likely to be killed by a right wing extremist than an Islamic extremist, whether that is at a church in South Carolina or a Planned Parenthood clinic.
It is easy to be scared of what is different or unfamiliar, and it is easy to buy into the rhetoric that people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are using far too often.
But we cannot let that fear get the best of us and discriminate against millions of people who are fighting the same fight, who share the same enemy, as the rest of us.