Faith and the ge­nie of hate

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FROM THE FRONT PAGE/NEWS - By Ab­dul­Ma­lik Negedu “Who­ever takes a life — un­less as a pun­ish­ment for mur­der or mis­chief in the land — it will be as if they killed all of hu­man­ity; and who­ever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of hu­man­ity.” Qur’an 5:32 Ab­dul­Ma­lik Negedu i

A man tar­gets a tire shop in Salt Lake City on Nov. 27 with cer­tainty about his in­ten­tions: “I’m here to kill a Mex­i­can,” he said, ac­cord­ing to po­lice re­ports, and then pro­ceeded to beat the shop owner and his son bru­tally.

This in­ci­dent un­der­scores the sober­ing fact that hate con­tin­ues to be the ge­nie of one of the scourges of our time — that is, prej­u­dice-mo­ti­vated theft, rob­bery, as­sault, mur­der and other crim­i­nal acts com­mit­ted against a per­son, prop­erty, or so­ci­ety be­cause of the of­fender’s bias against the vic­tims’ so­cial group such as race and re­li­gion. The in­ci­dent oc­curred only two weeks af­ter a re­port re­leased by the FBI on re­ported hate crime in­ci­dents in the United States.

Un­for­tu­nately, the hate ge­nie con­tin­ues to grow. In the re­port, the num­ber of hate crime in­ci­dents re­ported in the United States is on the rise. More than

7,000 hate crime in­ci­dents were re­ported in 2017, com­pared to about 6,100 in 2016 — a 17 per­cent in­crease. Most of these crimes are fu­eled by ha­tred against im­mi­grants, African Amer­i­cans and Jews. About 60 per­cent of the crimes were com­mit­ted be­cause of race, eth­nic­ity and an­ces­try bias and over 20 per­cent be­cause of re­li­gious bias.

Data from the Na­tional Crime Vic­tim­iza­tion Sur­vey from 2012 to 2016 shows that more more than 20 per­cent of sus­pected hate crimes vic­tim­ized Lati­nos. His­tor­i­cal FBI data show that African-Amer­i­cans gen­er­ally con­sti­tute about 35 per­cent of hate crime vic­tims. A break­down of hate crimes in­volv­ing re­li­gious bias by the Jewish Vir­tual Li­brary shows that 60 per­cent of re­li­gious hate crimes were anti-Jewish, 17 per­cent were anti-Is­lamic and 5 per­cent were an­tiCatholic.

Anti-semitic hate crimes in­creased 37 per­cent ac­cord­ing to the Vir­tual Li­brary’s break­down. Omar Rachid of the Vic­to­ria Is­lamic Cen­ter in Texas said that “Mus­lims in Amer­ica have been sub­jected to more in­sults, at­tacks and hate crimes in the last two or three years than ever be­fore, specif­i­cally more than af­ter 9-11.”

Cur­rent news re­ports af­firm the con­tin­u­ing growth of the hate ge­nie. In­ci­dents of anti-semitism at a Con­necti­cut high school was been re­ported in the news at about the same time as a shoot­ing at a church in Mon­roe, La., a few weeks ago. Just last week, New York City po­lice re­ported a hate crime in­ci­dent at a Brook­lyn church in which some­one uri­nated on two stat­ues be­fore smash­ing them. Two men made ob­scene ges­tures at a fam­ily who were driv­ing on I-85 in Ge­or­gia and swerved into the lane in which they were driv­ing be­cause the mother was wear­ing a hi­jab — the Mus­lim head scarf. They were forced to brake abruptly, and it was only by di­vine prov­i­dence that there was nei­ther a crash nor loss of life. These in­ci­dents oc­curred on the heels of the shoot­ing at the Tree of Life syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh on Oct. 27 in which eleven lives were lost.

Un­for­tu­nately, there would be more in­ci­dents and loss of lives if the hate ge­nie con­tin­ues to grow un­abated. It is im­per­a­tive that, re­gard­less of tra­di­tion, peo­ple of faith stand to­gether with the de­ter­mi­na­tion to end the ha­tred that af­fects all of us. We need to con­tinue tak­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive so­cial ac­tion to proac­tively counter hate with love at all lev­els of so­ci­ety and in­hibit the growth of the ge­nie. The im­por­tance of demon­strat­ing all the man­i­fes­ta­tion of love (com­pas­sion, mercy, char­ity and peace) in re­la­tion­ship with oth­ers is fun­da­men­tal to the ethos of the Abra­hamic faiths.

In one of his teach­ings, a de­scen­dant of Abra­ham, Prophet Muham­mad (peace be upon him) said: “The ex­am­ple of the per­son abid­ing by God’s or­der and re­stric­tions in com­par­i­son to those who vi­o­late them is like the ex­am­ple of those per­sons who drew lots for their seats in a gal­ley (wooden ship). Some of them got seats in the up­per deck, and the oth­ers in the lower deck. When the peo­ple in the lower deck needed fresh wa­ter to drink, they had to go up to bring wa­ter (and that trou­bled the up­per deck pas­sen­gers), so the peo­ple in the lower deck said, ‘Let us make a hole in the bilge

(the low­est part of the ship within the hull) and get wa­ter so that we do not trou­ble the up­per deck pas­sen­gers.’ If the peo­ple in the up­per deck left the lower deck pas­sen­gers to do what they had sug­gested; then all the peo­ple on the ship would be de­stroyed, but if they pre­vent them, then both par­ties would be safe.”

The Rev. (Dr.) Martin Luther King Jr. cap­tured the essence of this prophetic teach­ing when he said that: “The world is not di­vided be­tween black and white or Chris­tian and Mus­lim, but be­tween those who would live to­gether as broth­ers (and sis­ters) and those who would per­ish as fools.”

Ab­dul­Ma­lik Negedu

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