The Toledo Blade contains the following editorial. Because of its powerful message, most of the text of the editorial is being reprinted here:
MOST Americans, Arab and Muslims among them, have been working on issues of trust and belonging since 9/11. The difficult issue facing them is to ensure security while avoiding the inevitable paranoia that erupts when people of the same religious or ethnic group are charged with certain crimes and the deeds become fodder for suspicion of others in the group.
It's not right, but it happens. Today being Muslim when Islamic terrorists are besetting the world can be as dicey as being a Japanese-American after the Pearl Harbor bombing, or being suspected of the unofficial crime of "driving while black" today.
For example, though details are unknown, the Muslim community in New York was upset after the arrests of a Florida physician and a New York martial arts trainer in a sting operation for alleged collaboration with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorists.
Their uninformed alarm is understandable. The memory of two teenage girls arrested with great fanfare as potential suicide bombers, only to be quietly released after six weeks in detention with nary an explanation, is still fresh.
The FBI, which has by now recruited a network of Muslim informers - they hopefully only report and don't instigate, as plants in the 1960s protest movements were sometimes urged to do - is also working to soothe feelings in the Muslim and Arab communities in New York and elsewhere to make its work more transparent.
Special agents meet with Muslim activists to explain the FBI's work, hear gripes, and get a more nuanced grasp of Muslim-American culture....
It's wrong to paint everyone in a group with the same brush, even though to do so is a typical human first response.
We can get past our differences, but it will take persistence, goodwill, a growing mutual trust and understanding, and time. That's a lot to ask, but doable.
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