These days, it is easy to hate Islam and, by extension, to hate Muslims. After all, they have been responsible for notorious terrorist attacks, for swamping white homelands with demanding immigrants and imposing a regime of fear upon most of the world. Unfortunately, reality is a bit more complex than Muslim = bad. It shouldn’t be necessary to list specific acts of kindness or courage done by “Muslims”. Or, more accurately perhaps, good people who happen to call themselves “Muslim”. Despite what it says in the Quran, some Muslims have been known to risk their lives to save non-Muslims from death and persecution.
When it comes to Muslim atrocities, such as the recent fatwa issued against a Seattle cartoonist, evil plans are hatched in my mind to put those Muslims in their place. I am inclined to write pages of the Quran, in beautiful Arabic calligraphy, on pig skin and sell them online (note to Muslim extremists: for a million dollars, I might reconsider and refrain from carrying out this plan). But then I think of all the decent Muslims, the ones who would stand up for what is good and right when push comes to shove, and I consider how my actions might radicalize them and convince them that “those infidels really are a bunch of bastards after all.” I wonder if there is a way to insult only the bad Muslims without inflaming the good ones.
Then, in moments of introspection, I remember my own attitude when I lived in Israel. At the time I witnessed Arabs being abused by Jews and I knew that, if I ever had the opportunity to save an innocent Arab from a violent Jewish mob, I would do it. Would my attitude have changed if some Arabs had gotten together and burned a Torah scroll? Not at all; I would have recognized that the actions of a few do not represent the attitudes of them all. Furthermore, I would have understood that such demonstrations might simply be protests against Jewish persecution*. Not necessarily hatred for all Jews. This is a distinction that must be made.
But there are some questions that need to be asked:
If it was one of the Torah scroll burners whom I had the opportunity to save, would I still save him?
If a Muslim were considering saving me from a violent Muslim mob and he knew that I was the one who wrote the Quran on pig skin, would he still save me?
Furthermore, would an impartial jury condemn the Muslim for not saving me?
I do not have the answers to any of these questions.
*My opinion on persecution in Israel has always been that it is a two-way street. Arabs persecute Jews and Jews persecute Arabs, each using the tools at their disposal.