We can dance if we want to

If you draw a line from the nearest mosque to the nearest synagogue, you’ll pass by my house. The amount of discomfort in the neighborhood is essentially zero:

I have known not that many Muslims in my life, but the ones I have known … just ordinary folks, just trying to get through life like the rest of us. All groups of people have individuals who do wrong or have bad motivations in them but in all groups most of the people are … okay. Not saints, not terrible people, just people trying to get through life who love their kids and worry about their jobs and laugh at dumb stuff and all of that. The people I think I knew best ran a restaurant … I remember my father once asking the father if it was okay to wish them a Merry Christmas — because without thinking, he just had — and the man kind of shrugged and said “We accept all good wishes as good” which is like an echo to me of “the prayers of all good people are good” from My Antonia — though there the “anti” sentiment was, I guess, anti-Catholic, as Mr. Burden was “accepting” the prayers of an Eastern European family…

It has been argued that one should always discount any pleasantries from Muslims, for reasons of taqiya, which has apparently grown over the years from “Conceal your religion, lest you be persecuted” to “Conceal your intentions, lest you tip off the non-believing infidel scum.” But the funny thing about your mass murderers: their chief weapon is surprise, be they Islamic or Episcopalian, and nobody ever suspected a thing. So I don’t feel compelled to keep an eye on the folks who run the Pakistani restaurant up the street: they’ve made the place into a going concern, something it wasn’t as a Mexican or Italian eatery, and I suspect it’s a little more difficult to become radicalized if you’re working that hard. Of course, I could be wrong, but so could all of us.

1 comment »

  1. McGehee »

    16 March 2019 · 12:42 pm

    Most people do seem to think bad guys have to be obvious somehow, and when they discover that not all outlaws wear black hats they adjust their obviousness meter to take in a wider range. Pegging all people of a race other than one’s own as evil, is only one step removed from “I have to destroy the universe to save it from people who are more evil than me, which is all of them.”

    I can interact with people without needing to feel I can trust them with my soul, so I give myself time to size them up — and of course since I can never know everything about them, all new information results in reassessment. I know there are people who want to never have to learn or think about anything once they’ve come to a conclusion about it, but those people mystify me.

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