The Muslim Across the Street is NOT My Enemy

I disagree with those who are saying that the recent deadly attack on the American Embassy in Libya was the result of protests gone awry. There is no question that some radical militants have seized the opportunity afforded them by the anti-Islamic YouTube so-called movie “Innocence of Muslims,” but to say that this was the reason for the attack is a bit of a stretch.

Some Americans still need to wake up to one simple reality: there is, after all, good and evil in this world. Now I am not saying that we are good and everyone else is evil. That would be ethnocentric and arrogant. But to recognize that there is evil is like saying that the sun is hot. Let me say it then as clearly as I can: every day there are people who wake up in some dark corners of this earth and go about one and only one activity — devising ways they can inflict the most extensive damage and cause the greatest possible pain against the United States of America and what this country stands for.

Actually, I should revise that statement: there are people who do that 24-7. They have taken a secret vow to bring destruction not only to a country but to an entire civilization.

Now I don’t think anyone knows how many people like that are out there. And no one can say what they look like or when they are about to strike. We can’t even say which religion they belong to. They may not belong to any religion, even if they claim they do.


This is not to say that we don’t know what the biggest threat to Christianity and Western Civilization is — a radical strand of Islam which is uncompromisingly violent and unashamedly zealot for the destruction of Israel and the church.

Just one simple fact will suffice: it is undeniable that today whenever a Muslim fundamentalist group ascends to power Christians starting running for their lives. Their churches are burned, their families are decimated. Persecution against Christians and other religious minorities is still a fact of life in about 60 countries around the world, the vast majority being those dominated by a radical Islamic ideology.

Muslims who disagree with this form of Islam are embarrassed. The media is usually cornered into silence for fear of violent retaliation. Muslims in the West who would protest fear for the lives of their loved ones still living in those countries. Blasphemy laws are still prevalent in so many Muslim countries and Christians can be put on trial and get stiff sentences, including death, for any perceived violation of such laws, however small the “offense” might be.

Some brave miniscule weeklies dare to publish cartoons containing images of Muhammad that   are considered offensive by some in Islam (by the way, some of those pictures are offensive). Though I don’t agree with vacuous provocations, I do think that if no one dares challenge this violent strand of Islam in the media, we will eventually find the muzzle nearer out mouths than we wish.

Religious people in the U.S. are by now used to having precious symbols of their faiths vilified and trampled upon. Whether it is an “artist” who depicts the Virgin Mary with human feces or a movie about a Jesus Christ who was having an affair with Mary Magdalene, we have grown accustomed to this kind of abuse. We get outraged by this and stage a few anemic protests and meaningless boycotts, but in the end we go home and sleep quietly in our own beds, sad for the insult, but glad that the world didn’t go up in flames and neighbors who disagree can still say “good morning” when the day is new.

You may not like the system and it certainly is brutal at times for those who chose to believe (and it is brutal as well for those who chose NOT to believe). But in the end, I would rather contend with those who sit behind cameras and keyboards than with those who would make bombs.

I don’t know about you, but I personally yearn for the day when evil will be no more. Meanwhile, I ask God to give me the ability to understand that the person across the street, though from a different country and a different faith, is not my enemy by default.

I still have bridges to cross. Thanks for leaving them standing.

Ivanildo C. Trindade

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Words of Jesus).