Putting the refugee/terror issue in perspective

Here are the facts, in a short Foreign Policy article: Refugees from the Mideast are no

praying

Friday prayers on my Cairo street

more likely than the rest of the population to engage in terrorism, and many of the refugees are themselves fleeing ISIS atrocities.

This applies to other areas, not just Europe. It’s about the reach and scope of Islamophobia. That term itself is partly erroneous–it means “fear of Islam.” Certainly there’s a fear element, but there are larger hate and ignorance elements.

As one who lived under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I can say with confidence that most Muslims there are peaceful and friendly–and until the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president, the movement there was largely nonviolent. Even now, calling the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, as the regime does  to justify its jailing of thousands of members, is a stretch. Its incompetent one-year rule turned most of the Egyptian people against the Brotherhood–though not against Islam, emphasizing once again that the two are not the same thing.

We here in the Middle East should be leading the way toward a more nuanced understanding of the Muslim threat, countering the perception that all Muslims fit into a single category, and that category is terrorist. But because of the wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, all carried out by Muslims, it’s asking a lot of Israelis to pick up that banner now.

Let’s hope saner times lie ahead, for everyone’s sake.

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