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Bagged Spinach and Islam

After watching the news that the bad spinach epidemic has now spread to several states, I turned to my wife and said, "See. That's why I don't eat salads."

That is not entirely true. I don't eat salads not because I'm afraid of E. coli (which I am), but rather because I don't think that cold leafy food tastes that good. Even with dressing. I'm just not a big fan of things that have the texture of yard work.

Of course, some people are freaking out, trying to remember when they last ate spinach from a bag, wondering if they'll spend a few violent nights in their bathrooms, or even the hospital. Some may have even sworn off spinach altogether. I actually like spinach. It's great when mixed with some artichokes and cheese and served piping hot in an oval bowl with some tortilla chips. I'm not boycotting the vegetable entirely. I'm just patiently waiting for it to make its comeback. I don't judge all spinach based on the misguided actions of a few who wanted to hurt people.

I hope you see where I'm going with this.

I was thinking last night about my Muslim friends here in America, and how they're nothing like those who hijack planes in the name of their faith. I wonder how they feel about the Pope's recent comments, and how they feel about their fellow followers who want to react violently.

I was thinking about all the great things I've learned from these friends of mine who believe a little differently than I do. I think about the good things, like modestly, respect for family, and hospitality that they embody so well.

Because they have been such a positive influence on me, I bristle when their faith is slandered in news outlets and on blogs with an agenda, by those capitalize on fear and hate.

When you name something, you exert power over it. And so, many have branded a faith they know very little about in an attempt to own it and never get to know it. It's like they've bagged and labeled all Muslims based on what they think they know of just a few of them. And they've put it on a supermarket shelf, inviting all their racist friends to walk down the aisle of hate, pointing fingers and calling names.

Ignoring history, knowledge and common sense, some have forever relegated a very big topic to forever reside in stereotype in their small minds. Many don't even know a Muslim, which of course makes it easier to call names and pick cyber-fights. By responding with hateful keystrokes, the possibility of dialogue and love is squashed and destroyed, and culpability clearly rests in their hands for such a closeminded look at the big, diverse world we call home.

The course of action is one of micro-involvement. If you think Muslims hate America, get to know one. If you think those who call Islam home are mean and violent, read their Koran or attend one of their mosques. Don't use the exception to justify your rule.

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