Tuesday, December 08, 2015

December 8, 2015--Muslim Rapture

I have been wondering why so many people are reporting that the massacre in San Bernardino is making them feel more fearful than the events of 9/11.

The nearly 3,000 deaths by terrorists dwarfs the 14 murdered last week. And yet many are saying they are now more frightened than at that time.

I have been informally questioning people I know about this. Mainly well educated, independent-minded, intrepid people who have made their way successfully through life. Some have lived adventurously and, for the most part, the ones I have been surveying are among the politically most progressive people I know.

They tell me that it is not about the numbers. Obviously "only" 14 deaths pale by comparison to the carnage in 2001. What is emotionally occurring this time for them is the difference between the externally-driven attack on September 11th and the fact that in San Bernardino the assault was conceived and carried out by seemingly assimilated Americans.

The husband at least. And his wife, though born in Pakistan, is described as a typical suburban spouse and mother, not apparently alienated by life in the United States. Though she may turn out to be a version of the Manchurian Candidate, she and he felt to neighbors, family, and friends just like the rest of us.

So to be attacked by them brings the terrorist threat home. Makes it, if you will, homemade. Perversely almost mater of fact. Not too, too much planning or preparation was required.

And it occurred right in the neighborhood. Just down the block. Around the corner. As so to those I surveyed, this feels very different than the attack perpetrated by Al Qaeda operatives who trained for and planned an enormously complicated plot against America that culminated on that horrific day in 2001.

So the nature of this most recent assault means everyone is a threat.

Well, I have been hearing, not everyone. Not everyone is a threat.

I have been hearing that the fear and threats are not from all of our neighbors but from Muslims.

And, again, I am not being told this by supporters of Donald TRUMP who is calling for racial profiling and now forbidding all Muslims from entering the country until "we find out what the hell is going on."

 These, once more, are liberals. Otherwise tolerant people. People who pride themselves on enjoying the diversity that is America. This is from those who have spent a lifetime defending and embracing our various forms of difference.

These formerly tolerant people are even going further than TRUMP, saying that if all Muslims could suddenly and painlessly disappear, they would welcome that.

One who shared this opinion called it a Muslim Rapture--that all Muslims in the world, the billion-plus of them--would be taken right up to heaven and those of us Left Behind could go on with our lives.

After hearing this, I asked others about this and quite a few said it sounded to them like a good idea. Everyone would get what they want--Muslims an early departure to heaven while the rest of us could live on in peace.

Everyone who shared this views, of course, realized and acknowledged it is an unrealistic fantasy. But it is an expression of their fears and perceptions that they are not seeing a clear path to a solution to the problem radical Islam represents.

Most were quick to add, as if to mitigate these views, that though it embarrassed them to feel this way, they also deplore the excesses of all religions, the fanatical fringes. Especially messianic ones like millennialist Jews who are waiting for the Messiah to appear and radical Christians such as the Adventists who are eagerly looking forward to the Apocalypse. All anticipating End Times.

One even had a joke--

"What's the difference," he asked me, unsmiling, "between radical and moderate Muslims?"

Also not smiling, knowing where this might be heading, I said I didn't know.

"The radical Muslims want to kill us. The moderates want the radical Muslims to do the killing."

I groaned.

But then turning the tables on me, I was asked what I thought about the Muslim Rapture. Stammering, I said, "Please don't quote me as I won't quote you, but I am ashamed to admit--of course it's a fantasy and not a reality--but . . ."

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