“Separating Islam From Acts Of Terror”
“Danger In Conflation: Separating Islam From Acts Of Terror.” That’s the headline from an NPR piece tonight in which the host interviews Omid Safi, a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (fuller bio here) about reactions to the Boston Marathon bombings and accused bombers, and their apparent identification with Islam.
It is worth a listen. It is a clear-headed defense of Islam, yes. More importantly, Safi provides a very coherent rebuttal of racial, ethnic, or religious profiling.
The Onion, ever brilliant, published an item last week titled: “Study: Majority Of Americans Not Informed Enough To Stereotype Chechens“. Sadly, this is probably true. But while it points to a specific weakness (our “exceptionalism” tends to lead to an exceptionally weak understanding of geography) it also highlights rather clearly the problems with trying to profile people and make assumptions about behaviors based on stereotypes and only the weakest understanding of world geography and other cultures.
Between Safi and The Onion, we can learn a lot. And that’s no joke.