Early Saturday morning cowards debased our community. Under the cover of darkness they draped butchered pig parts on a crude, Christian cross and desecrated our Islamic Center by placing this testament to their fear and ignorance in the mosque’s parking lot.
Note that I say cowards, plural, and I am insisting that this is a crime against a specific and vital part of our community. As news reports indicate, incidents like this have been on the rise since 2015.
No more. It is time our community drew together and said enough. We can no longer afford to distance ourselves from these vile actions by insisting that “they are the work of a small number of extremists,” or that “most of Twin’s population tolerates diversity.”
Those who commit crimes against people whose ethnicity or religious affiliations bring diversity to the Magic Valley may indeed represent a minority of the population, but they do not exist in a vacuum, and self-congratulatory tolerance is no more than half-a-bubble out from condescending dismissiveness. Mere tolerance has created a civic landscape where we turn a blind eye to demeaning jokes and stereotypes instead of speaking out in support of multi-cultural practices and beliefs. Mere tolerance has engendered a climate of opinion where willful ignorance goes unaddressed and opportunities to learn from those whose cultural practices differ from the mainstream fall by the wayside.
Enough. We are all in this together. It is high time we commit publicly and privately to embracing diversity.
My family homesteaded on a north Idaho ranch and I’ve spent enough time in bars, sales yards, cafés and churches to know that the cowards who insulted our Islamic brothers and sisters talked about it. Bragged about it most likely. That means other people heard them. Perhaps these folks felt they had to keep silent, but now is the time to stand up and be counted. Maybe we can’t conquer the fears that divide us from each other overnight, but it’s high time we knocked a few holes in the walls we have erected. After all, we can see the world more clearly through windows than from behind walls.